Emerging Entrepreneurs

Hooking up devices in the ICU for better patient monitoring

N Ramakrishnan | Updated on June 24, 2019 Published on June 24, 2019

Jayakanth S Kesan, CEO & MD, zBliss Technologies Pvt Ltd   -  N. Ramakrishnan

zBliss’ technology connects medical devices in intensive care units

Thanks to his stint in the Bay Area and the insights he had gained during his travels in India and his research of the ecosystem here, Jayakanth S Kesan realised there were plenty of opportunities for starting a venture. One of the ventures he started was an e-commerce platform that focussed on regional sellers. Very soon, he found that this was not going anywhere and hence shut it down. Simultaneously, he had started another venture – zBliss Technologies – that was focussed on digitising the entire ICU (Intensive Care Unit) environment.

What was the problem that zBliss was trying to solve? Jayakanth says that ICUs in hospitals have a lot of medical devices that are wired to a patient, monitoring his or her vital parameters. Unlike in other industries, data automation in the healthcare industry has not happened in a big way, he says. At present, he points out, all the parameters are jotted down periodically on sheets of paper that the doctors look at to figure out a patient’s condition. “There is no scope for data processing, no scope for data derived engineering,” he says.

“We wanted to enter into that particular space and we came up with our own hardware and software solution for that,” says Jayakanth. zBliss came up with a product prototype in mid-2017 and tested it out in a large hospital in Bengaluru. This was a data acquisition and data integration product called zMed, which will connect all medical devices in an ICU and help in automation.

The hardware, according to Jayakanth, is a small device that is placed near the patient’s bed to which will be connected all the medical devices monitoring the patient’s parameters. Right now, nurses in the ICU note down the parameters on sheets of paper. zMed, says Jayakanth, will automate data acquisition. A proprietary software will automate the workflow in the ICU and present a patient’s parameters on a dashboard, which a doctor can view anywhere on a tab or a smartphone.

According to Jayakanth, there are more than three lakh ICU beds in India and with the skewed doctor to patient ratio, digitising the ICU environment will help doctors address more ICU beds. “We want to address that space so that we can enable doctors to make clinical decisions if data is presented to them in a meaningful manner,” he says.

zBliss made its first commercial deployment with a leading hospital in Chennai in mid-2018 and right now works with about half-a-dozen hospitals. The company has gone past the pilot stage and is in the process of improving some of the features. It will focus on the ICU, look at doing the same thing with operation theatres, emergency response, the wards and then out-patient care. “We are working on taking it from ICU to the full clinical pathway,” says Jayakanth.

Data on the cloud

The company, he says, aims to take the product pan-India and then go to international markets in the next 2-3 years. The data from the patient monitor and that entered by nurses into a tablet-like device, kept at each beside, will be captured. The data is put on the cloud and doctors can view the data anywhere through their mobile app or any other device. The product is sold directly to the hospitals, which decide the doctors who can have access to the ICU data.

Jayakanth says that zBliss has also integrated its product with the laboratories in the hospitals to make it something like an electronic medical record or electronic health record.

zBliss has a subscription model and in hospitals that don’t want their data to reside on the cloud, the company puts it on the premises.

The next challenge for the company is to scale up the business, for which it will need to raise some funds first and then increase the team. It has 8-10 hospitals in the pipeline.

 

Published on June 24, 2019
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