Ever found yourself sitting in a car, cruising through the jammed traffic, with honking all around when you need to reach to that important meeting on time, and suddenly Anxiety washes over you. You’re cold and hot at the same time. Sweat trickling down the back of your neck and hands shivering with lots of curses coming out of your mind and mouth. This is a Panic Attack!! What if you start wondering if the things happening to you are more than just a panic attack. Perhaps a Heart Attack?
The links between the heart and the mind are harder to measure than those between the heart and the waistline. But a growing body of evidence suggests that psychological factors are — literally — heartfelt, and can contribute to cardiac risk.
Stressors that Harm Heart
Some particular events, like the death of a spouse or getting fired from a job, are extremely stressful. Yet research indicates that less dramatic but more constant types of stress may also harm your heart. Workplace stress, Financial stress, marital or relationship stress and sudden disaster-related stress, all contribute to the slow weakening of the Heart and development of Cardiac problems.
What is a Panic Attack?
It is noteworthy, that severe anxiety- which may manifest as a panic attack — can mimic a heart attack. One analysis of studies involving people admitted to emergency rooms for chest pain found that 22% of those who underwent cardiovascular testing had panic disorder rather than heart disease. Another extremely common symptom related to anxiety, particularly in women, are palpitations — the sensation that your heart is racing or beating too fast. When a panic attack happens you are most likely to have symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, irregular heartbeat, dry mouth, sweating, dizziness etc.
Panic Attack or a Heart Attack?
Both a panic attack and a heart attack can cause shortness of breath, sweating, or dizziness. Below are some of the factors that help to differentiate a panic attack from a heart attack.
In a panic attack one is more likely to feel a sudden onset of fear and terror in conjunction with heart palpitations and chest pain. Pain and discomfort tend to occur in the center of the chest, but the chest pain or any other pain subsides in just a few minutes.
In the case of Heart Attack, there is a gradual onset of pain, pressure or tightness in the upper part of the chest. Pain may also occur in the center of the chest but may radiate in upper parts of the body like jaw, arms, and shoulders. Such symptoms last for more than 15 minutes without subsiding on the intensity and may also continue for hours.
How Can Sanket Help?
Sanket is a breakthrough innovation which helps you keep a tab on your stress levels on a daily basis by measuring your heart rate and heart rate variability. With Sanket device and Sanket App, you can measure your resting heart rate and with that, every change in HR and HRV gives you an indication of possible stress, stress causing situations (Stressors) and possibly severe anxiety or a Panic Attack. Not just this, since Sanket measures your complete ECG, it gives you a clear indication if a Heart attack is happening or is it just a panic attack.
Stress can be easily managed, once you know the stressors and can measure stress. Don’t let stress kill your Heart which is made to love!!
Place both the thumbs on the glass slots and just wait for the readings on the mobile app,” says Rahul Rastogi, demonstrating the credit-card sized device Sanket. In 15 minutes, the phone displays crests and troughs on a red graph — the ECG, thankfully, is normal. “We have been found to be 98% accurate when tested against digital ECG machines,” he says.
Sanket 1.0 as Rastogi calls it doesn’t stop at producing an ECG. It also calculates stress levels. “In the next version, you will be able to send it to our doctor for a quick review. We will also be able to predict diseases by observing user patterns, and caution users about 17 diseases,” says the co-founder of Agatsa Software, which has developed the device.
There is little doubt that heart disease is on the rise in India. But it was his father’s own heart condition that prompted Rastogi to build Sanket. Diagnosed with a heart condition in 2012, he couldn’t be operated on because he was diabetic. “Someone had to be around him all the time,” recalls Rastogi.
Ideally, a patient with a possible heart issue should get an ECG done in an hour. “That’s the golden window but in India it takes 6-8 hours. About 4 crore people die each year because they don’t reach the hospital,” he says. When Rastogi and his wife looked for a solution that could detect heart trouble in time, that’s what they experienced. “We couldn’t find any device that produced ECG in time and conveniently,” says Neha Rastogi, co-founder, Agatsa. Even in hospitals, the process is cumbersome. Moreover, she adds, 70% Indians live in rural areas, away from diagnostic centres or hospitals.
That’s when the couple, both engineers from Aligarh Muslim University, decided to build Sanket by putting their experience across companies such as LG, Samsung, Hewitt and CSC India to use. But the challenge was to bring down the cost. A conventional digital ECG machine costs anywhere between 40,000 and 200,000. Sanket, on the other hand, is priced at 11,999. “Conventional machines are hardware heavy. The innovation on our part was that we were able to transfer the intelligence built in the hardware to the software. For us, the hardware is only required for the voltage flow/regulation,” says Rastogi.
