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Father’s Heart Health Leads Duo to Make Low-Cost ECG Device the Size of a Keychain

Rahul and Neha, residents of Noida have innovated a keychain-sized ECG device named SanketLife. They are now being supported by the Marico Innovation Foundation to take their work forward.

This article has been sponsored by Marico Innovation Foundation

A few years ago Rahul Rastogi’s father had a serious heart attack.

This meant that he required constant care and repeated visits to the hospital for ECG check-ups to ensure proper recovery. However, this wasn’t easy for the Noida-based professional and his wife, Neha, because Rahul’s father lived in Lucknow.

“We needed to constantly check on him and be updated about his health. But, going to the hospital regularly was quite the challenge. In addition to the treatment, we wanted to help him keep track of his heart health, and were looking for a device, which could monitor that at home. While we found devices to monitor blood pressure, we couldn’t find anything that focused on heart health,” says Neha, whose search for a portable ECG machine for her father-in-law eventually led to a dead-end.

It was this worry and the drive to find a reliable solution that led the duo to invent one.

Do More, Do Better

Source: Neha Agarwal Rastogi (L); SanketLife (R)/ Facebook

Both electronic engineers with well-paying jobs, Neha and Rahul always wanted to do more than just their jobs — in software development and consumer electronics, respectively. They wanted to create substantial impact using their knowledge. That is why, in 2010, the couple started their venture — Agatsa, focused on creating a substantial positive impact in the healthcare industry through innovation and technology.

But it was their father’s heart attack in 2013 and the lack of a reliable heart monitoring device that finally worked as catalysts for them to quit their jobs to create a sustainable solution — a portable ECG device called SanketLife.

In 2017, after years of research and testing rounds, they launched the one-of-a-kind portable ECG device that could monitor the user’s heart health in a matter of minutes.

“We created a medical-grade wireless and portable ECG device that could monitor the user’s heart health based on touch. It is connected to their smartphone where it registers a report after every check-up,” says Neha.

They claim it to be the world’s only wireless, keychain-sized ECG device that can provide a complete cardiac diagnosis any time, anywhere. Their innovation is certified under ISO 13485 and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation(CDSCO).

A Keychain-sized Complete Health Monitor

The ECG device, SanketLife is wireless, portable and uses unique sensor technology to monitor the health and provide complete diagnosis just like in a hospital. But, beyond its structure and efficient health monitoring, this device stands out by providing 12-lead medical grade diagnosis in just minutes.

This means that unlike other ECG ‘single-lead’ devices that can only monitor the rhythm of the heart, SanketLife can efficiently diagnose the problem. In other words, it can effectively differentiate between normal chest pain and a heart attack pain and provide an alert through the connected smartphone.

Conventionally, ECGs are conducted by attaching electrodes on the patient’s limbs and chest for at least a minute. However, SanketLife uses a different approach and can conduct an ECG without any electrodes, wires or even trained technicians. All it needs is for the patient to press their thumb on the rectangular device’s two sensors and continue to hold the device at various points.

Through this 12-lead diagnosis feature, the device traces and records the electrical signals and heart sounds, to eventually send the data to their mobile app displaying real-time recording. Finally, based on this data, the app generates an instant report to share it with the patients, their family members or doctors who are a part of Agatsa’s network.

From Home to Health-camps and More

Source: SanketLife/Facebook

Although the initial target user-base for this device, were individuals looking to monitor their heart health from the comfort of their homes, the scope of the device expanded when doctors began to use the same, especially in small clinics, health camps and during house-calls.

Guntur-based Cardiologist, Dr Anit Vupputuri has been using and recommending SanketLife to his patients for the past two years.

Speaking about the usefulness and accuracy of the device, he says, “It is exceptionally useful in emergencies when a patient experiences a heart problem or discomfort at odd hours. With the help of the device, in a matter of minutes, the family members can take the ECG and send the results to me. We then make the appropriate preparations back at the hospital. It makes the entire process more streamlined, quick and allows us to do our jobs better. SanketLife’s accuracy is no different when compared to a conventional ECG device.”

54-year-old Shine Damoraran is another beneficiary of SanketLife. Speaking about its benefits he says, ” I developed high blood pressure some decades ago. Since then, keeping track of my heart health has been crucial and time-consuming. Hence, I was quite surprised when I came to know about this ECG device around four years back. While I was slightly apprehensive initially, I decided to give it a chance and have never had to look back since. Not only does this device help me keep track of my condition, anytime and anywhere but on several occasions I have also used it to help friends and family in emergency situations or otherwise.”

The success of the first device encouraged the couple to innovate the SanketLife Multivital device, which is a one-stop-shop solution to monitor one’s health based on various parameters like vitals, infra ray temperature, ECG, blood glucose levels, etc.

Saving thousands of lives with timely diagnosis

What had started as a platform for technological innovation, soon streamlined into specialising in healthcare innovation, and focused on creating medical-grade devices based on AI and Cloud software. So far, over 10,000 devices have been sold by Agatsa in the last three years, building a user database of over 2 lakh individuals, including doctors.

“The right diagnosis at the right time can help save so many lives. However, a lot of the time, lack of resources or equipment nearby can delay the process posing a huge risk to the patient’s well-being. Our devices help both the users and the doctors avoid such scenarios and assist in the course of the treatment,” she adds.

Realising the potential scalability of the innovation, the duo participated in the India Innovates programme, initiated by Marico Innovation Foundation in collaboration with The Better India, in 2016. “We were lucky to be mentored by Dr R A Mashelkar, who is the governing council chairperson of Marico Innovation Foundation, and his guidance has helped us carve our way successfully into the path of innovation. The exposure and expertise provided by the foundation have been extremely valuable for us,” says Neha, who is currently working on creating a robust marketing strategy and upscaling innovation at Agatsa. One of their upcoming devices will be a standalone, non-invasive multi-vital monitoring device.
Marico Innovation Foundation recognised their innovation at ‘Innovation for India Awards 2020’- a platform known to recognize undiscovered, path- breaking innovations way before their time. The Foundation is supporting the innovators duo with access to business opportunities for rapid scaling and to create awareness about their product so that more individuals can benefit from it.

With every single innovation, the duo strives to create a positive chain of impact that can not only revolutionise the healthcare industry but also make it accessible to all.

Do you know of an innovative organisation (for profit/not-for-profit) that is looking to scale? Then join Marico Innovation Foundation’s efforts to nurture Indian innovations and help them climb the ladder towards large-scale implementation.

Through its efforts, the Foundation has helped scale over 30 innovative start-ups, empowering them to achieve 10 times growth in revenues and some of them now have annual run rates of INR 100 CR. You can send in your recommendation to mif@marico.com.