India develops portable ECG12th July 2010
Researchers in India recently launched the world's largest portable electrocardiogram (ECG), called the MACi, weighing less than a kilo and running on batteries.
The designers have aimed to make a device that could be used by doctors in all of the hottest countries of the world, and as such the device works in hot and dusty conditions.
The device also dramatically reduces the cost of receiving an ECG, down from about US$50, to less than a British pound.
In India, the government is boosting its healthcare spending, and the boost is having an impact on medical device companies worldwide, drawing many multinational corporations to design new products.
The MACi was designed and manufactured by the Indian electronics industry, using locally-sourced components, by General Electric (GE), a US-based corporation.
Although the move has lots of involvement from big corporations, the products the companies are attempting to design need to be affordable to the Indian market.
As a result, the products may prove useful in countries all over the world that require cheap, portable medical technology.
Sujay Shetty, leader of the pharma practice at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in India, said that people in India wanted first-world technology at third-world prices.
He said that India could be a springboard for other countries with similar needs, such as Africa and Latin America.
According to PWC, foreign firms such as GE Healthcare, Siemens and Philips are all pursuing a strategy that would allow them to buy locally-made Indian electronics and make them into cheap medical devices.
Ashish Shah, general manager of GE Healthcare's global technology said that his corporation wanted to break the pattern of gearing Indian-made products toward the United States and Europe.
He said that such a strategy involved pushing the same products into the Indian market artificially, and that GE Healthcare wanted to change its way of thinking from dollars to rupees.
India is also an emerging destination for medical tourism, although the number of doctors per capita is very low.
The Indian government also recently launched a National Rural Health Mission, aiming to help the very poor.
The Indian government has also encouraged partnerships between public healthcare, NGOs, and private corporations in rural areas where people do not have access to medical technology.
The MACi will be an important invention in India, because heart disease is the leading cause of death there.
V. Raja, chief executive of GE Healthcare's south Asia region, said that an emerging market like India should not have to survive using what had been developed in markets such as the US.
He said this was because such devices were developed in markets where there was already a huge gap between people's ability to pay for healthcare and the cost of receiving it.
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Title: India develops portable ECG
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 15465
Date Added: 12th Jul 2010