LifeSigns Makes Health Care System Smooth Across The Country
In order to make health care system in hospitals smooth, a Chennai-based company named LifeSigns came up with an intelligent monitoring system with wearable biosensor technology for wireless in-hospital and outpatient monitoring.
The 2020 incepted start-up utilises biomedical engineering, data analytics, chip design, mobile, and cloud software to develop decision-making paradigms that result in improved health and economic results. The product is designed for usage in a variety of settings, including hospital monitoring, post-discharge care, cardiac monitoring, and pharmaceutical solutions.
Hari Subramanium, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, LifeSigns speaks with Opportunity India about his business and how he started it.
When did you start this business and how did the idea come up?
Hari Subramanium: The motivation for LifeSigns came from a life-altering event that I witnessed. A few years back, we went to a government hospital where we witnessed a victim of a snakebite being brought in. When the patient got to the hospital, screening and triage were done. The patient experienced a near-death experience. Information about a patient’s vital signs was entered and interpreted manually when a doctor is on the grounds once a day. The situation escalated and reported to the on-duty doctor only when vital signs are in the danger zone. This gave the on-duty doctor a short amount of time to do the necessary life-saving medical procedures.
This made us wonder if there was a smart monitoring system that could automatically put all the information together and make it available on a single screen at the same time. This would cut down on human errors and give us more time and money to save more lives. We worked around this idea for two years and produced what we now have as the LifeSigns iMS Biosensor.
What challenges did you face during this journey?
Hari Subramanium: When a product is made and introduced to the targeted market, its success depends on its usability and acceptability. The greatest difficulty for the LifeSigns team was during the COVID pandemic, when access to doctors and hospitals to test our iMS biosensor was restricted. This challenge still exists in the form of getting an introduction or approaching the hospital for a pilot project. We have trained personnel who are committed to advancing the medical industry and who assist us in understanding the successful implementation and operation of the iMS biosensor. The trials and clinical studies during the COVID era have made our iMS Biosensor robust and functioning exceptionally well. During the hard COVID times, especially government hospitals have been helpful, which has led to a higher number of collaborations.
Your business model/product is a "make in India" product. Howare you positioning this in the Indian market?
Hari Subramanium: The software and firmware for the LifeSigns iMS were made in India. The chip was made and patented by a well-known US company, and the product was put together in SouthKorea. The concept was introduced by a group of passionate people. Who combined the ideas of semiconductor and chip technology to make this product, which will help and improve healthcare systems of world.
What is the takeaway from this journey where you are touching and saving so many lives?
Hari Subramanium: There are several places where the Indian healthcare system falls short of acceptable standards, like the lack of hospitals, staff, clinicians, and facilities like ICU beds and oxygen. I feel that the medical personnel of our country are highly competent. Indian doctors, hospitals, and management can manage catastrophes very well, just as we witnessed during the first and second waves of COVID. We can only make a great healthcare support system for our country if we can leverage the competency of our healthcare workers. With technology getting better, we can use it to help most people. When we thinka bout all the medical discoveries made during the COVID era, we can see how many things have been made to help people.
Before the COVID era, giant brands like Philips and GE were accepted to be of the medical grade, and small brands were not given due importance. The perception has shifted significantly, and even new brands with larger innovations are welcome to test and launch medical products that represent a significant advancement.
If we compare the revenues generated, how much revenue was generated last year? And, how much are you expected to generate this year?
Hari Subramanium: Last year we had a turnover of about Rs 6 crore. This year we are expecting to do a minimum of five times more. If we take this up quarter by quarter, last quarter’s numbers were 4 crores and the upcoming one is targeted to be double. The last quarter involved multiple pilot projects with private and government hospitals. Pilot projects involve a lot of steps, like training staff and putting out software, which makes the conversion time longer.
Currently, LifeSigns operates on internally generated funds. Do you intend to raise any public funds?
Hari Subramanium: Money is the lifeblood of any business. Capital is required for the rewarding path from idea to revenue-generating firm. For LifeSigns, we chose bootstrapping as our initial investment strategy, but as the company grows, we recognize the need for some fundraising. As a result, we intend to enter the financial market in the coming quarter to generate funds.
What are the new developments happening at Life Signs?
Hari Subramanium: Our main goal is to move towards being the largest data provider for medical facilities. We envision creating a dashboard that can be installed anywhere, be it a clinic, primary healthcare centre, or even a top-notch hospital. We want the LifeSigns dashboard to be competent enough to incorporate data from all the medical equipment in one place. Establishing a platform where everything and all records can be connected for easy access to clinicians remains our end goal. If all the data was available in one place, accurate predictions and forecasting could be done on time, enabling us to save more lives.
What are the geographical areas that you are prioritising at the moment?
Hari Subramanium: We want to focus and invest our energy in areas with limited resources and infrastructure. There are currently major healthcare challenges in tier 2 and 3 cities. Our primary goal is to install our iMS Biosensors in non-metro cities and collaborate with hospitals to provide a better healthcare solution. We are also shifting our focus to tribal areas in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala, in collaboration with local NGOs. Radio signals, in conjunction with other more appropriate technologies, are being used to assist with network issues in these areas.
LifeSigns is also targeting backward districts in the north-east, where we intend to build infrastructure for free. Because of a lack of modern medical facilities, the mortality rate in these rural areas is extremely high. The successful implementation of our product will allow us to address this issue. The caretaker will have to put a patch on the patient which will give a doctor in Delhi, Kolkata, or any other place access to all of their vitals so they can give better medical advice.
How is LifeSigns helping in generating employment?
Hari Subramanium: LifeSigns is in its growth phase today, which puts us in a position to hire people with capabilities. We are aiming at providing opportunities to people from tier 2 and tier 3 cities because it is those who can perform that matters the most to us. Training has been extended to this sector, and they have been showing splendid performance.
Are we planning to enter the D2C segment?
Hari Subramanium: LifeSigns will continue to bring advanced technology at every step, but the idea of gadgets like watches is something that I am not aligned with. We believe that healthcare should not be a D2C segment because the data available about the vitals can lead a person to look up online for various outcomes of the fluctuations in the vitals.
Healthcare and diagnostically collected data should not be available to the public for use and interpretation as it can pose serious threats. Data should always be available to skilled personnel who can interpret it well and make informed decisions. We aim at creating smart devices for doctors to make diagnosis and patient handling easier for them.
Any message that you would like to convey to the new generation?
Hari Subramanium: Affection, love, and humanity make a big difference in today’s world. We can always make things better by showing compassion and empathy. What I've seen is that happiness and wealth are two separate states of being. Seek after the thing that ignites and sustains your passion in life. The majority of young people have settled into a routine that does nothing to excite them. To go ahead in the rat race is not the point of education; rather, it is to feed one’s curiosity and enthusiasm. There is no way around evolution. To prevent becoming a robot in a robot world, you have to keep evolving.
Lifesigns is a core Medical IoT Solutions Company. Patient Monitoring is the first challenge in the healthcare system that we are addressing. It has a plethora of other compelling and innovative technology offerings that combine semiconductors, hardware, software, analytics & ML/AI to address everything from Population Screening, Rapid Diagnostics and Remote Diagnostics. The future of healthcare is wireless and digital and Lifesigns aims to lead the industry in bringing forth technology solutions for improved outcomes across the board.