When it comes to accessing medical help, most patients and their families seem to prefer online portals to mobile applications as different apps launched by the State health department, including Avasaram, Iyyamthavir and CMCHISTN, have only few takers.
For example, the 108 Avasaram mobile application was launched in November 2017 to provide ambulance services at accident spots and to cut down the ambulance response time in emergency cases. The app uses GPS-based tracking system to track the exact location of the accident spot after the user taps on the call button in the app. Avasaram received a good response with around 10,000 installations within three months. But, according to Google Play Store, the number of users did not increase thereafter.
“We do not receive emergency care requests through mobile application as most of the users prefer calling 108. As the app is designed to provide emergency-based services, there is no daily engagement with the user and so, the number of users have reduced,” said a senior official from the operations services of 108 GVK EMRI.
The Iyyam Thavir mobile application launched by Tamil Nadu State Aids Control Society was created to spread awareness among youngsters through social media. The application, however, has a little over only 1,000 installs on Google Play Store.
The Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu launched ‘Donate Organs TN’ to enable people register as organ donors. But, only about 500 installs have been registered on Google Play Store and not many of those who downloaded the app use it. TRANSTAN officials say that as people find the website a better alternative to register, mobile application is just an option available for the public.
Even the CMCHISTN Beneficiary App launched for the beneficiaries of Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme,was installed only 50 times from Google Play Store.
Meanwhile, the officials blame the limited use of the apps to the lack of awareness among people on how to use them. “A majority of the apps are meant for people in rural areas but most of the times, they do not even know how to use the app and directly approach and register with hospitals when they face health problems,” said Dr Selvavinayagam, additional director for CMCHIS.