India is facing a mounting problem, one of increasing coronary heart disease and diabetes. It is estimated that by 2020, heart diseases will be the cause of over 40% deaths in the country.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than $1 Tn in health care costs and lost wages can be directly attributed to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD). In context of India, for over 60 Mn CVD patients, there are only 8,000 cardiologists plus the diagnostic equipment cost lies heavy on the doctor’s pocket. Additionally, ECG machines cost somewhere between $619-$2322 (INR 40K-INR 1.5 Lakhs) in India, thereby reaching only the fortunate few in the metros and bigger hospitals.
The duo conducted their research along with St. John’s Research Institute in Bengaluru. At that time, Ashim and Avin were working with a group of NGOs. A chance meeting led the two to discuss the existing problems and gaps in the Indian CVD scene and the two wanted to do something about it. Together.
Begins Ashim, “If a critical patient makes it to the hospital, the process of intervention at that point in time is most likely an invasive procedure – like bypass surgery. These things cost upwards of INR 1.9 Lakhs-INR 3.2 Lakhs ($3,000 to $5,000) in India, which is quite expensive, and insurance doesn’t really help lower the cost. When it comes to financial problems like these, the cure is not to make the invasive procedure cheaper – it’s to try to diagnose the problem earlier.”
Separately, Ashim and Avin were trying to address the lack of diagnostics capabilities at primary healthcare centers (PHC). Together, they wanted to develop a robust and clinical grade diagnostics equipment that is easily portable and affordable.
In 2015, their research and hard work led them to creating their first product, Cardiotrack – a B2B solution aimed to improve primary healthcare in emerging economies. Basically, it is a handheld electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor that is easy to use, provides clinical grade output and performs predictive diagnosis to start intervention immediately, thus reducing the need for invasive intervention. It is a network-connected device; wherein a patient’s ECG scan can be instantaneously transmitted to a cardiologist anywhere in the world.