This man has developed an app to help you find all the medical emergency information you may need, plus information on generic drugs that can save you unnecessary expense.
You’re on a much-awaited road trip with friends when your best friend falls sick. Forced to stop in the middle of nowhere, you are now assigned the daunting task of finding a good doctor in an unfamiliar town.
On your first day in a new city, you come across an accident on a secluded road. The victims need immediate medical attention. You want to help but don’t know how. Instead, you find yourself wasting precious time searching for a valid helpline number.
Your house-help has been undergoing treatment at a nearby clinic for months now. Her savings are depleted but the doctors insist on more tests, more scans and more medicines. You are convinced that she is being swindled but feel powerless to help.
Access to the right information in these scenarios can spell the difference between life and death. It is for this reason that Krishnakant Tiwari developed the Ausodhyamitka app.
Best described as a ‘holistic healthcare hub,’ this app lists blood banks, ambulances and hospitals near the user. Additionally, it also provides comprehensive data on medicines and their generic substitutes.
In 2014, a reputed media house exposed a prescription scam. Doctors, the sting operation found, were often willing to prescribe incorrect and expensive medicines to their patients for the kickbacks they received from pharmaceutical companies.
Watching the news in abject horror, along with the rest of the nation, was software developer Krishnakant Tiwari. The clear exploitation of patients’ trust by doctors unnerved him: “The doctors know that the patients have nowhere else to go, and they are using this to their advantage,” says Tiwari.
“I felt that if information is provided, the right information – it becomes a very powerful weapon to fight against injustice. You cannot fool a person who is knowledgeable,” he says.
In June 2014, driven by the mantra ‘Knowledge is Power,’ Tiwari took on the mammoth project of demystifying medicine for the common man; Ausodhyamitka was born.
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The idea was simple: to create an app that would provide users with information on generic medicines with the same constituents as the medicines prescribed by the doctor.
“All one has to do is enter the name of the medicine in the app. The app will then display all the respective medicines available in the market, carrying the exact same constituents and sorted by price in ascending order,” explains Tiwari. “The app will also display four details associated with the medicine – indication, contra-indication, warnings and side-effects, so everyone can understand what medicines they are taking and why.”
The app also has a ‘reverse search’ function for medical professionals: “Doctors are not taught about medicines by brand, but by constituents. They can use the app to search for medicines with the same constituents they need to treat their patient,” says Tiwari.
After nearly a year of intense research, the app went live in April 2015, and was well-received.
“I also got a lot of feedback from the people about the app,” recalls Tiwari. He realised that people were forced to use different apps for different medical requirements and decided instead to create one app that would address as many issues as possible.
“I decided to start with blood banks since this is what most people tend to panic about,” Tiwari says.
Instead of running from pillar to post in search of relevant blood banks, all one needs to do is log on to the app.
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The app will pick up the user’s location and pinpoint all the blood banks near the user on a map. Additionally, the app also allows users to register as blood donors and recipients.
“I soon realised that information about blood banks is not the only thing one requires in an emergency,” says Tiwari. This prompted him to expand the app to include information about ambulances and hospitals:
“I have included the phone number of ambulances, along with names of hospitals, their numbers and – since each department deals with different emergencies – the numbers of different departments within hospitals.”
Tiwari has also taken note of the fact that at every 100 kilometres in India, the district changes:
“So I have provided an advanced option of searching for blood banks, ambulances and hospitals based on state, city, district, sub-district and village level.”
He has also gone a step further to provide a complete registry of emergency helpline numbers under the ‘In Case of Emergency’ feature: “When someone is in need of help, they normally dial 100. But this helpline is for law and order issues only. There are several helpline numbers for different emergencies and they even differ from state to state,” he says. The feature aims to make finding the relevant helpline number easy and efficient.
The new features were launched in April, 2016. Tiwari did his research well and single-handedly converted a mountain of data into an easy-to-understand format in just six months!
“All the information is readily available on government portals. But yes, it is tough to convert the raw data into a presentable format,” he concedes. “I also wanted to make sure that a person in an emergency is not misguided by wrong information. So I personally verified each and every piece of information I put up.”
Tiwari’s achievement is more noteworthy in light of the fact that he works a five-day week at an MNC as a software developer:
“I could only work on the weekends. This meant a lot of personal sacrifices. I haven’t been to my hometown to visit my mother in more than a year,” he says. “But it has been worth it.”
That is a sentiment bound to be shared by the hundreds who have already downloaded the free app. The app has an impressive 4.2 rating on Google Play Store.
“It is a very useful app,” says user Junaiz C. “A lot of unethical practices are prevalent in the medical field nowadays. This app is very important in the current scenario.”
Another user, Sathiya Narayanan dubs the app a ‘must-have’: “The app helps in identifying low-cost generic medicines and not only creates awareness among people but will also force the pharma industries to reduce prices to compete in the market.”
The feedback from the users proves that Tiwari has clearly achieved what he set out to do: empower consumers with the right information.