Maharashtra deploys tech to fight Covid-19

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Published: June 3, 2020 1:30 AM

Once a Covid-19 patient/suspect requiring dialysis is registered in the system, the administration can use the dashboard to direct the person to a facility that has a unit free for use in Covid -19 cases.

Within hospitals, there is a subset of those that can provide dialysis care along with beds for Covid patients. Within hospitals, there is a subset of those that can provide dialysis care along with beds for Covid patients.

While the Maharashtra government is struggling with getting enough hospital beds ready for Covid-19 patients in Mumbai, it seems to have turned a corner on dialysis facility management. The state government, partnering the Mumbai Nephrology Group, an association of kidney specialists, and IIT Bombay, has come up with a live dashboard for linking Covid-19 positive/suspect patients needing dialysis with available dialysis units at facilities serving such patients.

Once a Covid-19 patient/suspect requiring dialysis is registered in the system, the administration can use the dashboard to direct the person to a facility that has a unit free for use in Covid -19 cases. Mumbai, at present, has registered 373 such patients, of which 332 have been assigned slots as available on the dashboard.

“We have reduced the time consumed for a Covid-19 patient requiring dialysis finding a facility. Patients and their families no longer are left to fend for themselves,” says a faculty member of the IIT Bombay team that helped set up the dashboard, who wishes to remain unnamed.

“We are adding more functionalities. Within hospitals, there is a subset of those that can provide dialysis care along with beds for Covid patients. So, the database will help dialysis patients find beds. We will also integrate the system for ICU bed availability for dialysis patient at some point in time,” he further added.

They are also looking to add ambulances that cater to dialysis patients so that transportation does not become a challenge.

On May 5, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai had issued a directive to all dialysis centres not to refuse services to dialysis patients, and not to insist for Covid testing for patients requiring dialysis. On May 13, 33 dialysis machines were made functional in 3 hospitals. This count increased to 92 on May 26. Mumbai, according to the May 31 bulletin, has 168 registered dialysis facilities, of which 17 are handling Covid-19 patients and two are handling suspect cases– these facilities have 105 machines serving this patient subset.

At present, 1.8% of active Covid-19 cases in Mumbai require dialysis.

Sources say that Mumbai has engaged services of an IT firm to create a facility management system for all its Covid hospitals. Last month, ICMR had announced a partnership with IBM for their artificial intelligence platform Watson to aid laboratories in filing and cataloguing of data.

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