In India, 72 percent of the population lives in rural areas but how do we serve those people for their heart health problems?
In an interview with ETHealthworld, Ashim Roy, CEO, Cardiotrack, Bangalore, talks about the journey and vision of making healthcare assessable even in the rural areas through their cardiovascular health tracker. Edited excerpts:
What triggered you to create Cardiotrack?
When I came to Bangalore I realised that healthcare is well served here. There are really good set of hospitals available in different parts of the urban centres however, going to the rural areas there are a lot of challenges. There is lack of equipments at the primary level and issues related to non availability of specialists in the rural areas. This made me think on what are the things that could be done and based on my telecommunication background I realised that we have to merge healthcare with IT.
Healthcare IT solution is what India requires and that led me to think in terms of how to develop solution such as Cardiotrack.
We launched the product in September 2015 however the activities got started in late 2012 when I started working with my co-founder Avin Agarwal. It was that time we realised that there is a lot of work to be done not only in terms of development of the product but also free trials and clinical testing.
Tell us about your journey so far.
Our journey has been very interesting. Avin and I started this activity and the initial R&D was done using our own funds. We were fortunate that we were working with a team of researchers at St. John’s Research Institute, where we interacted with them almost on a daily basis in terms of ideas to solve problems in the healthcare system in India which led to some of the initial ideas.
As we moved forward, we really required larger amount of funds to do the clinical studies and trials. We were able to raise some equity investment in the company to take the product forward. During this time we also came in touch with various people who have been very helpful to us.
In terms of our reach to various regions, we participated in various conferences and trade shows through which we came in connect with lots of people not only in terms of product distributors but also people who were providing services in various countries. In Mexico, we came across people who are providing services in the small clinics in the area of cardiology. They were very impressed with our product and they adopted it for deployment in Mexico.
What makes Cardiotrack unique from other health trackers?
In terms of competition there are several companies as cardiology has been a well known area of healthcare for a long period of time. First ECG’s were developed and since then large companies like GE, Philips and Siemens have provided high end equipments mostly focussed towards hospitals. Our focus on the other hand is preventive care, we have found out that if we can identify and diagnose the problems early through early intervention then a lot of it can be solved with the help of medication without having to go through invasive procedures.
Our approach is to provide a connected solution which is lightweight and portable and the information itself is portable because typically the cardiologists are also available in the urban centres. In India, 72 percent of the population lives in rural areas but how do we serve those people for their heart health problems?
Our solution is a connected solution so that information is captured closer to patient’s home at the primary care clinic and can be sent immediately at real time to a cardiologist sitting in a urban centre such as Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore.
Your future plans?
In terms of future plans we have now developed a platform based on global healthcare standards. We have tested the product extensively and our deployment so far is 200 units across the globe. We feel that there is a lot more that can be done using this platform.
We strongly believe in AI being able to help the primary care physicians to perform faster diagnosis leading to faster intervention which can save lives.
We also believe that healthcare planners can benefit a lot from our digital platform because we are constantly capturing data from various patients across the globe though our deployment and when all of this information is put together we will be able to detect the onset of cardiovascular problems at a certain age, group etc.
If we can provide that level of information to healthcare planners, then they are empowered to solve the problem in a bigger way and that is the approach that we would like to see going forward.