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Doctor on Call - 'Press 1 for Heart Attack, Press 2 for Broken Leg...'
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Doctor on Call - 'Press 1 for Heart Attack, Press 2 for Broken Leg...'

September 22, 2010

  By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

India’s Tata Teleservices (News - Alert) Limited has announced it has recently partnered with Healthcare Magic to launch a mobile health service which “provides assistance under medical emergency situations and also offers medical consultations.”

According to Tata officials, “to use the interactive voice response-based doctor on call service, Tata Indicom subscribers need to dial 54887. A doctor registers the personal data and medical history of the subscriber. Then an attending doctor diagnoses the case and determines whether a subscriber's case falls under the acute, chronic or emergency heads.”

But what if it’s more of an, ah, acute situation? Those can be tricky. Glad you asked, the system’s built for that too: “In an acute condition, the caller will be given three different diagnoses by the attending doctor who also suggests some home remedy for immediate relief.”

And you chronic sufferers are in luck, too. “In case of a chronic condition, the attending doctor will suggest a future course of action or preventive measures such as change in lifestyle,” Tata officials say. Since of course you’re willing to take lifestyle advice from a doctor you’ve never met except for a two-minute phone call, who’s costing you nine rupees, or about twenty cents a minute.

And for emergencies, the doctor will sensibly suggest that you get thyself to the emergency ward of the nearest hospital.

The service was launched by Loop Mobile in 2008, followed by Aircel and Reliance Communications (News - Alert). Loop started by offering this service at 15 rupees per minute, or a little over thirty cents.

“A similar service called Dr SMS was launched by the Kerala government in 2008,” Tata officials note, adding that this “enabled Kozhikode citizens to send an SMS to a pre-assigned ten digit mobile, and get information on hospitals, medical centers, facilities and doctors in the designated area.”

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Juliana Kenny
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