Mapping Kolkata’s Hospitals with Google Maps: Crowdsourced GeoHealth

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I received an email update from Google Maps about a brilliant initiative that is going to be of special importance in this season of “unknown” acute febrile illness affecting a large cross-section of the society. I am reproducing the full text of the linked post from the Google Maps Local Guides Connect web page. Do let me know if this is breaching copyright issues and I shall initiate the appropriate corrective measures. I can be reached via email at pranab.chatterjee AT outlook.com.

India has more than 35,000 hospitals spread across the country, and even more clinics and pharmacies. That’s a lot of places to sift through when you’re trying to figure out where to go for the right kind of care or medications. And when it’s about health, getting the most accurate information quickly is important.

Shaunak Das (a.k.a. @DrShaunak) is a doctor and a native of Calcutta. A few months after becoming a Local Guide in 2015, Das began to notice that many of the hospitals and clinics he visited for were not listed on Google Maps, or that their listings contained the wrong contact information. “In Calcutta, the phone number is more important than a website address. People look for a phone number,” says Das.

This worried Das, who knew that people might look to Google to quickly find urgent medical care. So Das began adding to and correcting the information on Google Maps using a directory of hospitals and clinics he had at home. His efforts have made it easier for people all over Calcutta to find nearby clinics and hospitals.

You can help your neighbors and visitors find the best, most convenient healthcare in your community by adding your local pharmacy or your preferred hospital to Google Maps. By including extra details, like the type of payments a hospital accepts or the hours of operation, make it easier for other people to decide where to go. Got a favorite medical shop or a great dentist? Help other people find their business by adding them on Google Maps!

You can easily add a hospital, clinic, or pharmacy by:

  1. Open Google Maps on your phone
  2. Touch the location on the map
  3. Tap the address at the bottom, or the dropped pin
  4. Tap Add Missing Place
  5. Enter the details about the location, like the name, the hours of operation, and the kinds of payments the place accepts

If your family doctor, local pharmacy, or preferred hospital has already been added but you notice there are details you would like to include, you can quickly add any missing information by:

  1. Open Google Maps on your phone
  2. Search for the place in Google Maps and tap the name to open it
  3. Above the address, select Know what features this places has?
  4. Tap the info you’d like to add (think about the things you’d find most useful to know)
  5. When you’ve finished, tap the arrow to the right. Your updates have been saved!

As a Local Guide you can help make your community more accessible to everyone by sharing your most trusted places.

Skeptic Oslerphile, Scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases. Interests include: Emerging Infections, Public Health, Antimicrobial Resistance, One Health and Zoonoses, Diarrheal Diseases, Medical Education, Medical History, Open Access, Healthcare Social Media and Health2.0. Opinions are my own!

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