What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Aniruddha & I have been friends since our school days. We went to college together & also worked together at Ford Motor Company. Both Ashish and I have been followers of Manushakti Research Center, Lonavala, for a long time. They always recommend doing one hour of good deeds every day, and we used to wonder why can’t we do it all day! While pursuing an MBA program at University of Michigan, in 2004, we got to know many inspiring stories such as Aravind Eye Care which had a humanitarian impact. Initially we had worked on developing a human power generator which could be used to generate electricity in remote areas, as Solar Technology was expensive & wind power is geo-specific.

We successfully powered a couple of hundred households but we failed to further scale the technology as solar technology became drastically cheap and readily available. New Solar powered lamps were affordable and user friendly. Instead of scraping off our work entirely we were pushed to explore the application of this technology in a medical device such as a defibrillator which seemed feasible. This laid the foundations for the formation of Jeevtronics in 2013. 

Tell us more about the technology.

A defibrillator is a life-saving device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart of a cardiac arrest victim. Our product, SanMitra 1000 HCT, is the world’s first dual powered defibrillator with a manual hand crank. The electrically powered defibrillator has an built-in generator that can be charged manually within 10 seconds to 2000 volts to deliver a shock. The battery in all currently available models worldwide needs changing at least once a year, at a huge recurring cost of Rs. 35, 000 a year. Thus, our battery-less defibrillator is a more sturdy, long lasting, and affordable option, even compared to refurbished defibrillators. SanMitra is 70% cheaper than currently available defibrillators that cost upwards of 3-4 lakhs! 

SanMitra stands at par with global standards. It has received ISO13485 certification from NABCB India as well as IAS US, also EN ISO13485 certification from SNAS Europe. IEC60601-2-4 demands that any defibrillator that meets the standard should fire 2500 shocks in its lifetime, but SanMitra can fire over 16000 shocks, and still not fail! 

How are you doing today, in terms of the impact of your work?

In the USA, 20-30% failure-to-shock events happen because of battery failure, leading to patient death. In India, additional factors such as affordability and power cuts limit the availability and utility of such devices in hospitals across urban, semi-urban, & rural areas.

India is a place where the death rate due to cardiac arrest is 3-4 times higher compared to developed countries, but, ironically, the number of defibrillators available to hospitals is abysmally low. In the UK, there is one defibrillator for every 3 ICU beds. In India, in the best case scenarios, there is 1 defibrillator per 100 beds or even per hospital in some cases. 

The demand for defibrillators was further highlighted during the COVID19 crisis.The COVID-19 pandemic stressed our healthcare system to a great extent. Globally, sudden cardiac arrests were among the most common reasons for the death of critical COVID-19 patients. The situation, even in tier-1 cities, was dire to say the least. Having a function defibrillator on demand became critical in those circumstances.

290+ devices have been deployed across India from Kashmir to Tamil Nadu to North East to Gujarat in India and 2 in Africa. We have commissioned 62 units of SanMitra 1000 HCT at COVID centers in Maharashtra &  Chhattisgarh. Owing to the lowest cost of ownership, majority of these hospitals, which are small 5 to 50 bed hospitals, have purchased a defibrillator for the 1st time!  ~80% of these are deployed in tier 2-3-4 towns like Manchar, Narayangaon, Ale phata of Pune district, Maharashtra. ~10% are deployed in government primary health centers (PHCs) in tribal districts of Gadchiroli, Nandurbar in Maharashtra and Kondagaon/Dantewada in Chhattisgarh. We are also really pleased to share that a large number of these hospitals replaced a refurbished unreliable defibrillator with the SanMitra. 

We have also recently developed India’s first ambulance worthy device that is capable of withstanding on-road vibrations and tougher operating conditions, at 1/4th the cost of international branded defibrillators!

How was Jeevtronics’ journey funded?

Grant in aid
1. BIRAC Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG)
2. BIRAC MEITY IIPME
3. IUSSTF
4. PATH Social Alpha
5. US-AID Samridh

Loans
1. DST CAWACH
2. Bank of Maharashtra
3. IKP ICO Fund

What do you think were the key reasons for the success of Jeevtronics?

SanMitra has the highest reliability because of a built-in generator. This device saves usage of 10 batteries in 10 years, and it has 100X more life compared to many defibrillators. This makes it possible for SanMitra to have the lowest total cost of ownership. Last but not least, we have a team that is motivated to save lives, and we celebrate lives we save as opposed to the gross sales of the product. 

 

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