Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-10

Transforming trauma healthcare delivery in rural areas by use of an integrated call center

Department of Neurosurgery and Information Technology, JPN Apex Trauma Centre, AIIMS, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Deepak Agrawal
Department of Neurosurgery and Information Technology, JPN Apex Trauma Centre, AIIMS, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-2700.93099

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Introduction: There is poor penetration of trauma healthcare delivery in rural areas. On the other hand, mobile penetration in India is now averaging 80% with most families having access to mobile phone. Aims and Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the implementation and socioeconomic impact of a call center in providing healthcare delivery for patients with head and spinal injuries. Materials and Methods: This was a prospective observational study carried out over a 6-month period at a level I trauma Center in New Delhi, India. A nine-seater call center was outsourced to a private company and the hospital's electronic medical records were integrated with the call-center operations. The call center was given responsibility of maintaining appointments and scheduling clinics for the whole hospital as well as ensuring follow-up visits. Trained call-center staff handled simple patient queries and referred the rest via email to concerned doctors. A telephonic survey was done prior to the start of call-center operations and after 3 months to assess for user satisfaction. Results: The initial cost of outsourcing the call center was Rs 1.6 lakhs (US$ 4000), with a recurring cost of Rs 80,000 (US$ 2000) per month. A total of 484 patients were admitted in the department of Neurosurgery during the study period. Of these, 63% (n=305) were from rural areas. Patients' overall experience for clinic visits improved markedly following implementation of call center. Patient satisfaction for follow-up visits increased from a mean of 32-96%. Ninety-five percent patients reported a significant decrease in waiting time in clinics 80.4% reporting improved doctor-patient interaction. A total of 52 visits could be postponed/cancelled for patients living in far flung areas resulting in major socioeconomic benefits to these families. Conclusions: As shown by our case study, call centers have the potential to revolutionize delivery of trauma healthcare to rural areas in an extremely cost-effective manner.

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