New collaboration could help rethink trauma care in India


A new partnership between the University of Michigan and GVK EMRI, the largest ambulance services provider in India, may help shape response to trauma after an accident on India’s streets.

The partnership will provide opportunities for education, training and collaborative research to study and improve emergency medical operations in India.

U-M will work with GVK EMRI to improve bystander training, develop specific protocols for trauma resuscitation, train educators and perform research pertaining to emergency trauma stabilization centers.

“Identifying specific ways to reduce traumatic injuries in India is critical,” said Krishnan Raghavendran, professor of surgery at the Medical School. “A partnership with the largest ambulance provider in the world is an essential step in that direction.”

Krishnan Raghvendran, U-M professor of surgery, demonstrates a procedure to advanced emergency medical technicians in India.
Krishnan Raghvendran, U-M professor of surgery, demonstrates a procedure to advanced emergency medical technicians in India. (Photo courtesy of Krishnan Raghvendran)

The global burden of trauma is hard to measure. Reports estimate that about 16,000 people die from injuries every day and 85 percent of all traumatic injuries occur in developing countries. Improving trauma care is a serious challenge in India, where traffic accidents kill more than 150,000 people each year on increasingly congested highways and byways.

GVK EMRI’s 108 centers around the country handle nearly 200,000 calls and more than 3,000 traffic accidents, and assist in more than 22,000 emergencies and about 100 child births every day.

“We believe that one of the contributing factors for providing efficient life-saving services is the wealth of knowledge shared by partner institutions,” said Subodh Satyawadi, president of GVK EMRI. “We have worked with the University of Michigan in various areas in the last decade and this (agreement) will provide a clear road map for our long-term congruent goals.”

As part of the collaboration, the Medical School and GVK EMRI will develop a trauma training program for doctors, nurses and paramedics. Another program will provide bystander training, with a focus on auto-rickshaw drivers and other public transport drivers in India.

The collaboration also will help them conduct a performance measurement and assessment with help from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Together, they will develop the assessment and satisfaction surveys to be delivered in different states in India where the GVK runs the EMRI services.

“U-M and GVK EMRI have jointly identified needs for training, education and research in clinical and operational aspects of emergency response,” said Ravi Anupindi, professor of operations research and management at Ross. Things learned from the collaboration “will also inform design, planning and implementation of similar systems in the rest of the developing world.”

“Given the work GVK EMRI has done in India, there is a lot of interest from developing countries like Ghana, Uganda, Cambodia, Maldives, El Salvador and Uzbekistan to learn from this model and also implement it in their countries,” said K. Krishnam Raju, director of GVK EMRI.

With assistance from U-M’s William Davidson Institute, the organization wants to provide global scaling of the GVK EMRI model and document lessons as it is done.

“We are excited that we will work with U-M expert faculty to design interventions to solve our problem areas and take our operations to a higher level of efficiencies and have access to global best practices,” Satyawadi said.


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