Parenthood is believed to be one of the biggest joys in the world, and every new parent wants nothing more than a healthy baby. Baby Rajesh’s parents too were ecstatic when he was born, but their joy was short-lived when they found that Rajesh weighed less than a kilogram at birth. Chances of survival with such low birth weight was close to impossible. Baby Rajesh’s parents were overjoyed when Dr.Jagadishwar saved their baby miraculously.


But it was not the end of the road for baby Rajesh.


Two years later, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, presumably due to multiple apnoeic episodes in the time he spent in the hospital fighting for survival. If only Dr.Jagdishwar had some way to tell him the distress baby Rajesh’s fragile body was undergoing, timely medical intervention could have been done. Now, baby Rajesh has to spend his life as a cerebral palsy patient.


This incident jolted Manoj Sanker and PratyushaPareddy, bio design fellows at the Centre for Healthcare Entrepreneurship at IIT Hyderabad, to think how they could provide a solution to doctors like Jagdishwar to monitor patients at critical junctures and ensure they receive timely help.


Sanker and Pareddy eventually started Nemocare Wellness in July 2017 to build monitoring tools that would eliminate the chances of neonatal and maternal deaths. They use unobtrusive wireless wearable sensors and networks, analytical algorithms and big data as tools to provide  continuous, high resolution monitoring and preventive care for every patient in hospital, and at home. The use of design thinking principles to build life-saving technologies will transform the way healthcare is delivered, believe the founders.


Globally, three million babies die in their first month of life every year, and 98% of these deaths occur in the developing world. In India, approximately 3.6 million premature babies are born every year and out of them, 40000 babies die. Premature babies are susceptible to a variety of life threatening conditions such as apnea, hypothermia and respiratory distress – causing either death or some form of morbidity.


Almost all of these deaths are preventable with timely treatment. However, hospitals in the developing world are severely challenged by limited resources.They cannot afford the expensive equipment, which are usually bulky and unsuitable for continuous monitoring. Moreover, they have a high rate of false alarms; forcing nurses to visually monitor the babies. In low resource settings, where one nurse cares for about 40 babies,she will not be able to give equal attention to every baby. Most distress conditions often go unnoticed, causing irreversible injury to the newborn and sometimes even lead to death.


If a child has to be monitored continuously, they have to be isolated and hooked to wires – which hinders breastfeeding and kangaroo mother care – which in turn hinders growth and recovery.


The NemocareRaksha  is an IoT enabled smart wearable on the baby’s foot which monitors vital parameters like spo2, heart rate, respiration rate, body temperature and body position that will provide a comprehensive picture of the baby’s health. The data is then transmitted to the cloud, which can be accessed at a central monitor by which the nurse or doctor can continuously and remotely monitor all the babies through a single interface


The entire system along with Nemocare’s proprietary deep learning algorithm works as an intelligent platform that will track the baby’s health in the most accurate way possible and give only insightful notifications and alerts to healthcare workers to enable timely intervention when a distress condition is detected.This platform collects, stores, visualizes and analyses the data generated, enabling a paradigm shift in clinical diagnostics and preventive care through a data-driven approach. Inherently, the data may be used in real time to provide early warning scores or other predictive indicators, and used offline to develop new predictive algorithms.


Currently, the company is doing closed pilots for evidence creation and regulatory clearances with two public hospitals and two private hospitals.Nemocare plans to monitor and save nearly 900,000 babies through their 21,000 deployed devices over the next five years.


With Digital Propulsion of Universal Healthcare as the theme of the upcoming Lifesciences & Healthcare Innovation Forum (LHIF), here’s your chance to witness the success of innovations such as Nemocare.


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