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The startup connecting heart exams to the cloud in India

New accelerator, five.eight, poised to give up to 5 million USD to the next big thing in global health 

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A few years ago in India, a 40-year-old man awoke with pains in his chest. It didn’t just hurt – there was pressure, a feeling of tightness. His whole upper body was in pain. His left shoulder was sore and even his jaw was aching. He was sweating and felt as if he might he faint.

The doctor he went to see agreed it was important to monitor his situation, but didn’t have an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine to examine his heart. Instead, the man was given antacid medication and sent home.

Four hours later, he was rushed to the hospital with a heart attack.

“Heart attack patients need to be diagnosed in the first hour, which is called “the golden hour,” for the optimal chance of survival,” said Dr Charit Bhograj, MD, DM, Co-founder and CEO of startup Tricog Health. “We noticed people were coming to hospitals way too late and that doctors didn’t have the technology available to diagnose them sooner.”

In India, where 3 million people die every year from heart disease, Tricog Health believes it can help save 1.5 million lives. How? Data. The Bangalore-based business uses cloud-connectivity to improving survival rates of heart attacks in India by decreasing the average time between symptoms and treatment.

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When a patient has an ECG wired with cloud-connectivity, for example, the information from that exam is sent to a Tricog Health clinician who interprets the data. If the patient needs immediate care, he or she is taken to a hospital where doctors and nurses are given the information about the patient instantly, before the patient even arrives.

Tricog Health has seen thousands of patients at their 400 centers throughout India and have diagnosed more than 7,500 heart attacks just in the last year. Dr. Charit hopes Tricog Health can provide cloud-connected ECGs to more doctors to help more patients in other markets.

The startup will get a boost towards this goal starting this month, as it joins other emerging market entrepreneurs to gain access to GE Healthcare’s newly announced accelerator program: five.eight

five.eight is GE Healthcare’s first healthcare accelerator aimed at improving healthcare outcomes for the world’s developing economies. The accelerator will target global health startups with a vision to improve healthcare quality and accessibility in developing or low-resource settings – from education and training to disruptive, low-cost technologies and digital applications.  Tricog is one of these startups.

“We’re thrilled to be the first company to be part of five.eight. The program gives us a platform to propel us toward global markets further and faster than anything we could have imagined ourselves. It’s like having the entire might and scale of the GE ecosystem by our side, committed to our success and to make real impact on the ground. The strategic and competitive advantage that comes from being part of the accelerator is another huge plus for any startup trying to find its market feet,” Dr. Charit said.

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Portfolio companies from four social impact investors: Acumen, Aavishkaar-Intellecap Group, Unitus Seed Fund and Villgro, will be among the initial applicants for the first accelerator program. Through the program, GE Healthcare and each startup will focus on commercially scaling healthcare innovations for emerging economies, with the potential for GE Healthcare distribution of the startup product, or integration of the service into GE Healthcare’s Affordable Care Portfolio. In addition, potential funding of up to 5 million USD per startup will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as the collaboration between GE Healthcare and each startup evolves.

five.eight aims to welcome at least 10 startups in its initial program, with applicants sourced from the four social impact investors, but not limited to these portfolio companies. The Accelerator is also open to partnerships with global health startups directly, or other players within the global health ecosystem, including academia, NGOs or other healthcare providers. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact five.eight; applicants will be evaluated and accepted on a rolling basis. The accelerator is open to all global health startups, regardless of location.

The particular man lived who woke up in the morning with chest pains was lucky to live.

Dr. Charit hopes his once small idea has the potentially to impact millions of lives in a big way, so no others even need to experience what this man did.

“To scale our idea, we need wisdom from people who have done this before. There is no company in the world with the wisdom and scale of GE Healthcare,” Dr. Charit said. “With the help of GE Healthcare, we can reach and touch far more lives than we could ever do alone.”