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Innovation Of True Grit For Affordable Healthcare


Rajwinder lost her husband to a heart attack. She was with her husband, travelling in Baswada in Rajasthan, when he experienced a cardiac arrest. Due to lack of hospitals with the required infrastructure, he did not receive treatment on time and lost his life. A deep personal loss was experienced due to the problem of inaccessible or poor healthcare. It led an innovator to think about how this problem can be solved?

As per WHO, cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause for deaths, globally. It takes more lives than the ones lost in cross-border firing, terrorist attacks, road accidents or natural calamities. In India alone, there are 32 million cardiovascular patients. This is more than the population of Australia and New Zealand put together. What is worse? 8 out of 10 of these patients die due to inaccessible and unaffordable healthcare. So the question that arises is, what makes the treatment of cardiovascular diseases unaffordable?

While there are many costs involved in treatment, one of the biggest costs is that of catheters. It is inserted in the patient during angiography and angioplasty. Each Catheter costs anywhere between Rs. 2500 to Rs. 1,00,000. That forms 10-55% of the total treatment cost, depending on case to case.

A catheter is a thin tube made from medical grade materials serving a broad range of functions. Catheters are medical devices that can be inserted in the body to treat diseases or perform a surgical procedure.

Vikram Goel, Founder & Director of Incredible Devices and winner of Marico Innovation Foundation Awards 2018, which encourages innovation in India says, “Globally catheters have been cleaned manually and re-used in patients. International health agency guidelines allow for it. In fact even one of our RTI enquiries revealed that there is no ban on re-use of catheter. So the problem was not re-use, but that it was manually cleaned. This made it unsafe due to human errors, and expensive due to high labour & chemical costs.”

The team at Incredible Devices invented the world’s only automated catheter cleaning machine, called the Catheter Reprocessing System. A computer guided catheter cleaning machine has:

  • Inbuilt self-testing and calibration that ensures 100% accuracy.
  • It eliminates all kind of human error and ensures 100% patient safety.

Manoj, an auto rickshaw driver, needed immediate surgery for his liver and the catheter to conduct that surgery would have cost Rs 32,000, which he could not afford to pay for it. The team used a catheter from a government hospital, cleaned it using CRS and Manoj is now fit and fine.

The cost of the Catheters has come down by 99%. A catheter that would cost 7,500 now cost only Rs 20. Taking the solution a step forward, the same is being applied to catheters used for liver & kidney patients as well.

“With 1 lakh such stories already, we have only just begun. From the 18,000 hospitals in India, we plan to cover 80 hospitals by 2020, which will in turn lead to impacting the lives of 36 lakhs patients. We plan to scale our innovation across India, making healthcare safe, affordable and accessible to all. With a strong product,sound business model and encouragement from innovation focussed platforms such as Marico Innovation Foundation, we will take a step further in achieving our goal,” adds Vikram as he signs off.

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The CSR Journal Team