Amid the second wave of COVID-19, the surge in demand for medical facilities took its toll on many in India.
As cases spiralled, India was at the centre of the pandemic. The people of India and their safety were priority for all of us at PayPal. And so, we got in to action to mobilize resources and help the community.
Coping with a shortage of hospital beds
At the peak, we had an overwhelmed healthcare system that was met with a dire need of providing hospital beds for critical patients.
According to an annual report (2020-21) by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India had just a little over 1.5 million beds, serving a population of 1.38 billion. This is only slightly more than 1 bed for every 1,000 people.
Understandably, finding beds for loved ones was an extremely stressful task at the peak of the wave.
Intersection of technology and purpose
In order to enable access to beds, the government body in the city of Bengaluru, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) envisioned a bed allocation system and digital dashboard that could track and display real-time data of bed availability, outstanding queues, admissions and discharge of patients, and tracking the changes in bed occupancy from intensive care units to other facilities.
The government sought help from technologists in Bengaluru to get a centralised dashboard up and running. Responding to the government’s call for help from India’s tech ecosystem Guru Bhat, VP, Customer Success Platform at PayPal encouraged his team to volunteer. Three PayPal Super Heroes* selflessly stepped forward to offer their skills, time and resources and help the community cope with the challenge around.
Aishwarya Sankaravadivel, a core member in designing and building ‘Search as a Service’ application at PayPal; along with Ganeson Ravichandran who works on compliance, and Praveen Yelchuri, went the extra mile to use their skills for the greater good of the community.
In collaboration with BBMP, they collated information from public and governmental sources to set up a dashboard that maps 26 hospitals across all zones which is accessible to the general population in Bangalore on a real-time basis.
With a digitised system, the identification of hospitals with available beds became an easier task.
A three-step process and the impact
The BBMP Bed Allocation Software is live and has been used by thousands of people, receiving an overwhelmingly positive response.
Through a simple, three-step process, citizens can easily find available beds in their locality.
As next steps, the three PayPal software engineers will work with the government to set up an automated queuing system based on patient calls made to the hospital call centre or war rooms.
*We saw heroism and ingenuity from many members of the PayPal family. As a tribute to them, the PayPal Super Heroes series acknowledges and features those who selflessly stepped forward to offer their time and skills during COVID-19 to help the local community.