The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in every country have their unique features and nuances. While in some parts of the world, there are air ambulances making their debut, we in India are still at a stage where the road infrastructure is not developed enough for ambulances to reach patients on time. However, India is also taking steady steps to improve its ambulance services with the aim of saving more lives. The Government is partnering with private companies like Ziqitza Health Care Ltd for smooth functioning of the industry.
We all know the importance of the ‘The Golden Hour’ and it is a fact that a patient who receives basic care from trained professionals and is transported to the nearest healthcare facility within 15-20 minutes of an emergency has the greatest chance of survival. Mr. Manish Sacheti, CFO, Ziqitza Health Care Ltd goes on to explain, “EMS is an essential element of the overall healthcare system as absence of the service can decrease the chances of survival of patient by a huge percentage. The state of EMS varies drastically from developed to developing countries like India. While India has developed considerably in the healthcare sector over the past decade, it is yet to create a single, comprehensive EMS that can be accessed throughout the country by dealing one single number. In this country, every state has their own numbers where they can call for an ambulance. Some parts of India can dial 102 while some other parts can dial 108 for availing emergency services. Besides this, private and public hospitals in the country provide different telephone numbers for ambulance services.”
As a leading player in the EMS industry in Asia, we think the industry is on its way to bridge the gaps and move towards a more integrated system. Shaped by technology, the industry is accelerating towards a better future. Below are a few changes that we look forward to in the coming years.
Better Road Infrastructure: While the government is paying close attention to the improvement of highways, it is also important to focus on roads in urban as well as rural India. The traffic in cities and the bad road conditions in rural India is one of the major causes for delay in an ambulance reaching the patient. It is the government’s impetus to help ambulance operators to save more lives by providing required infrastructure.
Technology in ambulance services: While technology has started making inroads in the development of the EMS industry, there is still a long way to go. We have adopted GPS tracking systems which help us track vehicles real time which is also accurate. Now we do not have to rely on data based on memory and can assign vehicles systematically. We believe that technology will soon make pre-hospital care more advanced. Very soon paramedics will be able to help patients with the doctor’s aid which will come in live over a video call. With the upgradation to 4G networks we expect that this to be reality where ambulances are equipped with AV systems so that people start receiving expert assistance as soon as they are transferred to an ambulance,
Training and hiring the right talent: The volunteer shortage continues to be an issue in the industry. Individual providers and agencies continue to demonstrate a lack of professional commitment to excellence. EMS is an industry where employees need to share the passion of the organisation in saving lives.The employees work in a sensitive business, dealing with lives of people. In line with this, the company should focus on thorough interviews and training only to select the best in class candidates for the job. We also believe that employees have to continually learn and grow in a fast paced environment as this.
Vocational courses can be introduced in colleges for training paramedics through industry experts and doctors. These courses will create a pool of talent who can offer professional services to the sector.
Awareness Programs: While the government is taking steps to improve the industry, private players operating in this space should take steps to raise awareness among general public. One of the effective ways to do this is by conducting first responder programs among target groups. Through this program one can spread awareness on the first steps which should be taken in case of emergencies.
Private Public Partnerships: The government alone cannot run ambulance services efficiently and the service works best in partnership with private players who are experts in the field. However, there should be transparency in policies and acts which will attract more private players to get into a partnership with the government.
While India has a long way to go to achieve minimum deaths caused due to lack of emergency services, we are surely moving towards a positive future. With the aid of government and the willingness of private organisations to service the sector, we will soon be able to reduce the number of deaths and increase the reach of our services.