As a part of its larger public awareness work stream, the InOrder Institute is set to launch a health helpline which people can call to access the right healthcare information and to seek guidance on navigating the complex Indian health system.  The 24X7 helpline will be made operational on a pilot basis from August 1 for callers in the Telangana state and will be expanded to the rest of the country in a phased manner.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for the availability of easily accessible information at one place to guide and help citizens coordinate for their healthcare requirements, especially during emergencies. Information asymmetry between people and healthcare providers puts people at a great disadvantage. People lose precious time and resources while navigating the complex, mixed healthcare system that is made up of both private and public providers. Moreover, people also need constant assistance towards their acute and chronic health needs. They need guidance in financing their healthcare needs and in availing their health insurance benefits, be it government financed, employer financed, or self-funded. They need guidance in accessing and processing the right information about diseases, drugs, and procedures to help them make informed decisions. They need to be aware of their rights as a citizen, as a patient, and as a health insurance beneficiary.

Even as several health helplines are currently operational across the country, there are few that cover the entire gamut of healthcare provision and handhold patients in navigating the disconnected healthcare systems. In addition to including all healthcare service and product providers under its network, theInOrder helpline will also connect with volunteer groups and technology platforms to widen the reach of this initiative.

Citizens can call for information on medical and non-medical healthcare services, emergency and transportation, reaching the appropriate doctor and hospital, understanding their financial coverage (through insurance and non-insurance mechanisms), pharmacies, laboratories and diagnostics, availability of hospital beds and medical equipment, and access to donors – blood banks, plasma and organ transplantation among other. For crisis management, the helpline will connect with volunteers network and other similar platforms to help patients access food, medical oxygen, financial aid etc. Through its ‘Public Awareness’ work stream, it is InOrder’smission to help people access the right information needed to navigate complex health systems. Informed and empowered people can demand better response from health systems that are meant to meet their health needs in a responsible and equitable way. This effort is a part of its larger purpose to strengthen health systems to secure people’s health.