How Three PayPal Engineers Developed a Hospital Bed Tracker to Support COVID Relief Efforts in India
Aug 17, 2021

PayPalSocial Innovation

Editor's Note: During this year's dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases in India, people from different backgrounds stepped up to help relief efforts any way they could. This story, originally published in the PayPal India Newsroom, details how three "PayPal Superheroes" put their engineering and tech skills to use. Read the rest of the series here.

Amid the second wave of COVID-19, the surge in demand for medical facilities took its toll on many in India. The people of India and their safety were a priority for all of us at PayPal. And so, we got into 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 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.

The intersection of technology and purpose

To help facilitate 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 track the changes in bed occupancy from intensive care units to other facilities.

The government sought help from technologists in Bengaluru to get a centralized 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 employees-- Aishwarya Sankaravadivel, along with Ganeson Ravichandran and Praveen Yelchuri--stepped forward to offer their skills, time and resources.

 

In collaboration with BBMP, they collated information from public and governmental sources to set up a dashboard that mapped 26 hospitals across all zones, which is accessible to the general population in Bangalore on a real-time basis.

With a digitized 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 center or "war rooms."

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