At the 2015 Medical Device Innovation Conclave (MEDIC) organised by IIT Bombay, two engineers and a doctor came together to solve a conventional problem in the medical device field. The problem of the stethoscope.
The stethoscope is the most commonly used medical device in the healthcare industry. Although a simple device, its efficiency is determined by the person who uses it. Further, it can only pick up faint sounds, making a diagnosis quite difficult.
With this in mind, Adarsha K and Tapas Pandey teamed up with Dr Nambiraj Konar to develop a digital stethoscope for the MEDIC showcase in 2015.
Their prototype could amplify heartbeats and lung sounds, record the audio, and convert it into an audio file which could then be shared over different platforms. “So, an Asha worker in a remote village can capture a patient’s stats and share them with a doctor located elsewhere,” Adarsha explained to Forbes India.
(An Asha worker or an Accredited Social Health Activists is a community health worker instituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. As part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), every village in India is to have an Asha worker.)
This prototype won the showcase that year, and the trio was offered a fellowship at the Biomedical Engineering and Technology Centre (incubation), or BETiC, at IIT-Bombay, where they could refine their device, undertake clinical trials and take it to the market.
Fast forward to 2018 when the digital stethoscope is being commercialised by the startup Ayu Devices. With over 60 orders for the device, the startup is also focusing on bringing it to rural India.
Ayu Devices have now made the ‘digital’ part available to any stethoscope. With the AyuLynk, doctors can turn any conventional stethoscope into an advanced one by the small addition of the unit. This can also share the information via Bluetooth technology.
The startup is also working on a ‘smarter’ device that will use Artificial Intelligence to read patient data and collate necessary information for better diagnosis.
The startup and the innovation is an example of how incubation centres like BETiC can help bring out such technologies, refine them and make them commercially available for people.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
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