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With tech intervention, loopholes plugged in BBMP's hospital bed booking system: Tejasvi Surya

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on May 10, 2021

Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya   -  The Hindu

He added more reforms like a digital queuing system for allocation of beds, shortening of reservation time and an Aadhar-enabled biometric or OTP verification during admission are in the pipeline.

The BBMP's (Bengaluru's civic body) hospital bed booking system with major tech interventions has been revamped and set right, according to Tejasvi Surya, Member of Parliament representing Bengaluru South.

“The tech team, with several discussions with the officers in charge of Covid-19 and with a target of 100 hours, fixed the loopholes in the bed allocation system,” he claimed.

Surya said, following marathon meetings, four changes - instant SMS alert to a patient after a bed booking, disabling of ‘manual unblock’ option, reducing reservation time of a hospital bed from 10 hours to 4 hours and two-factor authenticated person-specific logins - were introduced into the system.

More reforms

Several more reforms like a digital queuing system for allocation of beds, shortening of a bed’s reservation time, and an Aadhar-enabled biometric or OTP verification during admission are in the pipeline, he claimed.

“I thank Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa for his swift instructions to the authorities concerned to take immediate steps to rectify the issues in the software,” Surya said.

Fixing BBMP software

He further said, “I had approached Nandan Nilekani for his assistance in fixing the BBMP software, and he immediately set up a team of tech developers to look into the tech platform. Along with think-tank iSpirt, the team understood the issues in several marathon meetings, and we set the developers a target of 100 hours to bring in major changes in the existing system.”

Manual unblocking of beds, which was the biggest loophole used by miscreants to make proxy bookings, now has been disabled. If a patient needs to be shifted to a different hospital, then a rebooking can be done.

“Major reform is the instant SMS alerts to patients with the details of the beds booked in their name. This will henceforth prevent beds being booked in patients' names without their knowledge. We also felt that the auto-unblock time of a bed, where a bed will be automatically unbooked if a patient does not report for hospital admission for 10 hours, is too long. This is now reduced from 10 hours to 4 hours, meaning a hospital bed booking under your name is valid only for 4 hours with an option to re-block in exceptional circumstances,” he said.

“Another important change is in the war rooms booking beds. We have also activated two-factor authenticated person-specific logins for more accountability. Earlier, war rooms had generic logins with common usernames used by multiple people. Bookings will now be tagged to individuals and this will help in bringing transparency as every booking is tagged to one specific person.”

Several irregularities

The reforms have been put in place just days after MP highlighted several irregularities in the BBMP bed allocation system. Surya also stated that a few more changes would be made functional in the coming days, including a digital queuing system for allocation of beds.

“In the existing system, the details of the callers on the BBMP helplines, as well as the zonal helplines, are entered manually in different modes, including on ledgers in some places. This system is not transparent and prone to human error. We have suggested that a queuing system be put in place in the CHBMS (Centralized Hospital Bed Management System) to enable the allocation of beds for patients according to the position in the queue. The queuing system will also help prioritize patients as per their criticality. The position of a person in the queue will also be communicated to the patient directly in the form of an SMS alert and will also be made visible on a public dashboard."

He said “We also have proposed an Aadhar-enabled biometric or OTP-based admission and discharge system for patients to avoid fake admissions in hospitals. There are currently three softwares (INDEX, CHBMS and SAST) for managing the operations of the Covid-19 pandemic in the city. Any issue with one of the softwares leads to several complications on bed allocation and hospitalization. We have also suggested to the government to develop a single integrated software for handling all the Covid-19 operations. The work on this has started and will be completed soon.”

Published on May 10, 2021

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