[Tech30] Affordable and non-invasive device by this Kolkata medtech startup aids in early diagnosis of chronic diseases
Healthcare in India is riddled with several issues, not least of which is the early detection and diagnosis of chronic diseases and conditions like anaemia. In fact, according to the Global Nutrition Report 2017, more than half the women population of India (at 51 percent) are anaemic, the highest in the world.
Besides anaemia, lung, and liver-related health problems are three major public healthcare concerns in India. All of which can be tackled with a preventative approach as well as better nutrition and healthy habits. Instead, in India, patients seek curative healthcare solutions as preventative healthcare requires skilled manpower, high costs, and testing.
Bringing a solution to this huge healthcare crisis is medtech startup EzeRX, which stands for ‘easy for prescription’. The Kolkata-based healthtech firm is on a mission to make the adoption of a preventive healthcare approach more appealing and accessible for Indians by providing easy and affordable diagnostic solutions.
Says Founder and CEO Partha Pratim,
“Nearly 75 percent of our population is from rural India, and they believe in curative healthcare approach instead of preventative. And that's a big problem. So, the idea is to identify the primary health parameters at an early stage, so we can easily detect liver problems, lungs problems, or even nutrition problems like anaemia, so that patients can then go in for a complete cure.”
To this end, EzeRx’s first solution is a non-invasive, non-contact, IoT-enabled portable diagnostic device called AJO—short for ‘anaemia, jaundice, and oxygen saturation’ — that tests for anaemia, liver, and lung-related healthcare problems.
For EzeRX, which was founded in 2018, this is just the start. In this earlier interaction with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma, the young entrepreneur revealed the startup’s plans for the next version of the product and its work in the diagnosis of oral cancer.
Painless and needle-less testing experience
What makes his startup’s solution stand apart is that AJO is a painless testing process as it measures the spectroscopic signal emitting from the conjunctiva—the clear membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids and covers the white of the eye. In other words, not a single drop of blood is drawn for the test, and it is non-contact and non-invasive, removing the chance of infections.
“The test is conducted without taking a single drop of blood from the human body, so it's a painless and infection-free process. Also, this device can be operated by unskilled or semi-skilled manpower,” Partha adds.
What makes EzeRX’s solution perfect for the Indian healthcare scene is its affordability. It costs less than Re 1 for the test, which is IoT-enabled, allowing the data to be transferred anywhere by email or text message after the completion of the test, which usually takes 0.5 seconds to 1.5 seconds.
Partha says, “Recently, we developed a more portable and compact device for measuring haemoglobin, bilirubin, and oxygen saturation levels. Besides we have also started clinical trials for oral cancer identification using our new product.”
Haemoglobin, bilirubin, and oxygen saturation are the three parameters used for the test to detect various healthcare problems: haemoglobin to detect anaemia, bilirubin to study the liver function and detect liver-related healthcare problems like jaundice, hepatitis, and alcoholic fatty liver, among others, and oxygen saturation to study the function of the lungs and detect problems like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and even brain hypoxia.
“This device can scan these three parameters within a second and the cost of this test is less than one rupee. So, if we can take only 25 paise per test, then we will break even within three years,” says Partha.
EzeRX, a recipient of the Department of Biotechnology’s BIRAC Biotechnology Ignition Grant, completed the clinical trial for the AJO device in NRS Medical College in Kolkata with “high accuracy and without any complaints,” adds Partha. In terms of support, EzeRx has been an incubatee at KIIT-TBI, and has also received funding from Villgro's INVENT and energy major Indian Oil Corporation, to continue its work.
According to Partha, the startup is now in talks with various State governments, hospitals, and CSR partners for the adoption of its device.
“The accuracy and the sensitivity of the device are not dependent on the skin colour, location and religion of the person. The high accuracy depends on the availability of the conjunctiva and its high visibility ensures its high accuracy and sensitivity."
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)
YourStory’s Tech30 companies list is an annual selection of 30 carefully curated and disruptive tech-based startups that we believe will shape the new narrative for India and the world. To get a complete overview of the 2019 Tech30 companies list, download the Tech30 Report here.
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