It was, however, difficult to find investors who understood the vision, say the duo. “We thus followed a frugal approach, didn’t spend too much money initially. In fact, for our initial prototypes we used cardboard and even matchboxes to give the doctors an idea of the product,” recalls Rastogi.
The bootstrapped start-up though assimilated a lot of what the doctors had to say. What they wanted was a device based on the conventional 12-lead ECG. At that point, some Chinese devices were available that worked on single lead, which were expensive. In the conventional 12-lead ECG, ten electrodes are attached to obtain results from 12 different angles. So that’s what Sanket did. Besides the thumb slots, users have to place the device at conventional ECG points to get accurate results.
The more Sanket got this part right, the more recognition came its way. Its office has poster size cheques won from start-up contests, including the Anjani Mashelkar award in 2015. The recognition, in turn, brought investors like Tata Trusts and the Biotech Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC). “We work closely with Tata Trusts and Sanket has been utilised in their projects,” shares Rastogi. The company has also been working with Reliance Venture Hub and is exploring how Sanket can be integrated with Reliance Jio.
Gradually, Agatsa has changed its frugal approach. “We bootstrapped initially but now we raise funds a year in advance,” says Rastogi. The team has also grown from four members to 15 now. Neha adds, “We could have hired a doctor if we had raised money initially. But it was good that we didn’t because that meant talking to hundreds of doctors on the ground. That helped make the product better.” Dr Kamal Ahmad, MD, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in Delhi was one of the doctors that helped them. Ahmad was treating one of Rastogi’s family members for cardiac ailment. “Even then Rahul was curious about the possibilities of manufacturing an ECG device. I would brief them on its applications, how it helps detect heart problems and the technicalities that go into reading an ECG.”
Doctor at hand
While Sanket was commercially launched in March 2016 on Amazon, Agatsa has already sold 250 devices. “A product like this is the need of the hour given that India is the capital of heart disease. There is nothing like Sanket in the market today,” says Jitender Singh Minhas, CEO, STEP business incubator, who is an investor.
Ahmad adds, “The best thing about Sanket is that it is user-friendly and can be used in distant towns where you don’t have a cardiologist. Where long-term monitoring is required, it can be done by patients themselves and post-surgery follow-ups can be done by sharing the report on the mobile — there is no need for patients to travel long distances to see the doctor.”
A for-profit company, Rastogi says he wants to be like Apple and not Samsung. “We don’t want to be only a product company, we want to be a data company,” he says. While he doesn’t reveal the start-up’s revenue, Rastogi says Agatsa might turn profitable by end-2017. “We are for profit, but we are not guided by that,” says the co-founder. He, however, counts Anil Gupta, vice chairman, National Innovation Foundation and Dr Raghunath Mashelkar as mentors. “We got inputs on market connect, product focus and business modeling, which are crucial. Earlier, we had plans to add more sensors such as the one for measuring blood pressure. But our mentors asked us to focus only on one niche, the cardiac space,” says Rastogi.
While, as of now, the revenue comes by selling devices, the long-term plan is to tap the vast amount of data collected. Rastogi says the company can suggest lifestyle changes by analysing the data. Minhas, however, has a different point to make. “You can do a lot with that data. Probably, a stage can come when you can give the device for free and data from their ECGs can be utilised by life, health insurance companies and companies in preventive healthcare,” he says.
For its next version, Rastogi is targeting a wearable with the capability of detecting 17 diseases such as diabetes, epilepsy, obesity, anxiety, neuropathy etc. “For example, for a person regularly using the wearable, we will be able to caution him/her about the likelihood of a disease months in advance,” claims Rastogi.
But isn’t there a direct challenge from wearable giants like Fitbit and others? Rastogi doesn’t feel so. “Fitbit is only based on the heartbeat and is single-lead based. That doesn’t tell the entire story of your heart. You can’t foresee any heart disease with that data. Fitbit gives you details about heartbeat, steps, calories burnt and sleep duration etc, but Sanket is a more diagnostic and cardiac care device.”
Nevertheless, Agatsa will have to win over doctors. Rastogi understands that. “Making a product is only 10% of the job. One has to find a market for it,” he says. The start-up has thus already tied up with distributors. It is also working on getting approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which works closely with doctors from AIIMS, a process that is underway. The medical body is likely to test the product on a large sample size over the next few months to check Sanket’s accuracy. But Rastogi is ready to wait. “We have also applied to the FDA in the US. An approval by ICMR will help us there,” he adds.
