Technology solutions for the developing world

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An ECG machine that costs a mere Rs 25,000 and a cardiac ultrasound system that costs half the price of an imported product are some of the devices that have come out of GE’s John F Welch Technology Centre (JKWTC) in Bangalore.
“By 2015, our healthymagination (an idea generating platform) goal is to significantly reduce cost and increase access to health services, touching at least 100 million lives in a new way every year, and also improve the quality of care for patients,” said Mr Sanjay M. Correa, Vice-President and Managing Director, GE India Technology Centre.
He told Business Line that the GE Centre was working on several such low-cost machines to reduce healthcare costs in the emerging economies, including in Africa.
The centre in Bangalore, the first to be located outside the US, is utilising Indian talent to the fullest for its ‘high technology risk, high pay-off’ strategy, Mr Correa said.
The new MAC I ECG reader, Mr Correa said, enables the early detection of cardiac conditions through its simple, one-touch operation.
The device, which costs only Rs 25,000, has the potential to reduce the cost of an ECG to Rs 9.
According to Mr Minesh Makhija, Chief Technology Officer-India, GE Healthcare, “The portable device runs on battery for a month on a single charge. It can also be operated at primary health clinics. The device makes it possible to take cardiac detection to places it has never been before: the smallest villages of India.”
A dedicated cardiac ultrasound system, which costs just 50 per cent of the price of comparable imported products and offers vivid p3 features automatic tissue and spectrum optimisation, helps to increase throughput at busy tier-II hospitals and is ideal for consulting cardiologists.
“Coupled with a pocket-sized ultrasound-based visualisation device (VScan), it can enable a quick look to follow up diagnosis in local cardiac care clinics and help capital-constrained tier-II cardiologists arrive at treatment decisions for their patients locally,” said Mr Makhija.

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