india

COVID-19: Portal for private hospitals shows most beds occupied

Information is not always uploaded in real time, say civic officials

The recently launched centralised database spearheaded by the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes’ Association (PHANA) to track real-time status of beds in private hospitals appears to have done little to ease anxiety and panic among COVID-19 patients and their families. Most of the hospitals on the portal, searchmybed.com, list their beds as occupied without updating the data in real time, said senior Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials.

As a result, family members and friends of COVID-19 patients are still in the dark over how many beds are actually available. Many people said they have no choice but to call multiple hospitals or hire an ambulance and knock on the doors of individual hospitals, defeating the purpose of the database.

“My father-in-law needed a bed as his oxygen saturation levels had dropped. When a BBMP bed did not come through, I checked the private hospital portal. It showed zero beds available in the city. Then a friend said the data was not reliable. We started calling hospitals listed on the portal. We found a bed in one of the hospitals even though it had reported no beds available on the portal,” said Chandrashekhar, a resident of Banaswadi.

A senior official overseeing bed allocation in the city acknowledged the problem and the frustration with the opacity of the system. “It has been a Herculean task to tame private hospitals. We need their cooperation and hence cannot even take stringent action against them during this health crisis, which is being misused. While PHANA has started this initiative, it can be only as good as the participation of individual hospitals, which doesn’t seem to be the case,” said the BBMP official.

Of the total 2,876 beds on the portal, only 24 were ‘available’ on, and the status did not change all through the day. These 24 beds were in four of the 116 hospitals on the portal. While 3,241 general beds were available in government hospitals and under government quota on Monday evening, 112 hospitals showed all their general beds as occupied.

On Wednesday, the number of beds on the portal had risen to 2,927, with 119 shown as vacant.

Several key hospitals are yet to post information on the portal despite an order from Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta mandating all private hospitals to update bed availability data.

Dr. H.M. Prasanna, president, PHANA, said most hospitals have started cooperating by uploading bed availability data. “We are striving to improve the portal,” he said. “The problem with HDU, ICU and ventilator beds is that in most hospitals, in-patients are occupying these beds and critical cases treated in emergencies are given preference, leading to beds not being shown vacant,” he added.

Source: Read Full Article