While it doesn’t need these approvals, the company believes it is a way to fast track its progress and add credibility. “There are only seven devices, all to be placed inside body, whose sale requires government approval. Sanket can be sold like a thermometer,” says the co-founder.
Already, Sanket is being sold in countries like Singapore, South Africa and Australia as and when the orders come. The long-term plan for Agatsa though is to operate through licensees in foreign countries. The company is also shifting its manufacturing base from China to India next month. It hopes to get at least 50 million people to use the product in the next couple of years. If it does, it might just become a leading player in cardiac care.
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What is the vision guiding Agatsa? Please share with us how the company came into existence?
Agatsa is focused on becoming a pioneer in cardiac care wherein we promise easiest and quickest method to detect, diagnose and manage cardiac problems. Unlike other health problems, time is of great importance when it comes to cardiac issues. A small delay can lead to surgery or even death.
The idea to start Agatsa was conceived when we saw members of our family and dear ones being detected with heart diseases. There was no mechanism to detect a problem like a heart attack in a timely manner, except to go to a diagnostic centre for an ECG.
ECG is the first test being done to detect a possible heart problem. But conventional methods of ECG are costly, time consuming and tedious.
We thought of the idea of having a portable and easy to use ECG monitor which can be connected to a smartphone, quickly take ECG, share report to a doctor and get a quick diagnosis, and hence save crucial time. We started working on developing a prototype of such device and named it SANKET which means signal in Hindi.
How important is cardiac care in Indian context?
In a developing country like India, high economic growth and urbanisation have caused a large section of population to move towards unhealthy lifestyles with decreased physical activity, increased stress levels coupled with high intake of saturated fats and tobacco. Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) are the largest cause of mortality, resulting in almost half of all deaths caused by Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs). CVDs are expected to be the fastest growing chronic illnesses, growing at about 9.2 per cent annually. The rate of CVDs among Indians, particularly young men, is almost twice as high as their Western counterparts. Young population is increasingly falling prey to these deadly diseases.
What is Sanket and how does it measure stress?
Sanket is a credit card sized ECG monitoring device which measures 12-lead ECGs without any leads or wires or electrodes. You just have to place your thumb on sensors or place the device with sensor touching at different positions of chest leads to measure accurate ECG in just 15 seconds on a smartphone. The report is generated and shared via mobile with a doctor for quick review.
The report contains not just the ECG graph but also various heart parameters like heart rate, QTc in tervals, R-R intervals, etc. With the heart rate and R-R intervals, we have developed our algorithms to calculate heart rate variability, which predicts up to 17 diseases and also the clinical stress levels of an individual when compared to his resting R-R interval. This is being used now in various researches to develop a correlation between mental stress and cardiac problems.
Any person can purchase and use this device easily at home, record his ECG and share the report to doctor or family. Plus, we have also rolled our unique ECG interpretation services where any ECG report can be uploaded on our platform and shared and can be interpreted by our panel of experienced cardiac medical practitioners. Hence, now only in five seconds any ECG lead position can be traced out and analysed for diseases like MI, AF. This gives a tremendous advantage to general practitioners, who can take a data driven conclusive call on patient management.
General practitioners are the first point of contact in most cardiac cases, but at present they either don’t have ECG machines, or they cannot interpret complex conditions using ECG. Our platform provides them both in a very cost effective manner.
Using heart rate variability, we can even predict the vulnerability of an individual for 17 possible diseases. We call this Stress Analysis and this has been used very effectively in various NGOs. Several IITs are using our platform to further enhance their research work on relating mental and cardiac problems through relevant data.
Having developed devices like Sanket ECG monitor and Stress Smartapp that measures ECG and stress, which other products Agatsa Healthcare is planning in near future?
Cardiac care mainly comprises of three stages – prevention, detection and maintenance. We look forward to launch complete end-to-end solutions to provide a unique combination of pocket sized ECG monitor to quickly detect heart issues through full 12-Lead ECG on a smartphone, get timely medical interventions and assistance and services to provide personalised coaching programmes to post operative patients by bringing together cardiac healthcare providers, dieticians and physical therapists.
We successfully kicked off our pilot project under the National Health Mission programme of Tripura in association with Tata Trusts in September last year. Doctors in 45 PHCs in remote areas are successfully using our devices to quickly scan patients for cardiac problems
We are gearing up to Beta launch our extended cardiac health platform called “Sanket Coach Programme.” This programme is of three months to six months duration and will provide support to heart patients (diseased or post operative) by helping them with right food choices, lifestyle modifications, physical exercise and online medical support.
