Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld spoke to Dinesh Seemakurty, Founder & CEO, Stasis Health Pvt. Limited, Bangalore to find out more about the need for smart monitoring of patients and the product that he has put to test in various hospitals. Edited excerpts:
Medical Device Sector Scenario:
In the more advanced markets, medical devices and hospital information systems have been very strongly adopted. Almost every hospital has a centralised hospital information system, these devices are connected to it and data is much more available to clinicians and nurses throughout the care continuum. But when you look at India, it’s much more nascent here. A lot of hospitals have still not adopted a true hospital information system with fully integrated electronic medical record facility, and a lot of these devices are not connected to it.
Data is being lost. We are not allowing clinicians to see everything about their patients which enables them to make good clinical judgement. So, I believe the medical device industry has a lot to grow here. Although it is growing in the right direction, we need to work in larger terms to connect all the dots.
Thoughts on the Medical Device Industry
The Global Medical device industry is valued over $30 billion but when you look in to the Indian Medical industry, we are looking at $3.5 billion just a few years ago edging towards $5 billion in the next couple of years. So, the industry in India is growing rapidly. From my background in the U.S, one of the big differences that I have seen in the U.S medical devices and hospital information systems is that they are very directly connected. Almost every device is connected to a centralised system allowing the right data to be accessible by doctors no matter where they are. Over here in India, we are much more nascent. Medical devices are always working in their own silos. Hospitals here have not really adapted to full hospital information systems and I think that is going to be the biggest area of expansion within Indian Healthcare and Indian Medical Device industry.
Trends that you see in Smart Monitoring of Patients
When we look at the last two decades, patient monitoring has been pretty much the same. We have the same bedside units, that are measuring vital signs showing numbers and waveforms. At best, they are centralised to a nurse. But the era of monitoring just in the intensive care unit, where you see this product today, is coming to an end. We believe in the smart monitoring era, which is where monitoring is able to be connected throughout the care continuum. What we are trying to accomplish is adding patient monitoring to areas outside of the intensive care in private patient rooms, step-down wards and even outside of the hospital sector completely. We believe smart monitoring has growth in the home healthcare sector and rural healthcare. We believe that because of connectivity and the new era of internet, all this monitoring will be accessible to doctors no matter where they are.
How does it integrate into the workflow within the hospital?
Hospitals are really complex machines. They require many people to work in many different ways to maintain seamless operations and when you are bringing in a new workflow, it needs to seamlessly integrate, to not disturb their practice of healthcare. That is one of the key issues in any kind of innovation in the healthcare sector.
The other one is how simple the product is, not only to implement it into use, but to gain value from this. Clinicians are bombarded by new products and too much data. But if the data is not easy to interpret, easy to utilise and they can’t gain value from it very quickly, this will lead to products not being well adopted in the healthcare industry. I think the two challenges that should be considered by any medical device company are integration to workflow and simplicity of seeing the value.
Stasis Health Interest in Patient Monitoring System:
I was born in Andhra Pradesh, India. I did all my formal education in the United States. I studied bio-medical engineering there and also had a background in emergency medicine. I was an emergency medical technician which means that I was working in the ERs, the Ambulances, Emergency Labour in Delivery and that sector really inspired me in the development of this product. The idea came about five years ago when I experienced the loss of a loved one due to lack of good information going to the clinician on time. A major aspect of emergency medicine is that you are there to stabilise the patient and get the information to the doctor and when I saw this information gap which led to the loss of a loved one, I knew that this problem had to be solved. We spent almost three years working with Indian hospitals to really understand their gaps in healthcare, doing interviews with administrators, clinicians, nurses and we took all those feedback to actually develop a product which has now been installed in over 20 hospitals.
Stasis Health as a Differentiator:
The Stasis Monitoring System is a cloud connected patient monitoring system that allows hospitals to implement continuous monitoring outside of the intensive care. ICUs today have sufficient monitoring from the doctor, staff and the nurses. But right after the ICU, there is no good access to monitoring. Our monitor measures six of the core parameters of the patient: Heart rate, Blood Oxygen,3 Lead ECG, Respiratory rate, Blood Pressure and Temperature and then automatically documents this every 5 minutes and creates a chart of the patient’s vital signs that is available to the doctor on their smart phone.
This product is always improving. Research and Development is a big aspect of how we developed this product from Day 1. We have engineers both in India and the U.S and this product is continuously getting updates based on the feedback we are getting from our customers. This is one of the key aspects of why we are able to stay as a leader in continuous monitoring. The customers of this product are really focused on areas outside of intensive care. So we have implemented it in high dependency units, step-down units, all the way down to the private rooms.
Who are the main beneficiaries ?
Clinicians get access to their patients’ vitals on their phones. It improves their efficiency during their hectic schedules and they are able to keep track of exactly how all their patients are doing.
Nurses currently spend 25% of their day manually taking vital signs. Now they are using that time to actually talk to the families, patients and improve their outcomes.
Patients, through our innovative design become an integral part of the care continuum. They see green on the monitor, they know that they are doing well, they see orange or yellow, they know that they have to raise an alarm. This integration of patient experience into the care continuum increases satisfaction and ensures that there is transparency in healthcare.
Your future plans ?
Stasis is focused on the major metros in India today. We are based in Bangalore, Mumbai and Chennai and we are still growing into other metro cities. But that is not where we want to stop. Our research and development is focused on expanding access to continuous monitoring throughout India and even the globe. So, we are all focused on rural centres, trying to open up community centres where we can monitor patients and use tailored medicine to connect them to key doctors in the metro cities and home healthcare where patients don’t even need to be in the hospital to stay connected. We are constantly improving our product to fit these new avenues and these new areas so that the monitoring can be accessible with any patient no matter where they are.