How to save 3M lives per year?

savingDr Charit is a curious cardiologist. While most others would be happy with the fact that there are too few hours in the day to see patients, he wasn’t content with just making money. He noticed that far too few people are coming to the hospitals and when they come it usually gets quite late for them. That too in a metropolis like Bangalore. The situation in hinterland is obviously far worse.

The reason? Analyzing an ECG – which is the only way to determine if that pain in your chest is a heart attack or just acidity – is a complex thing. Even though the ECG machines are relatively cheap (starting $750 and above) and well penetrated, it is not uncommon to hear that a person was being treated for severe acidity for 48 hours till she was finally diagnosed with an artery blockage.

Myocardial Infarction (as Heart Attack is called in medicine jargon) is start of an irreparable damage to a person’s heart. Every minute after an attack matters. It is a pity that average time for emergency cardiac care in India is between 5-6 hours, as compared to about 45 min in US. This is the problem Dr Charit decided to solve.

His meeting with Zainul through a common friend was a turning point. Zainul, a PhD in signal processing, knows a thing or two about cloud. He volunteered to make the first Tricog Communicator device early last year. Then they got on Udayan, another PhD, to work on machine learning and Abhinav to put these together in a software workflow.

They have put together a command center with doctors on duty 24×7 looking at incoming data from far and wide. Using Udayan’s algorithm that improves their workflow, the doctors are able to send a response within 45 seconds to the clinic. They also follow up on the care in case a critical case is identified.

Dr Charit’s charm and the team’s product capability ensured it didn’t take much effort to sell it to clinics and hospitals. Today they have over 250 devices on their network, all around Bangalore and some in north Karnataka, each effectively saving 2-3 lives a month.

That it is possible to save 500+ lives a month (just in Bangalore) and a business built by a team so capable, it was a no-brainer for us to invest. We are glad to have found a partner in Inventus to be a part of this company!

Going ahead, the company is looking to deepen its partnership with GE Healthcare and go to South East Asian countries. It is also furiously working on the algorithm that can detect critical cases automatically. This will become truly transformative as soon as the personal/wearable technology becomes capable of capturing heart signals reliably.

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