The Telegraph
Thursday , February 27 , 2014
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Portal for medical emergency care

Log on to in a medical emergency.

Calcutta at last has a real-time medical emergency portal that provides critical-care bed availability information at the click of a mouse or touch of a smartphone screen.

Metro had reported on August 28, 2012, how three Calcutta-born social entrepreneurs — Rita Bhattacharjee, Rajib Sengupta and Tanmay Mahapatra — formed Mission Arogya and beat 2,000 proposals to a $100,000 grant at the Rockefeller Foundation 2012 Innovation Challenges.

The competition was part of the centennial programme of the foundation.

With the grant for the implementation of Kolkata Medical Emergency System (KMES), Rita and Rajib, a US-based couple, relocated to the city and with Tanmay, a doctor and epidemologist from the School of Public Health, University of California, set about to create a data centre, design a software and approach hospitals in the city with the concept.

On Wednesday noon, the KMES website went live with 15 hospitals on board.

“Our aim is to integrate and strengthen the existing emergency services in the city on a common platform. In the first stage, we would focus on making available emergency or critical care facilities. The second would be the emergency retrieval stage in which we would start an ambulance service with paramedics to ferry patients to the nearest hospital capable of handling the particular kind of emergency,” said Rajib, the director of technology, Mission Arogya.

The website specifies the number of beds available in each specialised intensive care unit. It also gives directions to the hospital on Google Maps and the time when the last update was done for each hospital.

“We want to have the right patient at the right unit at the right time,” said Tanmay. “A critical baby, aged less than 28 days, might not get the right treatment unless it reaches a neonatal intensive care unit.”

The website was inaugurated by US consul-general Helen LaFave. “When I heard that no such facility exists in Calcutta I felt very concerned. What do you do when you have a heart attack and every minute counts? The answer to such a situation can be a system like KMES. I am proud that Rockefeller Foundation that does wonderful work around the world has come forward to partner such global innovations in healthcare. I know there are great medical facilities in Calcutta. All we need is a system to connect with the people so that lives can be saved.”

“Both software are running on the same computer at our admission desk. We are updating the status every two hours. I have instructed our IT department to link it to our system eventually so the updating is automatic,” Pradip Tondon, chief executive officer of Belle Vue Clinic, told Metro.

Kerry Bruce, a consultant of Rockefeller Foundation, is in Calcutta interviewing hospital authorities and checking how the system works. “Now that the grant period is ending, we are here to learn what it takes to make a success of a grant and to see whether the project can carry on.”

The team hopes to sustain the service by offering value-added services like training of emergency medical technicians, warranted emergency retrieval and home-based care for geriatric patients. “We will also approach corporate firms for aid and train some of their staff in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in exchange,” Rajib said.