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Jyotiraditya Scindia Announces Launch of India's First Helicopter Emergency Medical Service in Uttarakhand

Written by : Aishwarya Sarthe

February 19, 2024

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The service aims to provide swift medical assistance to those in need, particularly in remote areas where access to healthcare facilities is limited.

In a groundbreaking move to enhance emergency healthcare accessibility, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has announced the commencement of India's maiden Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) from Uttarakhand.

The inaugural HEMS will operate from the All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. The service aims to provide swift medical assistance to those in need, particularly in remote areas where access to healthcare facilities is limited.

In a video shared on social media, Minister Scindia, said, "I want to inform the people of Uttarakhand that the country's first HEMS service will be launched from the state." 

He further assured the public that preparations, including the assembly and certification of the designated helicopter, are underway.

Swift Response to Emergencies

The HEMS will be stationed at the AIIMS Rishikesh, strategically positioned to cover a radius of 150 kms. This setup enables rapid airlifting of individuals who have encountered accidents or medical emergencies, ensuring prompt access to critical healthcare facilities.

The initiative also seeks to minimize response times and deliver vital medical care to those residing in remote and mountainous areas, where access to healthcare infrastructure is limited. 

By leveraging helicopters for emergency medical services, the government seeks to bridge the gap between medical facilities and communities in geographically challenging terrains.

This initiative aligns with broader efforts to enhance healthcare accessibility and improve emergency response mechanisms across the country.

Global Trend of Air Ambulance Services 

Globally, the demand for air ambulance services is on the rise, with the market witnessing substantial growth. As reported by Fortune Business Insights, the global air ambulance services market size was valued at $5.84 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from $6.45 billion in 2023 to $ 9.83 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.2% during the forecast period. 

A significant portion of this growth is attributed to the increasing adoption of rotary-wing air ambulance services, particularly for life-threatening emergencies like trauma and pediatric cases. 

Several players in the air ambulance industry are pioneering innovative solutions to enhance emergency medical services. In the USA, companies such as AirMed International, Calstar, and CareFlite are among the trailblazers, offering comprehensive medical care and transportation services. 

These organizations play a crucial role in providing timely assistance to patients in critical conditions, exemplifying the global commitment to improving emergency healthcare delivery.

Integration of Drones in Healthcare Delivery

In parallel with traditional air ambulance services, the integration of drone technology is revolutionizing healthcare delivery, particularly in challenging geographical terrains. 

Recent trials conducted by institutions including the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) in Puducherry showcase the potential of drones in delivering medical services to remote areas with limited accessibility. These trials demonstrate the feasibility of using drones to overcome geographical barriers and provide timely medical assistance to underserved communities.

Collaborative efforts between drone delivery startups and healthcare institutions are driving the adoption of drone technology in emergency healthcare. Initiatives such as TechEagle's collaboration with AIIMS Bilaspur aim to expedite the delivery of critical medical supplies, including blood samples, to remote rural areas. 

Furthermore, previous discussions between logistics giants such as United Parcel Service (UPS) and state governments highlight the growing interest in leveraging drones for emergency medical services, particularly during natural calamities.


About Chime India

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving senior digital health leaders. CHIME includes more than 5,000 members in 56 countries and two US territories and partners with over 150 healthcare IT businesses and professional services firms. CHIME enables its members and business partners to collaborate, exchange ideas, develop professionally and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and care throughout the communities they serve. CHIME's members are chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs), chief innovation officers (CIOs), chief digital officers (CDOs), and other senior healthcare leaders. The CHIME India Chapter became the first international chapter outside North America in 2016 and is now a community of over 70+ members in India. For more information, please visit www.chimecentral.org

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