Nobody expects a health emergency. A heart attack, an accident, an infection that turns deadly.

During medical emergencies, patients are often shunted from hospital to hospital due to lack of ICU beds leading to loss of many lives. Also crucial time is lost calling up every individual blood bank trying to find blood of the required group in an emergency. In a crisis, as those precious seconds slip away, knowing where the nearest vacant ICU bed is or how many blood bottles of the required type the nearest blood banks have, can mean the difference between life and death.

However no service that provides such crucial real time information exists in India – information that would be invaluable during personal medical emergencies as well as natural disasters, terrorist attacks and public health epidemics.

HERO (Helpline for Emergency Response Operations) will provide real time information about the availability of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds at all hospitals and blood units of the specific group at all blood banks of the city 24 x7.

Users can access real time information 24X7 in four ways:

  1. Website (beta version:
  2. Dedicated phone number (i.e. a “911” for finding medical emergency services)
  3. SMS-based auto-reply system
  4. Mobile app

If there is a change in status in the availability of ICU beds and blood in the first hour after a query, an instantaneous SMS and/or call will be sent updating the user about the new status.

There will thus be one emergency number to call or SMS and a single website for patients to get information about the nearest hospital with a vacant Intensive Care Unit bed with the required specialty care. You can also locate the closest blood bank with the right amount and type of blood or blood products. By coordinating this information, we envision that HERO will form a critical component of the disaster management system of the city, providing a crucial service during mass emergencies like the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, or during natural disasters like floods or earthquakes.

HOW IT WORKS: The real-time updating of information from the ICUs and blood banks will be automated.

Providing ICU bed availability data:

  • In all government hospitals where there is no computerization in place, a computerized admission counter developed by our IT partner, 91 Plus Technologies will be installed. All the details regarding admission/ transfer/ discharge/ death of patients will be computerized and automated.
  • In private hospitals with computerization, we will either integrate our HERO central database with their MIS to automatically update our database in real time or install the HERO web app. The HERO web-app is an easy-to-use system that involves navigation of a simple (+) or (-) pre-formatted system for updating the status of private ICU beds and blood. It can be installed on the admission counter PC, on a tablet or a mobile phone and can be used by even semi-literate staff. 

Providing blood availability data:

  • In all non-computerized government blood banks, the HERO bar-coded blood bank inventory system, developed by our IT partner Inscripts (I) Pvt. Ltd., will be installed. The bar coding will also have the FIFO (First In First Out) system that will ensure that blood is not wasted due to passage of the expiry date as is often the case now. The bar coded system is a very innovative system based on colour coded preformed labels for different blood groups and components that can be easily used by even semi-literate staff.
  • In private blood banks with computerization, we will either integrate our HERO central database with their MIS to automatically update our database in real time or install the HERO web app for blood banks.

HERO Central database stores all information:

The HERO Central database has been developed and is being hosted on a cloud based server. It will store information about every hospital as a combination of dynamic vectors (ICU beds and blood data) and static variables (name, address, contact details and a detailed description of the facilities and staff.

Fig. 1: Flow of Information in HERO System

The real-time updated information will be disseminated through a helpline number, sms-based autoreply system, website and mobile app.


Government hospitals and blood banks:

  • HERO has received approval from the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai and the Director of Major Municipal Hospitals in Mumbai to conduct a pilot project in Sion Hospital, one of the largest tertiary hospital in Mumbai.
  • The admission counter of Sion hospital has been computerized and the hospital personnel have been trained.
  • Bar coded inventory system for the blood bank has been created and will be installed in Sion hospital by November 2013.
  • We have received permission from the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, ShriJayantBanthia to extend to Thane Civil Hospital as a pilot for level II hospitals. We have received the necessary permissions and the implementation will begin by November 2013.

Private hospitals and blood banks:

  • Indian Medical Association (IMA) has officially come on board as partner of HERO.
  • Hospitals that have agreed to join HERO: Kokilaben Hospital, Seven Hills Hospital, Somaiya Hospital, Shushrusha Hospital, Life Care Hospital, Metro Hospital, Hira-MongiNavneet Hospital, Nefron Hospital, ParelSuperspecialty Hospital and Dhanvantri Hospital.
  • Blood Banks that have agreed to join HERO: Kokilaben Hospital, Seven Hills Hospital, Jupiter Hospital, Shushrusha Hospital, Pooja Blood Bank, Samarpan Blood Bank and Anviksha Pathological Blood Bank.

The HERO website with real time data from 10 hospitals and blood banks will go live soon.