John Punnoose was found “dead” at his table. And if it hadn’t been for the staff who entered his room for a meeting, Punnoose wouldn’t be alive today. Trained in life-support techniques, the staff revived Punnoose (then heading a hospital in Kuwait) from “sudden death” just in the nick of time.
Right intervention at the right time makes the difference between death and life, says Shaffi Mather introducing Punnoose sitting across the table and MUrgency — a “one global emergency response network” slated for launch next month. A mobile app strengthened with a ground response network, MUrgency works like the “Uber of healthcare” and directs the closest doctor or para-medical person to an emergency in the vicinity.
This response is within the critical golden hour of an emergency, where an effort is made to stabilise the person and get them to a hospital, if needed. Test run in Israel, the app has reduced response time to medical emergencies from about 12 to three minutes, says social entrepreneur Mather, who founded MUrgency. Punnoose is a director with this company. San-Francisco-based MUrgency is slated to launch in Punjab next month, followed by Dubai, Israel, England, Denmark and California.
And towards this, it has alliances with emergency care and ambulance services across the world. MUrgency is also supported by the United Nation Development Programme’s Business Call to Action initiative, where private enterprises address developmental issues.
The app also bundles other features like “shout out”, a safety and tracking feature for women that connects with five trusted people. Mather explains the biggest reason why emergency response apps fail is because they are used infrequently. So people are not familiar with it when an emergency strikes. MUrgency has other built in features that keeps people engaged, he adds.
MUrgency’s other differentiating feature is its link with response networks on the ground. So an individual’s trusted network and the nearest medical professional are both alerted in an emergency. The two can also connect to discuss the emergency, Mather says.
In Punjab, MUrgency has enrolled 800 first responders that include doctors, nurses, paramedics etc. The plan is to cover India with this community-based emergency response system by 2018.
A director with MUrgency, Sweta Mangal explains that responders get about ₹300 for a call, paid by the person taking the service. This would be different in different countries. Despite being involved with emergency services and having run a successful ambulance service in different parts of the country, Mangal narrates how emergencies have a way of happening when you are not prepared.
And it did with Mangal on Holi, earlier this year. Mangal and husband tried to contact every doctor they knew, when her mother-in-law fell ill, but none were available. “My husband drove around asking random people if they knew a doctor,” she says. But by the time a doctor arrived, her mother-in-law had passed away.
MUrgency’s aim is to provide a global one-touch emergency response so that people are not denied timely medical intervention. And their ambitious goal is to have a global emergency response with just a tap of your phone by January 2020.