The smart way to heal
Pune resident Pankaj Deshkar, 35, was expecting a tough time when he visited a Mumbai hospital in February to admit his wife Trupti for a kidney transplant.mumbai Updated: May 05, 2011 01:01 IST
Need patient data? Just swipe card
Pune resident Pankaj Deshkar, 35, was expecting a tough time when he visited a Mumbai hospital in February to admit his wife Trupti for a kidney transplant. "Apart from the operation, I was worried about arranging things, getting the papers, carrying cash…," said Deshkar, who got Trupti admitted to Jaslok Hospital.
However, Deshkar was pleasantly surprised when he was introduced to the Smart Card service at the hospital. The card can be used to make payments and stores patient details.
"We have been using the Smart Card as a debit card for a week now. I no longer need to carry cash everywhere. It also has some basic information about my wife's treatment," said the IT professional.
Jaslok Hospital introduced the facility for its outpatient department in March. "When a patient visits the hospital, we can retrieve his or her details with just a swipe of the card. It has a 4 kb memory chip and stores demographic details, services availed of and can also be used to make payments," said PR Narayanan, Jaslok's chief information officer. This card is handy especially for dialysis and chemotherapy patients who visit the hospital regularly, he added.
Tata Memorial Hospital offers the smart card facility, too, though only for pre-paid cash transactions.
Find a blood donor via SMS
A week ago, when Satishkumar Verma, 30, was frantically seeking a blood donor for his cancer stricken father-in-law, he wouldn't have imagined that a single SMS would solve his problem.
"Doctors told me that my father-in-law would require blood before any additional treatment. I donated my blood, but we required more. I was clueless and confused as I am new to the city," said Verma, who came to Mumbai a month ago from Bihar to get his father-in-law admitted to Tata Memorial Hospital.
However, he found a donor within a day with the help of an SMS sent to www.indianblooddonors.com, a web-based helpline that is using the power of mobile phones and SMS technology to help people in need connect with blood donors across India. "I got to know of this facility through a social worker. I was so impressed I decided to become a member of this initiative and help others by donating blood," said Verma.
If you need blood, just send an SMS in the format: DONOR (STD code) (blood group) to 9665500000 and you will be connected to a donor in your city. Once the SMS is sent, the patient gets the donor's name and telephone number and the donor gets an SMS with the patient's number. They can then connect for the donation.
"We have started using social networking sites such as Facebook to broadcast information about blood donation camps. Also, when a patient requires a lot of blood, we post a message on our Facebook page and request users to ‘tweet' it," said Khushroo Poacha, founder of Indian Blood Donors.
'Mobile' care for diabetics
Arvindaksh Tewari's day starts with an SMS that reminds him to record his pre- and post-lunch blood sugar readings. During the day, Tewari, 26, gets health tips on his mobile phone, which help him keep his blood sugar levels under control.
His health is tracked by a ‘personal case manager' employed by Cheeny Kum (www.cheenykum.com), a diabetes and lifestyle management web portal launched last year. Alongside, a team of physicians, nutritionists and diabetologists reviews the data and tweaks his diet or adjusts his insulin dosage.
Tewari is a member of Cheeny Kum, which aims to help diabetes patients manage the disease. "I send an SMS back with my blood sugar reading. The SMS is a good motivator as it reminds me that my sugar levels should be kept in check," said the Mira Road resident, who signed up with the service last July. "My blood sugar levels were very high then. Thanks to this programme, they are well managed now and my dependency on oral medicine has ended," said Tewari.
Each Cheeny Kum member is sent personalised text messages. They also get reminder messages to take their medication, diet tips and how to manage the disease well. "You also get reminders to check blood sugar levels and share the data with the case manager," said Dr Ankit Khambhati, co-founder and chief architect, Cheeny Kum.
You can become a member by registering online. The initiative has 12 centres in Mumbai, where you can register.
Next month, Cheeny Kum plans to launch a mobile site. Members would be able to upload their blood sugar readings and even pictures of their meals through their phones. "As soon as the patient sends the picture, he or she will get an SMS about its calorie count," said Khambhati. The ‘Recipe Master' application will inform patients about healthy recipes. When the patient sends the name of the dish through the phone, he or she will be mailed a healthy recipe for that dish.
"Advancements in telecom don't just apply to fun and games. We want to make it easier for mobile-savvy people to access lifestyle-improvement services, which are the key to managing diabetes and its life-threatening complications," said Khambhati.
Test reports via email
Keeping track of her health has become less strenuous for Bhawana Sahu, 25, a marketing consultant, since she has been able to access her sonography reports online.
Sahu has been utilising the online reports facility provided by NM Medical, a chain of diagnostic and health check-up centres, since last year.
"I have ovarian cysts, for which I was asked to do tests every few months," said the Kandivli resident, who shifted to the city from Delhi. "The online service is convenient — I can download my reports and mail them to my doctors in Delhi. I don't need to go to the centre to collect them," said Sahu.
Many leading pathology laboratories and diagnostic centres are now providing test reports online and sharing them through emails or SMS. "We provide online reports. A patient can access them from anywhere. The reports can be downloaded in PDF format or emailed to anyone," said Rahil Shah, CEO, NM Medical. "At least 30% of those coming to our centres use this facility. This access is given to patients as well as to doctors," said Shah.
According to Ameera Shah, executive director and CEO of Metropolis Health Care, the smart use of all methods of communication is crucial for health care delivery, especially in metros. "Every year, we introduce new applications. Patients appreciate it when some urgent and sensitive tests reach them quickly," said Shah.