Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft are one of those innovations that makes our modern lives more convenient. But what if that app-based, on-demand concept was taken and turned into something that could truly have a positive impact on the world. In 2014 Jennifer Farrell did just that. She was in Bangladesh working for a program that conducted trauma medicine training sessions as part of a Fulbright scholarship. While there she saw firsthand the need for medical assistance and training in that country.
Bangladesh has extremely dangerous roads, for every two road fatalities in the United States, there are 160 in Bangladesh. Part of this is because of traffic, infrastructure, and vehicular issues. Making this even worse is the fact that an emergency dispatching service such as 911 does not exist, meaning that it can be very difficult to get emergency medical assistance at the scene. Ambulances do not really exist either, and the few that do exist do not have trained medical professionals to treat you while on your way. Even if you are lucky enough to make it to the hospital, the doctors might not have very much training, and you might be turned away.
CriticaLink tackles this in a unique way. They train local volunteers to act as first responders. This allows them to do basic triage medical actions such as CPR, burn care, protecting the head and spine, splinting, and bleeding control. Once they have the volunteers trained, the technology comes in. They have a smartphone app that instead of allowing someone to hail an Uber, they can report an accident, and hail a volunteer. This is then sent to a dispatch center, which can send a push notification to nearby volunteers. The notification contains a map of the area, along with other important information. The volunteers then check in when they arrive at the scene, and they can provide care.
One of the best parts about this system is that it can be implemented almost anywhere. Many parts of the world do not have functioning EMS systems, and there is a real need for this. It is incredible to see what technology can do, not just to make lives easier, but to save them.