How Agatsa plans to scale up?
Our Sanket devices are in the market for the past one year now and are receiving some really good feedback from heart patients, doctors, general physicians, diabetologists and general fitness providers. Even the people who just want to monitor their heart for prevention of any disease are buying Sanket. Anyone can purchase Sanket from our website or online portals like Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart.
We successfully kicked off our pilot project under the National Health Mission programme of Tripura in association with Tata Trusts in September last year. Doctors in 45 PHCs in remote areas are successfully using our devices to quickly scan patients for cardiac problems.
We plan to scale up the sales of our devices and Sanket services platform in the first quarter of 2017 by reaching out to various hospitals, cardiac clinics, diagnostic centres to use and recommend our devices and Sanket Life platform to their patients for better monitoring and management of heart diseases. Agatsa intends to reach out to post operative patients who are in dire need of constant support and monitoring, patients on medication and finally to high risk patients.
What are the key challenges you face as a health device maker?
Key challenges in India include lack of standard certifications and regulations around patient-centric medical devices. Shortage of technical expertise in terms of electronics manufacturing and prototyping is another big challenge for device manufacturers in India. Finding high skilled professionals in designing and engineering areas is also tough. Support from academia to guide young students and professionals towards real innovations must be stressed upon.
How can government policies help medical device manufacturers to increase their global reach?
Regulations around patient-centric medical devices like Sanket must be brought in for better innovations, products and services in healthcare.
Commercialisation grants or even debt on low interest rates to scale up and not just support for research and development would help startups like us to stand on their own, rather than depending on equity investments alone.
Better infrastructure support for R&D and prototyping and manufacturing will be a huge boost to Indian medical devices industry.
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Tata Trusts and Government of Tripura introduce initiatives in healthcare and education to improve access through technology
- Virtual learning centres set up in 11 high schools of Tulashikhar, linked by VSAT connection to a central studio at SCERT at Agartala
- Emergency Medical Services Plan for Tripura to ensure quick and life-saving response to emergencies and disasters
- Mobile ECG machines in 39 primary health centres for emergency cardiac care
|(From right) R Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee, Tata Trusts, with other officials at the inauguration|
Tripura: The Government of Tripura and Tata Trusts today inaugurated virtual classrooms to enable learning at secondary and higher education levels across six blocks of Tripura at SCERT, Agartala this morning. Furthermore, announcing the setting up of an Emergency Medical Services Plan for the state to ensure timely and life-saving response to emergencies. As part of this initiative, mobile ECG machines will be provided in 39 primary health centres for emergency cardiac care. This initiative parties was announced by both parties at a training and facilitation event held at the capital’s Pragya Bhavan.
Establishing VSAT-enabled and IT integrated smart classrooms, Tata Trusts shall provide technical support in six blocks: Tulashikhar and Padmabil, Khowai; Manu and Chhamanu blocks in Dhalai and Kathalia and Mohanbhog blocks in Sepahijala. The first leg of the work launches in all 11 High Schools of Tulashikhar block where the Trusts has been working to improve the quality of education in all 97 Government schools.
These virtual learning centres will allow remedial teaching of students and teachers in a centralised manner through organised seminars and special input workshops. The main objective of this initiative is to see an increasing number of students successfully pass in high schools and to encourage more teachers to integrate e- learning contents and modules in everyday teaching. Tata Trusts’ technology partners will ensure equitable access to state resources.
In keeping with the benefits obtained from advancing technology Tata Trusts has endeavoured to integrate its use in a number of projects. The ability to monitor, identify and react real-time is a feature best suited to healthcare.
Remote locations and a lack of available equipment, is often a challenge when offering ECG monitoring facilities to patients in Public Healthcare Centres (PHCs). The Trusts through a health initiative outlined under the MoU signed a year ago are working towards bridging this divide by introducing Sanket, a small easy-to-use portable ECG recording device in 39 PHCs across the state, thereby covering all the PHCs in the three districts of Dhalai, Khowai and Sipahijala. Through cutting edge technology, this device aims at providing affordable and timely cardiac care to even remote communities. Training will also be provided to health workers in usage, cardiac emergency care and effective primary level health planning.
