Applying cutting edge technologies like IoT, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to the practice of medicine in neonatal intensive care units across the world, iNICU thrives on the objective of making early diagnosis of critical diseases and improving overall quality of healthcare being provided to neonates.
To get a thorough insight on the same, Analytics India Magazine caught up with one of the founders of this Delhi based startup, Dr. Harpreet Singh, who has 15 years of experience in product development and handling clients across the globe. Along with the other founders Ravneet Kaur and Dr. Gautam Yadav, the team is working on creating a solution that captures data from diversified devices connected to the preterm infant and providing a well structured user interface to the medical staff to perform calculations for prescriptions, nutrition, neonatal scores etc.
The B2B product which is currently deployed at three hospitals stationed at rural and urban sites, performs smart analytics for doctors and hospital management from the infant data collected. The founders believe that prematurity is a known curse to the child’s health especially in developing nations like India and is one of the major causes of child’s death globally. They in fact initiated this product when their preterm twins were born in 28 weeks of gestation and they lost one of the twins to sepsis.
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On how unique is iNICU
“Comparative analysis of competitive software reveals that our solution is the most comprehensive, specifically designed to cater the needs of NICUs. Two unique features that define our product are vendor agnostic and longitudinal data capturing”, said Singh, who holds Masters in Biomedical from University of Wisconsin, PhD from CSIR-IGIB, and has worked with the likes of McKinsey, Philips, HCL and Intuit at engineering, research and management roles.
He also added that they offer an affordable solution with complete modules to ensure seamless NICU management, real-time data capturing and remote monitoring with prediction capabilities.
“Other solutions such as freely available Neonatal DB allows automated notes generation. NIS, NeoData, NNM, Crib Notes offer workflow management but are costly solutions. Philips solution- IICA and GE -centricity perinatal offer device integration but are proprietary in nature, lack clinical modules and are not affordable.
On using technologies like IoT, AI, and predictive analytics in neonatal intensive care units
iNICU NEO, an IoT device, which is stationed per bed is integrated with diversified devices such as patient monitor, ventilator, blood gas machines and pulseoximeter, which are connected to the infant. “iNICU NEO is responsible for fetching data from these devices and send real time acquired data to hospital server. Neo offers a complete patient physiological monitoring solution that is flexible and modular, designed to suit a broad spectrum of NICU needs”, said Ravneet Kaur, who holds Masters in Computers from GuruNanak Dev University. She has demonstrated experience as an entrepreneur and as a co-founding member of Oxyent Group.
iNICU acts as first Big Data hub (of both structured and unstructured data) of neonates across India offering temporal (longitudinal) data of their stay in NICU and allows clinicians in evaluating efficacy of their interventions. It leverages clinical rule based engine and deep learning based big data analytical models. “iNICU solution improves care time, fills skill gap, enables remote monitoring of neonates in rural regions, assists in identifying the early onset of disease, and reduction in neonatal mortality”, she added.
On iCHRCloud and how it helps in improving the overall quality of healthcare provided to neonates
India is losing close to 1.5 million children annually after discharging them from the hospitals, especially up to the age of 5 years. Lack of vaccinations or delay in vaccinations are the major reasons behind this mortality and iCHR (Integrated Child Health Record) is a solution available to doctors over web and to parents through an app on mobile, that aims at improving doctor-parent engagement.
“iCHR carries forward the discharge summary of the neonate through iNICU, maintains the schedule of vaccinations, prescription information of the child during every visit to the pediatrician”, noted Singh. This information acts as notification to the parents for their child’s upcoming vaccination schedule. It provides the growth charts which are auto generated and updated automatically with the captured weight, length and head circumference parameters.
“iNICU and iCHR together has the capability of storing longitudinal data of the child beginning from birth till the age of 12 years. iNICU with it’s capabilities of providing a single platform for real-time device data, clinical bedside data & lab data and auto-generation of the progress notes and discharge summary enforces the medical staff to focus more on care than on paper”, explains Singh.
iCHR with its capabilities of maintaining the discharge summary and prescription history assists the pediatricians in making informed decisions. iCHR ensures that timely vaccinations are provided to children by generating notifications to the parents thereby majorly contributing in reducing the high mortality rates among children.
On the growth story
“We have raised half a million dollars through our seed round and have built everything in cooperation with real customers. iNICU is currently deployed at three hospitals stationed at rural and urban sites”, Singh is quick to add.
He further explained that data of three months i.e. July, August and September, was collected from these sites and descriptive analysis was executed on curated data for 450 newborns for their admission counts, weight distribution, gestation distributions, survival rate, antibiotic usage rate, ventilator days, VAP and CLABSI. “The conclusions were presented in VON (Vermont Oxford Network, Chicago,US) Annual Quality Congress in Chicago, USA”, he said.
“iNICU roadmap has been defined over the span of three timelines: the next four months wherein 1000 beds will be enrolled in iNICU , the next eight months 1500 additional beds will be added and by the end of 2019, 5000 more beds will be added”, says Ravneet Kaur, who believes that AI based startup movement is shaping up in India and says that AI is a key enabler in case of iNICU whose main mission is to save child life.
“AI ecosystem needs generation of Big Data and data needs sensors to generate new dimensions of seeing an existing problem. You need a mature electronics ecosystem to support generation of data. In India we see startups relying on software capabilities and data analytics to build AI solution. This paradigm is changing and will evolve fast in coming years with more acquisition and channel partnerships”, she said.
On challenges in the space
“Since we had the experience of delivering two successful products in India and US, we knew the recipe of creating a product, hiring an appropriate team and bringing in the right mentor on our board for domain expertise. We evolved with every phase of our product development by interacting with the customers regarding the acceptance of the product. These frequent interactions really helped us in refining our product thereby generating a solution, which was nationally accepted”, said Singh.
He added that being startup in healthcare space, their biggest challenge has been the adoption of technology by the medical staff. To overcome this challenge, they have developed exhaustive and robust training collaterals, organized training sessions with hospital makers and medical staff were furnished with the benefits of deploying iNICU solution in NICU premises. “The capabilities of iNICU has been built around to improve the quality of care being provided to infants and predicting the onset of infections for timely intervention to generate positive outcomes”, he said.
“We have been fortunate enough till now with everything falling in place at the right time. The globally relevant problem, right team and expert domain specialists, accelerators and visionary investors have generated a solution with a long term vision and the success metrics of this product is the number of lives saved”, he said while signing off.