Every Second Counts: New Book Explores the Birth and Growth of the Largest Emergency Service Provider in the World
Dr. William Haseltine tells the story of the groundbreaking emergency response system that every country should be emulating.
Minutes and seconds can mean the difference between life or death. In his new book, Every Second Counts: Saving Lives with India’s Emergency Response System (Brookings Institute), Dr. William Haseltine, former Professor at Harvard’s Medical School and School of Public Health and pioneer in cancer, HIV/AIDS, and genomics research, explains the profound impact that a quality, affordable, and accessible emergency system can have on the general population.
“What the government of India has achieved in partnership with EMRI is groundbreaking,” Dr. Haseltine states, “and offers a model of efficiency and quality that all countries should emulate.”
Serving more than 700 million people across seventeen Indian states and territories, the Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) receives 150,000 calls and responds to nearly 25,000 emergencies each day. Users can call into a free, emergency 108 telephone number, which provides integrated medical, police, and fire emergency services.
A single call center can provide service for up to fifty million people at a cost of $0.25 USD per person per year. The service is free to the user and costs the provider less than $15 USD per emergency, which is less than one percent of what an emergency call costs in the United States.
“The secret,” Dr. Haseltine says, “Is the IT technology (provided by Infosys in India) and outstanding corporate management. It is a lesson in how technology is flattening the pyramid and how health care does not have to cost a fortune.” Every Second Counts details how by structuring EMRI as a pubic private-partnership between government and a not-for-profit institute, and by utilizing cutting-edge technology, they have been able to provide a manual for policymakers and providers across the globe on how to achieve universal access to affordable, high quality care.
As of August 31, 2017, EMRI has responded to 56.1 million emergencies, saved 2.3 million lives, served 18.9 million pregnant women, and assisted in 480 thousand births. EMRI accomplished this through deploying more than 10,000 ambulances and employing more than 45,000 skilled personnel, who respond in urban, rural, and tribal areas. The institute has trained half a million emergency responders within these communities.