By combining technology, operations and processes, Tata Trusts is bringing integrated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to Tripura to ensure swift life-saving response to emergencies. Through this, Tata Trusts is working to strengthen existing pre-hospital care and life-saving skills among healthcare personnel; bolstering trauma care facilities; and using technology to improve coordination between EMS and various Govt. departments.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Tata Trusts and the Government of Tripura in July 2015, Tata Trusts has been working to augment, strengthen and supplement systems across livelihood, education, health and nutrition in the state. Tata Trusts has been assisting the State Government in building capacities of various sectors through on ground implementation of projects such as Internet Saathi, livelihood through fisheries and dairy as well as skill building efforts for increased employment opportunities for the states youth.
About Tata Trusts
Tata Trusts is amongst India’s oldest, non-sectarian philanthropic organisations that work in several areas of community development. Since its inception, Tata Trusts has played a pioneering role in transforming traditional ideas of philanthropy to make impactful sustainable change in the lives of the communities served. Through direct implementation, co-partnership strategies and grant making, the Trusts support and drive innovation in the areas of education; healthcare and nutrition; rural livelihoods; natural resources management; enhancing civil society and governance and media, arts, crafts and culture. Tata Trusts continue to be guided by the principles of its Founder, Jamsetji Tata and through his vision of proactive philanthropy, the Trusts catalyse societal development while ensuring that initiatives and interventions have a contemporary relevance to the nation. For more information please visit http://tatatrusts.org/
Agatsa, founded by Neha Rastogi and Rahul Rastogi, has started selling Sanket to ONGC, which plans to use it for its field engineers in distant locations, and is in talks with the Border Security Force
Sometime in 2011, Neha and Rahul Rastogi faced a personal emergency. Rahul’s father was admitted to hospital after complaining of a heavy feeling in his chest, and tests showed he had been on the brink of a massive heart attack. That near-crisis and the drudge of regular follow-up tests after an angioplasty for the elder Rastogi set husband and wife thinking. Heart attacks are notoriously difficult to detect. A gadget to help people monitor their heart function on their own, at home, would go a long way towards providing an early warning signal of a crisis.
Research showed that there was no such gadget in the market. For Neha and Rahul, then electronics engineers in information technology services firm CSC and Samsung, respectively, this gap in the market provided an opportunity to develop a product that would offer a much-needed health care solution. Agatsa Software – the company they set up with their own funds with friends and family chipping in – started out as a rudimentary home lab in which the two studied the essentials of the ECG machine and how it captured information on the heart function and worked on developing a miniature model of similar efficiency. The principal challenge lay in developing sensors in place of the leads that are connected to different points on the chest.
By 2013, a prototype was ready. A masterpiece of frugal engineering, it involved a micro-circuit in a plastic casing marginally larger than a standard credit card with two thumb sensors that transmitted the read-out to a smartphone (even the most basic models could capture the information). The device, called Sanket (the Hindi word for signal), was showcased at an event organised by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) called “Tie the knot”.
“We were selected as one of the top five start-ups at the TiE platform and, although we didn’t get much funding initially, we got some good feedback on the device,” says Neha Rastogi. A breakthrough came in 2014, when Sanket won the Anjani Mashelkar Award for frugal innovation, a multi-country contest that involved 300 entries. Subsequently, with some funds from the department of science and technology and mentored by an incubation centre under the Start-Up India scheme, Neha, 34, and Rahul, 36, worked on improving Sanket’s circuitry to capture more chest leads, first six and then 12, through sensors embedded on the side of the device.
In July 2015, Agatsa launched its first Sanket pocket-sized monitor. Currently available on Amazon, it is priced at Rs 11,999, about half the price of similar devices that, however, offer only a single-lead reading. Since quantities are still small – about 150 devices have been sold so far – manufacturing has been outsourced to a plant in Shenzhen in China. Agatsa has also filed three patents, of which two (for design and technology) have been granted.
Agatsa – a name derived from Greek – currently has a team of 16 working on the technology and the focus of the app development is towards bringing down costs (“we hope to eventually retail it at Rs 5,000-6,000,” says Neha). The sales drive is still conservative since the company is concentrating on getting feedback for continuous improvements, such as getting validation from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Indian Council of Medical Research.
The aim is to plug into state health programmes where low-cost solutions for remote diagnostics are in demand. A demand from the Tata Trust has helped Agatsa work on a pilot in rural Tripura and UP. The company has started selling the device to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, which plans to use it for its field engineers in distant locations, and is in talks with the Border Security Force.
Over the longer term, Agatsa is looking at a “complete fulfilment plan”. This involves extending its offering to measure blood pressure, blood sugar and blood oxygen as well as a paid service in which a panel of doctors can review the read-outs. The company has developed an algorithm that can measure stress levels through Sanket, and a foetal monitoring device is also being researched.
