KUALA LUMPUR: Having a heart attack or a stroke? Just push a button and your GPS coordinates will be sent to the nearest Red Cross emergency centre, which will immediately dispatch an ambulance to your location.
That is the idea behind the Rural Emergency Medical System (REMS) launched yesterday by Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah at the National Planetarium.
The first of its kind in Malaysia, the REMS is the product of a joint collaboration between the National Space Agency (Angkasa) and the Malaysian Red Cross, utilising funds from the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry’s 2013 Inclusive Innovation Programme.
Said Angkasa director-general Dr Noordin Ahmad: “This is version 1.0. At this stage, we have successfully launched and run our prototype.”
He explained that the system is aimed at lower-income patients with critical illnesses, like heart disease and epilepsy, and pregnant women.
The idea, he said, is that these patients would be given a device in the shape of a watch for men or an iPod for women, to press in case of a medical emergency.
Registration for the device would include their medical history, so that emergency medical personnel responding to their distress call would have an idea of their condition.
The agency will soon be embarking on a pilot project to test the system under real-life conditions with a further grant of RM1.7mil from the ministry’s Techno Fund.
“We have already received inquiries from four (private) hospital consortiums and insurance companies,” said Dr Noordin, adding that they hope to eventually expand the system to cover the entire country.
“This is another transformation in the medical system of Malaysia,” commented Dr Abu Bakar, suggesting that senior ministry officials should take up the system first as an example to the public.