The evolution of medical devices has enabled patients and caregivers to periodically monitor simple fever to more complex glucose levels. Thermometers made it easy to track fever while the growing tribe of diabetic patients find it easier to maintain healthy sugar levels with glucometers. These devices alongwith others like pressure cuffs which measure blood pressure levels and inhalers for asthmatic patients have allowed people to lead more active and fuller lives. A credit card sized heart monitor called Sanket which acts like a portable, economical ECG machine promises to radically change cardiac care.
Sanket has been developed by the husband-wife duo of Rahul and Neha Rastogi under their company Agatsa. The duo initially developed the device to help Rahul’s father who had a heart condition which had to be closely monitored. Short of repeated trips to the hospital for ECGs there was no other easier way to monitor his heart. Being engineers, Rahul and Neha decided to develop something along these lines. The Rastogis’ background in electronics proved to be handy – while Neha’s is in quality assessment, Rahul has been involved in building and conceptualising consumer electronic devices in various capacities in startups as well as companies like LG Mobiles and Samsung.
Neha was the first to give up her job to dive full-time into developing the first prototype which looked like a credit card and had two circular spots where the user can place her thumbs and have an ECG. This early prototype which they first tested on the senior Rastogi drew enthusiastic responses from doctors at Noida’s Fortis hospital and was enough encouragement for even Rahul to give up his job at Samsung and join his wife in taking this prototype forward.
Rahul tells NetworkedIndia that their finished and productised version of Sanket is ready to be launched later this month. This version of Sanket is similar to the first and has a 5 mm width that is less than the slimmest iPhone but more than a credit card. It has been designed as a low power device and rechargable like any mobile device. Sanket is the only device in the world which is the size of a credit card and can measure a 3-lead ECG offering the same performance you can get from a one lakh machine at a hospital.
All readings are saved as regular ECG reports in the paired and free downloadable app on a mobile phone and accessable via cloud. The reports can be sent as PDFs to doctors for advice. Multiple patient accounts can be created within the app to save readings of different users. Rahul adds that an algorithm can be added in a future version of Sanket which will auto-differentiate between users and prompt new account creation in the app. He says,
A lot of information can be derived from an ECG including heart rate, pulse rate, stress and anxiety level, effect of medicines, smoking, drinking among a total of 12 measurable variables.”
Rahul believes the Sanket heart monitor should become an essential component of every family medicine cabinet just like thermometers are and glucometers have become over the last five years. Sanket’s size and consequent mobility allows all heart patients irrespective of whether they have had major heart surgery to monitor their heart health. Given that the urban to rural ratio of heart disease is 55:45, he is also of the view that Sanket will eventually be part of ASHA healthworkers’ kits as they monitor rural health. The ability to save records on mobile devices and upload them to the cloud allows concerned departments to monitor health trends aided by data analytics.
While developing Sanket both, Rahul and Neha interviewed over 500 heart patients at various locations and discovered that many people experience chest pains which they pass off as gastric trouble and many of them cannot make a decision about its severity. So they decide to wait for 2 hours and hope it passes. Rahul however reveals,
Statistics say that if you wait for two hours then you will have 15% to 16% chance to survive. So the point is that you should have an ECG at the time that you are having chest pains which is not always possible.”
However, with Sanket, one can immediately have an ECG, send the readings to a doctor and an ambulance can be dispatched prepared to deal with the patient based on the ECG. In essence Sanket gives patients an immediate assessment of the scenario and peace of mind if gastric pains are indeed the cause of chest pains. Agatsa has plans to embark on an ambitious project over the next 12 to 18 months to create an enhanced version of Sanket or Sanket 2.0 which will measure sugar, blood pressure and temperature in addition to ECG and hope to collaborate with the government on this.
Sanket has been showcased at events like CII Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summit where they won ‘Best Innovation in Healthcare domain’ and ‘Tie the Knot’ powered by TIE in 2013 which was also featured on CNN-IBN. Sanket by Agatsa was also a nominee at the recently held Ericsson CNN-IBN Networked India Awards 2015.