BANGALORE, India -- A startup launched by a former senior executive at Texas Instruments India that focuses on telemedicine software and services has partnered with an Indian hospital chain to provide an ultrasound platform designed to help reduce birth defects.
The platform will seek to use the Apple iPad and iPhone as screening platforms for detecting fetal abnormalities.
The platform developed by i2i Telesolutions would link sonographers around the world, helping experts monitor pregnancies as well as reviewing and reporting on fetal health via the Internet or a wireless mobile network. The startup has used the iPhone as a telemedicine tool for vision screening. It now wants to use the iPad to promote fetal health.
Up to 70 percent of birth defects can either be prevented or detected and treated to reduce the affects of childhood disabilities, according to Dr. S. Suresh, director of MediScan Systems (Chennai, India). “Every year an estimated 7.9 million children [6 percent of total births worldwide] are born with a serious birth defect of genetic or partially genetic origin. With nearly 30 million births in India, an estimated 1.5 to 2 million children are born with serious birth defects each year. Serious birth defects can be lethal. Even when they are not lethal, a significant number of these disorders can cause lifelong disability,” Suresh said.
Timely monitoring and structured screening of pregnant mothers during the 11th to 13th week of pregnancy is “critical for preventive and corrective measures to be taken early in the pregnancy cycle,” he added. “Unfortunately, the numbers for fetal medicine specialists trained for handling possible abnormalities is too low in a country like India for the vast number of live births every year.”
The ability to securely transmit ultrasound images and data to global experts on platforms like the iPhone or iPad “could fundamentally change the way healthcare can be accessed from remote locations,” said Arindam Sen, senior vice president, i2i TeleSolutions, based here.
As with the earlier effort to use the iPhone as a platform for vision screening, the iPhone and iPad and their graphics capabilities will be leveraged by i2i to create a standard platform to screen for birth defects.
-K.C. Krishnadas is site editor of TechOnline India