As an intern posted in the intensive care unit of the Government Medical College at Nagpur in 2008, Mayur Sadawana encountered patients with Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), an acute metabolic complication of diabetes, who had to be pricked several times a day.
It was then that Sadawana decided to use technology to bring down the number of jabs to one to reduce the agony of patients suffering from the disease.
The 28-year-old doctor pursuing his PhD at the NanoBios Lab, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, along with Professor Rohit Srivastava then developed SmartSense that will transform blood-testing procedures both in terms of accuracy and cost effectiveness.
“Most DKA patients admitted in the ICU would either be in coma or in a bad state. I would feel bad about the constant pricks given to the patients to conduct a battery of tests. As the test results would be out in three hours, they wouldn’t match with the actual condition,” said Sadawana.
In May, SmartSense bagged the third prize at the Healthcare Innovation World Cup, the international diabetes innovation challenge funded by the Boehringer Ingelheim and organised by Healthcare Innovation Technology Lab (HITLAB), New York.
Currently, the cost for DKA tests is between Rs1,000-1,500 for a day, which includes a series of blood tests to monitor electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, acid-base balance of the blood, oxygen concentration of the arterial blood or glucose levels and results of which are out in three hours.
With one prick, the new technology conducts all the tests at Rs300 for a day and the results are obtained within 20 seconds. “While the device can test glucose, urea and pH levels, it will be also able to sense albumin, electrolytes and oxygen content in the blood. It can also record the patient’s data on a hospital server and store it in a memory card,” said Sadawana, adding that it will take about seven months to finish work on the device.
“DKA requires a stringent management protocol and swift decision-making. The unavailability of a unified system that can sense all parameters quickly resulted in SmartSense,” said professor Srivastava.