Agatsa’s focus, says Neha, is on low-cost innovation in which the social purpose drives the commercialisation of the product. Sanket, thus, is the first early signal of that mission.
BEFORE IT GETS TOO LATE
- Sanket is a pocket-sized ECG monitor that captures readings via embedded thumb and chest sensors
- The readings can be captured on a smartphone via Bluetooth
- Currently available on Amazon, it is priced at Rs 11,999
- An algorithm is being developed to measure stress levels on the device
- The long-term plan is to provide readings for blood pressure, blood sugar and blood oxygen
- A paid service empanelling doctors to review the read-outs is worked on
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Sanket – A disruptive health/wellness product to monitor health ailments
Sanket – a revolutionary product in the healthcare/wellness space is the brainchild of Agatsa, a Noida based product and Solutions Company. ProductNation interviewed Rahul, co-founder of Agatsa to understand the product and their plans to make it available to the masses. Read on…
What was the motivation to start Agatsa?
My wife Neha (Co-Founder) and I started Agatsa back in 2010. When we started, our aim was to exploit the opportunity of providing innovative solutions to worldwide customers on the mobile/web/internet platform. We leveraged our expertise in working with mobile devices and built custom solutions and applications to clients in different sectors such as healthcare, education and social networking.
However, from the past year, we have pivoted, and reoriented ourselves as a product company in the healthcare space. All our current efforts are focused towards these aspects now.
How did this shift in direction of the company come about? What idea propelled you to think about this product?
The idea for the product came about as a result of personal experience of having to deal with heart related ailments in my extended family, and a lot of deep thinking about how these could be prevented. These days, we have compact and easy to use devices to monitor and keep a tab on few diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure etc. However, when it comes to detecting symptoms of heart related ailments, it usually involves a detailed diagnostic procedure at one of the labs. If one digs deeper, it comes out that most of the heart attacks could have been prevented, had there been proper and early diagnosis of the symptoms.
This led us to conceptualize and prototype a device that is smaller-then-a-credit-card sized pocket card device which can be carried along as a card in the pocket. This device would enable monitoring the vital stats of the functioning of the heart. We have named it ‘Sanket’, to reflect the signalling capability any potential ailments in the functioning of the heart.
Can you provide a few more specific details about the device – Sanket? How would one use it and what benefits would one get?
Sanket is the name of our product range that includes health monitoring, wellness devices. The very first product in Sanket portfolio is possibly the world’s smallest Pocket ECG card that can read and interpret ECG. It’s even smaller than a credit card !
There are at least three ways in which one would benefit by using this product. Firstly, Sanket simplifies the process of getting an ECG done. In the current practice, one needs to travel to a diagnostic centre, wait for his/her turn and get the ECG conducted at the lab, place gel and electrodes at numerous places on body. Using Sanket, one can do the same at the location of their choice, and without any external dependency or help. This greatly reduces the time and effort spent by the individual without the use of any gel or electrode. Moreover, Sanket records all the ECG data measurements of the individual, couples itself with mobile through Bluetooth and smartphone app and transmits this data to a central cloud server. A cohort analysis is performed on the cloud server, and data is benchmarked against reference standard readings and physician recommendations for that individual. The individual gets regular ECG reports/statements based on a predefined schedule.
Secondly, Sanket can provide early warning of abnormalities discovered as and when an ECG is measured by this device. As soon as the ECG measurements are taken from the individual, if there are any deviations observed in the ECG, immediately, the device will raise an alarm and has possibility of connecting live with doctors in case of emergencies, for quick consultation and advice.
Thirdly, due to the built in danger level indicator, if the ECG recording of the individual indicates an emergency situation, such as initial few moments of a heart attack, it starts an audible beep to alert the user to quickly get to a doctor. It can be improvised sends an SOS alert to the registered health provider and nominated family members about the situation of the user.
So, in summary, Sanket provides a revolutionary, easy to use alternative to traditional ways of getting ECG done. One can use smart mobile apps to display, record and interpret ECG waveforms. Due to its sophisticated circuitry and patent pending technology, Sanket can capture the electric heart signals of a user, with the same amount of accuracy as a traditional ECG recording setup. A user can monitor the trends of his/her heart condition due to the analytics and cloud based data storage. Most importantly, Sanket can reduce the fatalities by alarming or sending SOS alerts to concerned people in case of irregular or emergency situations.
This seems to be a very disruptive sort of an offering. How are you ensuring that you protect your IP, and ensure you have competitive edge over others who may copy you once this device is out in the market?
