AI in healthcare

Meet Cardiotrack: The startup disrupting healthcare diagnostics with AI and IoT

Promoting the preventive care model, Cardiotrack an AI-based healthcare diagnostics platform aids primary health care centers in cardiovascular diagnostics.

India’s healthcare system has been undergoing tremendous change in the recent years. Government policies, increased attention on rural healthcare and advent of remote consultation have all played a major role. Technology has been a backbone to all these initiatives. One such example is Cardiotrack, an AI-based healthcare diagnostics platform that aids primary health care centers in cardiovascular diagnostics.

Cardiotrack was founded by Avin Agarwal and Ashim Roy in 2014. The key motivation for the founders to bridge the existing urban-rural gap in the healthcare infrastructure in India.

“We came up with our first device, i.e., a 12-channel electro cardio gram which is our manufacturing and IP. Subsequently, we added more devices and applications, now it’s a more comprehensive solution,” says Agarwal.

Role of AI and IoT:

Cardiotrack’s solutions include the IoT-based, portable medical devices including ECG, portable Bluetooth stethoscope, blood pressure monitor, hemoglobin monitor, glucose monitor, and so on, connected to the Cardiotrack mobile applications through Bluetooth.

The vitals for the patient are captured and the data passed on to the doctor, before the consultation. Agarwal believes this makes the consultation more meaningful and complete as vitals and other parameters are also available with the doctors. “These devices are portable, therefore making it more convenient for anybody to get the diagnosis,” he says.

When asked about the role of AI, Agarwal says, “We must first have the data. To capture the data, we must have devices and doctors providing prescription.” Once the data is collected an in-house analytics platform compares the data points of the patients that have been captured over time and assess the direction of the risk trajectory. Agarwal mentions the future is assessed based on risk percentage.

“If the risk trajectory is deteriorating, then patient has to change the lifestyle or medication. This data is useful for the patient and also for insurance,” says Agarwal. “We work with a lot of insurance today and the aim is to take care of the wellness of the patient. We work to see that the information is provided to the patient about their health at the right time so that they can take corrective action and avoid hospitalization.”

In any AI-based solution it is important to train the model. “We started with statistical model and now we are looking at a machine learning model too as we started with ECG as the first data input,” says Agarwal. Over time, Cardiotrack started to get more radiology parameters and now pathology parameter as well. “The model is continuously evolving and we are trying to figure out the best way to correlate each of these to improve the accuracy of the model,” he says.

Security the system:

Security is paramount to Cardiotrack. Agarwal says, “There are different layers of security. We do not keep the vitals of the patient along with patient demographic data. All the vitals collected are encrypted and saved in file format while the meta data is saved in RDBMS.” There is encrypted logic to correlate patient information with patient vitals. “That is the key security layer implemented and again there are security layer in terms of access to the data. We have built access points and there are standard methods of securing the database.”

Competitive differentiator:

As teleconsultation picks up in India owing to Covid19 and the increase in deep tech investment, platforms like Cardiotrack are steadily penetrating the market. But Agarwal isn’t worried. “The key competitive differentiator is the holistic approach we have taken. We realized that to get the accurate, meaningful and sufficient data we have to have our own channels of getting the data into system and perform analytics on it,” he says.

Cardiotrack is both a technology and service company. “If we just have to take a device from the platform to the market it is difficult to penetrate, but as we provide end to end technology as well as service, things are easier,” he says.

Future collaborations:

It takes a village to a startup progressing. Cardiotrack, therefore, is looking for collaborations in the diagnostics and medical space. Realizing the key gap in preventive care, Cardiotrack is collaborating not only with doctors but also with third party aggregators in the insurance space. “Whatever insurance companies are doing is reactive method and not looking at historical data or potential problems. That is where we are looking at creating and building a network,” he says.

Infrastructure changes needed for deep tech ecosystem to flourish:

Agarwal believes the ecosystem is in a nascent stage in India where, at least for the startup, the access to decent resource is limited. “First of all, get the right resource who can understand the technology and business aspect of it, and come up with the right approach to build the model,” he says.

Agarwal says with the insurance picking up in India, which is right now in nascent stage, there is lot of scope for healthcare startups and established healthcare providers to cater to the needs of the insurance companies as well as to the patients. “In general, we see that the market is heading toward a preventive and wellness care. Any startup working in this space will have a good time.”

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