SMS for the nearest healthcare facility in India

If you happen to be anywhere in Kerala’s Kozhikode district, emergency relief is just an SMS away. A government project named ‘Dr SMS’ has implemented a system allowing citizens to obtain information on the nearest healthcare facility anytime of the day by sending an SMS. Here’s how it works: Anyone seeking medical attention anywhere in the district has to SMS a prescribed format including his pin code to 9446460600, the same number which returns information on government files in the district collectorate. The system extracts information from a database prepared by the government machinery under the district medical centre. Within seconds, a message containing the nearest hospital’s whereabouts will be sent back to the user. “Mobile penetration is very high in the state. People are very tech-savvy. Even those who are not proficient in English can send SMS in English. Since reality shows are able to exploit SMS in a big way, we decided to explore it for life-saving purposes,” said Kozhikode district collector A Jayathilak. The project was inaugurated in Kozhikode by chief minister VS Achuthanandan and will be extended to the entire state. “Pin code is the most effective method of geographic location. It can be easily communicated through SMS and related software. It becomes easy for the system to locate suitable healthcare facilities near the requirement,” said Jayathilak. The system is supported by the National Informatics Centre and the state information technology department. Also, the system gives pointers to blood banks, diagnostic centres, private hospitals, specialty centres, facilities for surgery and ventilators and the list of specialist doctors in the district.

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