We realize that this sort of offering is very disruptive in the marketplace. Hence, we have proactively worked on protecting our IP. We already have filed for over 6 patents on the different unique aspects of the device, which are in various stages of processing. With this, we are confident that our IP would be protected. In terms of dealing with competition once this product is out, we think that there is not much one can do to curtail or stop imitation – especially when a solution is this effective. Hence our approach is to stay ahead in the thought leadership and sustain our early mover advantage by introducing similar new products/variants to the market. Of course, one needs to execute well on their plan as well to maintain this edge.
Have there been guides/mentors for you on this endeavour? Who have helped you in this path thus far?
We have been fortunate to get a few people who have greatly helped us to be where we are as on day. Rohan Sehgal and Arvind Jha from Gurgaon Angels not only seed funded our initiative but have also been a great source of strength, motivation and mentoring.
How much has your background helped you in this endeavour?
I have a background of over a decade of professional working experience, working in companies such as LG, Samsung and ST Microelectronics. This experience has helped me in drawing out the technical specs of the device – both in terms of hardware, firmware and software.
Neha, the second Co-Founder has been working earlier with Hewitt, CSC and has expertise in QA and Software development. She has experience in handling large scale projects which are product oriented. This helped us in managing various stages of product development and troubleshooting day to day issues/problems in developing a world-class electronic device in India.She is also a key part in designing the core strategy of product development and planning the much needed rigorous clinical trials.
What sort of initial traction and interest have you received from the market?
Even though we are in an early beta cycle, and trials with a select set of users, we have received huge interest from various players in the ecosystem. Firstly, we are very excited because we have received positive feedback from the initial set of users. Then, there are a few device manufacturers interested to collaborate with us to enable us scale. We are also in advanced stage of discussions with a global semiconductor giant to explore a joint go-to-market strategy which would allow us to scale and make the device available across the globe. So, in all, we have been overwhelmed by the initial traction that our device has received from the interested communities.
We are on track to make the product available in India by early next year, and are looking forward to make a disruptive change in this space!
ProductNation joins them in wishing more successes as ‘Team Agatsa’ moves ahead with the formal launch of Sanket.
Full article here
Nearly 30 million Indians suffer from heart ailments, making India the heart-disease capital of the world. Access to and cost of proper diagnosis and treatment are the biggest hurdles faced by a majority of the population.
With the pocket ECG monitor, Sanket, even people from the remotest parts of the country can get themselves a quick, 98% accurate ECG test anytime, anywhere!
Agatsa Technology’s credit-card-sized ECG monitor, Sanket, can measure ECG and stress levels by using just a thumb-touch. The ECG is immediately displayed on a mobile screen and can be relayed to anyone across the globe using Whatsapp, email or even SMS.
This means that with an ECG Report generated within 15 seconds, a report can be sent to the patient’s doctor instantly!
Have a heart – Support them here so they can take this technology to the masses and bring affordable heart monitoring to all
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India needs a comprehensive approach to combating heart disease -Vice President
Vice President inaugurates 11th World Heart Day event
The Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari said that we would need a comprehensive approach to combating heart disease. He was addressing the inaugural session of 11th Annual World Heart Day event, here today.
The Vice President has said that India has seen a rapid transition in its heart disease burden over the past couple of decades and the load of communicable and non‐communicable diseases is projected to get reversed in 2020. Demographic projections suggest a major increase in cardiovascular disease mortality as life expectancy increases and the age structure of the growing population changes, he added.
Shri M. Hamid Ansari said that the growth of heart diseases is dependent on a number of interlinked factors such as aging, changing lifestyles and food habits and rapidly evolving socioeconomic determinants like access to healthcare, environmental stress and income levels also impact cardiovascular diseases risk factors.
The Vice President said that we would need a comprehensive approach to combating heart disease, with a focus on education and access to proper health facilities. For this both the public and the private sectors have to work together, he added.
Following is the text of the Vice President’s inaugural address:
“I am delighted to be part of the programs to commemorate World Heart Day.
The World Heart Day, since 2000, has become a landmark event to inform and educate the people around the world about health risks related to the human heart. The focus of the activities related to the world heart day has been on creating awareness to allow the people to make healthy choices and reduce cardiovascular risk. Such an effort is much needed given that heart disease are now the world’s leading causes of death, claiming 17.3 million lives each year.
I applaud these efforts to educate the people on the problems and causes of heart disease and to work together with– our doctors, scientists, teachers, businessmen, parents and children – to promote healthy lifestyles and ensure a healthier future for our people.
