This Chennai-based startup is enabling remote monitoring of coronavirus patients
As we see an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in India, healthcare providers are putting themselves at massive risk as Covid-19 patients, particularly those deemed high risk, need continuous monitoring. Hence, the need of the hour is to equip healthcare professionals with devices for the remote monitoring of patients.
Chennai-based startup HELYXON is looking to solve this problem through its AI-enabled products 98.6 Fever Watch and OXY 2, which allows the frontline workers to continuously monitor the patients digitally.
The startup was founded by Vijai Shankar Raja in 2014, and aimed to solve the gaps in the healthcare sector in India. The startup developed the devices in collaboration with IITM’s Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre (HTIC), and were initially meant to monitor the health of newborn babies.
Monitoring coronavirus patients
Speaking to YourStory, Vijai says, “Currently, there are three types of COVID-19 patients. Those who are asymptomatic, those with mild symptoms, and the critically ill patients. While critically ill patients need ICU observation, the other two types of patients can be monitored by using HELYXON’s products.”
He says, doctors and healthcare providers can use HELYXON’s products to monitor the patients from their homes or from the isolation wards.
According to Vijai, their AI-based biosensor wearable device ‘98.6 Fever Watch’ continuously monitors the body temperature digitally, and alerts doctors or attendants about any abnormal spike in body temperatures.
“The 98.6 Fever Watch can be fixed in the armpits of the patients, which will monitor the patient and collect data on a continuous basis and send it to the mobile phone via bluetooth and is then moved to the cloud computer servers via GSM or WiFi. The saved data can then be accessed by healthcare professionals on the monitoring screen to take note of the patient’s condition,” says Vijai.
Apart from monitoring the patient’s body temperature, the device also provides geo-fencing tracking alerts to the caretakers to keep a tab on the movement of the patients.
Vijai explains the device can be used to engage patients, where protocol-based pre-defined messages are sent to the patient and their family members about how they should take care of themselves. The device also monitors connectivity to ensure the patient does not remove the device from their body as it may result in data loss.
Similarly, OXY 2 can monitor the body temperature, heart rate, and oxygen saturation in real-time, and can be used to monitor thousands of patients simultaneously in hospitals without the need for regular physical monitoring.
Apart from this, HELYXON has developed My+Health mobile application to connect doctors with patients remotely. Patients can reach out to doctors via chat, voice, or video call to consult them about their symptoms or clarify any doubts.
Vijai says: “The fever watch is available for Rs 2,500, and OXY 2 by itself costs around Rs 8,000. But as it needs more oxygen, temperature, and extension probes (connecting tubes or wires) for monitoring COVID-19 patients right now, it can cost up to Rs 13,000-14,000.”
Using tech in healthcare
Vijay, who comes with 32 years of experience in the healthcare sector, believes the Indian healthcare industry has three major problems - affordability, reach, and trust.
Due to poor healthcare infrastructure and low doctor-patient ratio, not everyone has access to healthcare facilities in the country. If doctors cannot reach all patients physically, technology is the best way to solve the issue with virtual consultations. Technology can thus enable reach and gain trust of the patients. And with these two, the affordability of healthcare also becomes possible.
According to Vijay, Helyxon currently has 130,000 patients using these devices. “The company has tied up with a medical college in Chengalpattu near Chennai and a private hospital to which it has supplied 25 devices to monitor Covid-19 patients.”
Amid the growing number of coronavirus cases across the globe, HELYXON has also been witnessing an increase in demand for its products not only in India, but has also been approached by North America, Middle East, and Far East countries.
Vijai explains the products are manufactured via vendors, and it has the capacity to produce up to 10,000 pieces a week at present. “We are aiming to reach out to more than 1,000 doctors and more than one crore patients. Our production will match according to the numbers achieved and will simultaneously be increasing,” Vijai said..
According to Vijai, the startup plans to become the best healthcare medtech platform in the country. Helyxon currently faces stiff competition from startups such as Practo, Lybrate, and Mfine.
Edited by Megha Reddy