On hi-tech drive, state health dept plans to roll out M-Health service

The two proposals will help in reaching out to remote pockets of the state.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai | Updated: August 7, 2014 1:25 am

The state health department is set to make full use of technology to improve health care in the state by initiating a first-of-its kind service in the country called M-Health.

The health department is soon going to approach the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to bag approvals for two proposals — first to pre-load three toll-free medical emergency numbers in SIM cards and second to make it mandatory for new SIM card purchasers to enter their blood group while filling up the telecom operators’ form.

The two proposals will help in reaching out to remote pockets of the state that are still unaware of the toll-free service numbers.

“Almost the entire population has access to personal mobile phones. We are looking forward to improving governance through cell phones. In case of an emergency, a patient can get medical help by dialing the numbers from their contact list,” said public health secretary Sujata Saunik.

The three numbers that will be pre-loaded on all new sim cards – if TRAI gives a go ahead – are 108 (emergency ambulance service), 104 (blood-on-call service) and 102 (ambulance service for maternal care and delivery).

Additionally, all telecom operators will be asked to create another section to enter blood groups on the subscription form for new customers purchasing SIM card. “A centralised database will be maintained of all customers with their blood group. This can be helpful specially during times when a patient requires urgent blood donation,” Saunik added.

Recently, an increasing number of health-care services are making use of technology and telecom facility to disseminate information. Use of ‘tele-medicine’, a service through which rural doctors can take advice on critical surgeries from specialised urban doctors through telecom services, is also becoming increasingly common in the state.

The health department also communicates dates of next consultation with diabetic and maternal patients through text messages. The messages specify upcoming appointment dates for medication.

tabassum.barnagarwala@expressindia.com

Two-pronged plan

* Pre-load three toll-free medical emergency numbers in SIM cards
* Make it mandatory for new SIM card purchasers to enter their blood group while filling up the telecom operators’ form

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