India has seen a rapid transition in its heart disease burden over the past couple of decades. The load of communicable and non‐communicable diseases is projected to get reversed in 2020. Demographic projections suggest a major increase in cardiovascular disease mortality as life expectancy increases and the age structure of the growing population changes.
A conservative estimate indicates that there could be more than 30 million heart patients in India, of which about 14 million are in urban and 16 million in rural areas. If the current trend continues by the year 2020, the burden of atherothrombotic cardiovascular diseases in India will surpass other regions of the world.
The growth of heart diseases is dependent on a number of interlinked factors such as aging, changing lifestyles and food habits. Rapidly evolving socioeconomic determinants like access to healthcare, environmental stress and income levels also impact cardiovascular diseases risk factors.
However, the growth of heart diseases affects not just the urban and economically well‐off but also the under privileged. The Indian rural population and urban poor are facing a “double burden” – with incidences of acute diseases continuing, while there is a rapid growth in incidences of chronic diseases.
The key challenges being faced in cardiac care in India are low availability of facilities, lack of accessibility, and limited affordability of effective and efficient treatment, coupled with lack of awareness towards non-communicable diseases including cardiovascular diseases.
In response to ever-rising burden of cardiovascular diseases, the Government has initiated an integrated National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancers, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS). The aim of the program is prevention and control of common non-communicable disease risk factors through an integrated approach and reduction of premature morbidity and mortality. The programme has led to some capacity building of health systems and improvement in quality of care; large gaps however still exists and there is extreme pressure on the limited resources available.
The Public Health Foundation of India in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also started programmes to advance consciousness of disease prevention measures. These include early detection, healthy lifestyle and diet, physical activity, yoga and stress management.
The Parliament in 2003 passed the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act to further the cause of prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Today, cardiac hospitals in India perform over 200,000 open heart surgeries per year, one of the highest, worldwide. There has been a steady annual rise to the tune of 25‐30 percent per year in the number of coronary interventions over the past several years. This suggests that the disease is now achieving epidemic proportions; it also shows that the accessibility of the population to advanced cardiac facilities is increasing.
We would need a comprehensive approach to combating heart disease, with a focus on education and access to proper health facilities. For this both the public and the private sectors have to work together. Events like the World Heart Day go a long way in bringing the risk of heart diseases into focus and riveting public attention on this issue.
I commend the organizers for taking this initiative. I wish them success in this endeavor.
One person dies every 33 seconds owing to an heart attack in India, says a top city cardiologist, adding that the deadly condition is making Indians its victim 10 years ahead of the people in the West.
“India is currently witnessing nearly two million heart attacks a year and majority of the victims are youngsters,” said Dr Ashwani Mehta, senior consultant cardiologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here
He was delivering a public lecture on “Living with Heart Disease: All about Stents and Interventions” at the India International Centre (IIC) in the heart of the capital on Tuesday.
“Men living in cities are three times more prone to heart attacks than people living in villages. As for women, the risk rises significantly after menopause,” Mehta told the gathering.
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) or “bad” cholesterol is the leading factor for heart attacks.
Diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, genetic history, lifestyles, especially the higher intake of carbohydrate rich foods and lack of regular physical exercise are other factors that lead to heart attack.
Patients often tend to neglect chest pain citing acidity or gastric trouble which, Mehta said, should not be overlooked.
“Any discomfort or any exertions that a person experiences after walking, particularly if it persists after taking rest, could be linked to heart and should not be ignored but should be immediately taken care,” Mehta noted.
In a recently completed project at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, twice as many stroke patients received the correct atrial fibrillation (AF) diagnosis with thumb-ECG (Zenicor) compared to current standard of care. The aim of the project was to develop and improve the diagnosis of AF for stroke patients in Portsmouth and to prevent recurrent strokes. The study was presented recently at the European Stroke Organisation Conference, Venice, Italy.
The thumb-ECG device has been used at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth by 70 stroke patients over six months. The patients were investigated with thumb-ECG for three weeks in combination with continuous 24 hours Holter-ECG. With thumb-ECG, 14% of the patients were diagnosed with AF but only 7% were detected with the Holter ECG. The results are consistent with previous research from Sweden, where 7–11% of AF has been diagnosed with thumb-ECG and 1.5–4% with Holter-ECG.
Project lead Dr Ugnius Sukys (Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth) said: “We could repeat the results from the Swedish studies, and the investigation with Zenicor thumb-ECG even proved to be more effective in the Portsmouth population of stroke patients. We detected AF in a number of patients who would have been missed otherwise, and could therefore provide a better treatment for our stroke patients”.