In need of medical information or nearest ambulance? Check out this app

The Android app, lists searchable information on medicines and is great in emergencies
In need of medical information or nearest ambulance? Check out this app
In need of medical information or nearest ambulance? Check out this app
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By Sahana Maddali

In an age when distrust of the private medical industry is high and governments have failed to provide universal health care, an app developed by a Bengaluru-based may help address a small sliver of people’s health concerns.

Ausodhyatmika, an Android app, lists searchable information on medicines: their generic variations, cost, manufacturer, warnings and side-effects; and details of nearby hospitals and blood banks based on your location.

It was a news report that prompted Bengaluru-based engineer Krishnakant Tiwari to develop the app. In 2014, a television news channel had telecast a sting showing pharmaceutical companies allegedly bribing doctors to prescribe costlier medicines to unsuspecting patients.

This got him thinking about why patients get fooled. Following this line of thought, he realized that people were poorly informed of the drugs they took, and pharmaceutical companies took advantage of this situation.

“I talked to my friend and mentor one evening about the idea. He told me to go ahead with it, and not think about anything else,” says Tiwari.

When he first released the app into the public domain in June 2014, around 16,000 people used it. Then, only listed information about medicines.

“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,” he says.

However, he soon realized that not everyone needs medicines every day, and so, he added helpline numbers and map-based information on ambulance and blood bank services.

Tiwari claims that information of medicines is from government portals and all the hospitals and blood banks that show up are registered with the government. “Information from these sources, which are from government census, are not structured, they are just dumps. I had to format and structure it to make it comprehensive.”

Tiwari says details of more than one lakh medicines are updated by an algorithm as when there are new arrivals. On the authenticity of information and reliability of the updates, he said, “The sources are authentic government sources. I cannot disclose the names of the websites and portals because then anyone can develop the app and I will have competitors.”

Claiming that medical portals had also reviewed his information, Tiwari said he took legal opinion very seriously. “I've always done one thing after another with this app. I don't launch new features until the app is stable. I run everything by my lawyers, and take legal opinion very seriously. For example, they said the blood bank feature was useful, but the organ donation feature was a complete no.”

Consolidating the medical information for the app was far more difficult than developing the app itseslf, Tiwari said. “The real back-breaking work was getting authentic information, which took five months. This is why the app is reliable. App development itself only took 1 and a half months, during which time I had to write complex queries and difficult codes.”

Tiwari plans to include information about Ayurvedic hospitals too in the app. Apple and Windows version are also in the offing but require different structural setup. “I would probably make a social NGO, or start an entrepreneurship to bring it all under one umbrella,” he said.  

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