The ‘StepOne’ approach to fighting the coronavirus in India

Pneumonia coronavirus

The modern world perhaps has never seen a disruption of its paced life in as alarming a manner than what the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has brought it to. More than a couple of months into the health emergency and we still cannot safely claim that we have seen the worst. As the world continues to grapple with new COVID 19 cases everyday, even as vaccine development or at least claims of it is nowhere near being the reality, what we are staring at is a bleak future- one devoid of means and money and more frighteningly, entirely devoid of perhaps a cure even.

But this is no time to sit and rue. Now is the time to act, and for all the reasons we cannot afford to brush aside just like that. Even without a remedy, we are only vulnerable and thankfully not entirely defeated. The key is to concentrate in areas that can bail us out of this emergency with consolidated efforts. Because social distancing or more appropriately the contactless approach is the way to go, it’s inevitable that this time it can be technology as the saviour. The need of the hour therefore dwells on not just medicine but also an efficient utilisation of tech marvels by people adept at it so that we can continue to persist till the time we discover ways and means to win this battle over.

It is exactly the presence of people who possess farsightedness into important matters like these that big businesses and emergent start ups are ensuring that the world does not run out of steam altogether. Call it Corporate Social Responsibility or basic human instinct, but entrepreneurs all across the country are teaming up to take the COVID 19 emergency hands on. Called the Startups Vs COVID-19, this collective of startup founders, investors and tech professionals together have charted out innovative means and ways to aid the government and the society at large in emerging victorious out of this crisis. What have thereby ensued is a collective fight against the virus that threatens existence at a scale unimaginably unsettling.

In fighting the coronavirus battle on such key areas like telemedicine, no touch health monitoring, mapping, etc, the Startups vs COVID-19 initiative has been working on such initiatives and projects that can be beneficial in mapping the coronavirus cases in India and help the government efficiently deal with this health menace. One such project that has been initiated under the Startups Vs COVID-19 agenda is called StepOne.

What StepOne aims to do is one of the prerequisites that will ensure an effective fight against the coronavirus calamity. By setting up a COVID Telemedicine Helpline, StepOne helps to provide various state government helplines with a scalable telephony system to handle incoming calls as COVID cases spike. The working principle here is simple, yet given the vastness of our country and its humongous population, the operation is in fact quite complicated an endeavour. StepOne however chose to start at the ground level with this telephonic helpline facility as a simple yet effective method to prevent over burdening of our healthcare infrastructure. This, it aims to do by providing concerned citizens an easy to use recourse for finding out if they have Covid-19 or not. 

Because the system employed by StepOne is one dependent on technology, cloud telephony to be precise, the calls are segregated as COVID and non COVID calls thereby providing relatively easy routing of concerned cases to healthcare experts. With a network of more than 2800 volunteer doctors available to screen patients via phone for COVID symptoms, the system takes a lot of pressure off the state public health centers as far as monitoring is concerned.

The automated IVR call flow help callers to identify if they symptoms pertaining to the COVID- 19 illness and the further route of action they need to go about in fighting it off. From making expert recommendations to the individual and directing such probable cases to the appropriate government facility, StepOne, through its in place telephonic mechanism, aims to achieve favourable public health outcomes that can be instrumental in the raging war against the coronavirus.