Medical science and technology have always affected human lives closely. Whether it was the discovery of penicillin or the first robotic surgery, developments in health-tech have made our lives longer, easier and overall better to live by making health care more effective and accessible. And right now, quite a few startups in India are continuing that goal with their innovative devices and services. In some cases, these startups are bringing world class technological innovations to the masses. In others, they are coming up with the technology that is being spread out to the world. From 3D printing to data analytics, here are some of the most interesting technological applications in Indian healthcare startups right now.
3D printing is neither a new technology nor are its applications in medical science. But in India, 3D printing hasn’t yet reached popular healthcare the way it should. Two large factors contributing to that are the costs involved(mainly because high-quality 3D printing is not readily available in our country) and the lack of information available regarding the possibilities of the technology. Osteo3d is a startup that wants to change this entire situation.
The Bengaluru-based startup provides healthcare focused 3D printing services in a B2B model to doctors across the country. Among other things, it helps doctors plan surgeries and treatment better by making 3D printed guides and models. But that’s not all they offer. For instance, in mid-2015, Osteo3d manufactured a helmet for post surgical care in India’s first endoscopic ‘skull expansion’ surgery. Normally, such a helmet would cost around 1.5 lakh and take 2-3 weeks to be made when manufactured abroad. With Osteo3d it was made for Rs. 20,000 in 3-4 days. More than 400 such cases are live in India right now.
Another strong aspect of their offering is the ease of use. Registered doctors can upload MRI and CT scans of their patients on the cloud based platform. Within minutes a 3D image of that part of the patient’s anatomy is available to them, along with the cost that would be incurred in getting a 3D printed model made. For instance, a jaw area print typically costs around Rs. 2000-3000.
The demise of Rupam Das’ father due to a heart attack despite repeated assurances from doctors regarding his survival prompted him to look deeper into ECG based diagnosis and other heart studies. Based on his learnings from this, he formulated a number of computer based ECG diagnosis algorithms, which he later combined into an analysis platform and subsequently, used it in his ECG acquisition device Lyfas.
Lyfas is an affordable and portable single-lead ECG device. It has features like biosignal processing, analysis, and streaming. Lyfas is capable of extracting multiple parameters, streaming the data live to doctors, and also performs a real-time and cloud-based analysis.
Along with that, it can also get pulse readings from a patient. Combining this data with other information, it can effectively read blood pressure and blood sugar. Another avenue where its multiple readings and results are being put to use is medical underwriting. They are already working with HDFC Life and ICICI Prudential in this area.
Using platforms like Firmware, Edge, the cloud and Watson AI, Acculi Labs, the firm behind Lyfas, is able to offer customizable input abilities for specialized cases – like those of diabetics, pregnant women, and sportspersons. The final prototype of Lyfas is currently selling for Rs. 4,999, although prices are expected to come down as adoption increases and the product is improved before it launches for the mass market in a year.
|Unitus Seed Fund organized StartHealth is a competition for healthcare startups with innovative solutions to existing problems in the areas of AI /Analytics, Devices/IoT, and home health. The winner gets a prize money of `6lakhs along with access to non-dilutive funding from Unitus Seed Fund of about Rs. 4crore. This also gives them exposure to established global companies in healthcare and an opportunity to be entirely seed funded by Unitus. The fourth edition of StartHealth witnessed 186 startups applying. The winner of this edition was Bioscan Research, closely followed by Nanosniff Technologies.
When was the last time you went for medical tests and actually understood the reports yourself? Medical reports aren’t the most easily comprehensible documents in the world. In fact, even before that juncture, how do you even take the call on which reports to go for without going to a doctor? Healthi wants to provide the solution to all these problems using their cloud based platform.
To start off, you go and sign up on their website and answer a brief questionnaire about your health. This questionnaire includes basic stuff like your height and weight, along with slightly advanced stuff like your blood pressure, cholesterol levels etc. So if you want to increase the accuracy of the initial suggestions, it would be good to have your basic medical data handy. After the questionnaire, you’re provided with a basic report on your health along with location-specific recommendations regarding the tests that you should go for.
Healthi has tie-ups with many major diagnostic service providers in the country like Apollo Clinic, SRL Labs, Medall Healthcare and more. The recommendations they offer are based on packages they have created with these providers. You can avail a package on the platform directly.
Once the tests are done, the information from the reports is directly updated on the Healthi dashboard and presented to you in an easily comprehensible manner. At this point, you can take your data and go to an offline physician, or you could stick with Healthi and consult one on their platform.
This article was first published in the August 2017 issue of Digit magazine. To read Digit’s articles first, subscribe here or download the Digit app for Android and iOS. You could also buy Digit’s previous issues here.