Helping doctors in India detect heart complications within minutes of a patient’s arrival
In 2014, 5 million people in India suffered heart attacks, and 3 million of those people didn’t live. The likelihood of surviving a heart attack is more than 80% if treatment is received within the first two hours. But in India, the average time to treatment is more than six hours.
While heart attacks can be detected by a quick and inexpensive test called an ECG, most primary care clinics in India aren’t equipped with ECG machines. On top of this, many primary care doctors don’t have sufficient training in ECG interpretation.
That’s why one startup is flipping the script on heart attacks. Tricog Health is based in Bangalore, India, and focuses on improving survival rates by decreasing the average time between symptoms and treatment. Tricog was the first company to join GE Healthcare’s five.eight healthcare accelerator program, which recently secured additional backing from Microsoft Accelerator. They were also recently selected by Fast Company as a finalist in the Developing-World Technology category of the 2017 World Changing Ideas Awards.
How it works
GE Healthcare and Tricog have teamed up to placed cloud-connected ECG systems in local clinics throughout India to help doctors detect heart complications within minutes of a patient’s arrival.
“The ECG machines we use have to be reliable and give us high-quality data. That’s why we partnered with GE Healthcare,” says Dr. Zainul Charbiwala, PhD and CTO of Tricog Health. “Their machines are the best Tricog could ask for to ensure quick and accurate diagnosis.”
That ECG information is sent to a Tricog Health clinician who interprets the data. If the patient needs immediate care, they are taken to a hospital where doctors and nurses are given the information about the patient instantly, before they even arrive.
“From identifying patients with heart attack to coordinating their care at hospitals, Tricog ensures timely treatment and intervention,” says Dr. Charit Bhograj, MD, DM, cardiologist and CEO of Tricog Health. “All this within 60 minutes – what we call the golden hour.”
Dr. C Chikkanna, senior physician at a rural clinic that uses Tricog ECG equipment, says Tricog has helped his clinic positively impact his patients’ health. “The Tricog system and their team have helped us serve many patients that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to help with the same efficiency,” he says.
Since its inception in January 2015, the company has served more than 188,000 patients and diagnosed more than 11,000 heart attacks. It has a presence in 510 urban and remote clinics across 40 cities and towns in India, and it partners with 18 heart centers with cardiac cath labs.
Expanding the reach
Tricog anticipates that it will be able to reach even more patients in India, and potentially other global emerging markets, through its affiliations with five.eight and Microsoft Accelerator. five.eight targets global health startups with a vision to improve healthcare quality and accessibility in developing or low-resource settings – from education and training to disruptive, low-cost technologies and digital applications.
“Globally, it’s estimated that more than 5.8 billion people in the world lack access to quality, affordable healthcare,” says John Flannery, President & CEO of GE Healthcare. “We’ve had a continuous commitment to improving healthcare for those who need it most, but we know we cannot do it alone. Through five.eight, our goal is to fuel the greater global health ecosystem, partnering with social impact investors and global health startups, in order to maximize impact and outcomes for populations with the greatest need.”
“We were thrilled to be the first company to be part of five.eight,” says Dr. Charit. “The program gives us a platform to propel us toward global markets further and faster than anything we could have imagined ourselves. It’s like having the entire might and scale of the GE ecosystem by our side, committed to our success and to make real impact on the ground. The strategic and competitive advantage that comes from being part of the accelerator is another huge plus for any startup trying to find its market feet.”
“As one of the largest health AI companies in the world, we leverage technological advances to enable 5.8 billion lives access to quality health care,” he says. “Tricog’s innovative technology provides every patient with an accurate, immediate diagnosis for something as critical as a heart attack. It is about time we stopped taking our hearts for granted.”
World changing ideas
Tricog is now part of the 10th Microsoft Accelerator program, which includes 14 startups in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The startups were specially selected for their entrepreneurial and technological expertise.
Dr. Charit hopes the recognition from five.eight, Microsoft Accelerator and Fast Company will help hearts throughout India.
"To be chosen as the finalist for the World Changing Ideas is a recognition of Tricog's vision to use technology to preserve lives,” says Dr. Charit. “We are fortunate to be part of five.eight and Microsoft's Accelerator. We build on the best of medical and technological infrastructure of these two giants, allowing us to be ready to scale in 174 countries. By providing us with access to their worldwide sales and support system and strategic advice, we are able to scale and execute faster, putting Tricog technology to more hands worldwide."