How Dozee’s Contactless Patient Monitoring System Is Helping Build ICU Beds During This COVID-19 Crisis
When Mudit Dandwate, CEO and co-founder of Dozee, began his journey towards building a medical-grade contactless patient monitoring system, he didn’t know it would prove to be so vital, so soon. Dozee enables hospitals to continuously monitor their patient vitals remotely. According to the company it can convert each bed into a step-down ICU that can keep track of their heart rate, respiration rate, oxygen saturation, sleep stages, stress-recovery and more. Dozee says it is working with 25+ hospitals to help them power through the acute shortage of ICU beds as the cases continue to rise.
Dozee can also be used by individuals to remotely track their family members’ health. The product, priced at Rs. 11,999, can be set up with the sensor mat going under the bed for tracking of vitals. This data can be accessed through the company’s app and shared with doctors and caretakers.
Apart from hospitals, Dozee is being used by 4500+ users at home to monitor theirs as well as their loved ones’ health continuously. The company claims that its AI powered early prediction algorithms have saved lives in 70+ cases, predicting early cases of heart failure, tuberculosis, pneumonia etc. The company also claims to be powering 1,900+ COVID-19 beds in hospitals in the form of makeshift ICUs using their technology.
Expert opinion: Chief analyst at TechArc, Faisal Kawoosa says, “We can’t exponentially grow our healthcare facilities. That needs mammoth investments. With health tech companies, they can act as an efficiency layer helping to leverage more from existing infrastructure. This is very vital especially with the scenario changing after COVID-19. Today we need lot many ICU beds, oxygen beds, etc. Tomorrow, we might need to repurpose them for something else.”
We spoke to CEO and Co-Founder of Dozee, Mudit Dandwate to know a bit more about the company’s journey, its unique product offering, how it sailed through the pandemic and its future plans.
1. What were you doing before Dozee?
Prior to starting Dozee, I worked as Vehicle Dynamics Expert at Altair Technologies, a global technology company. A mechanical engineer by education, I graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. I was always fascinated by race cars and adventure sports. As a Chief Vehicle Dynamics Officer at IIT-Mumbai, I have designed, built and raced four full scale race cars, including India’s first electric race cars.
At Altair Engineering, I developed and marketed an AI powered autonomous race car driver that, once hooked to car software, drove the car autonomously using sensors. This software was later sold to automobile majors like Porche, Chrysler, and Honda. I have also designed an MCC approved cricket bat with 3D edges that reduces the vertical velocity of a cricket ball after hitting an edge, leaving 30 percent less time for wicket keeper or slip cordon to react – the cricket bat was licensed by Slazenger and is still in use.
I have also developed my own Thought Controlled Bionic Arm on June 26, 2017 after losing my arm to a crocodile attack in an attempt to save my dog, which accidentally jumped into a lake in Bengaluru. The arm is fully functional and I am regularly using it in all chores for the last three years.
2. How did you come up with the idea of Dozee? How did you and your co-founder meet?
Healthcare, which is a basic necessity in its existing state, was very complex. We saw an opportunity of making it simple, to make healthcare more accessible. Currently in India, only 1 lakh beds are being continuously monitored and there are about 19 lakh beds which are dependent on human intervention. We hope to bridge this gap in the coming years. I met my co-founder Gaurav when I was working at Altair Technologies.
The potential for at-home remote monitoring devices in India is huge. According to the most recent data, 500 million Indians are at risk of stroke, hypertension, age-related conditions, cardiovascular diseases and COPD, which can be managed through continuous monitoring. There is also a portion of the population that is not immediately at-risk but is proactive in taking measures to ensure they do not suffer from health problems in the future, they also become our customers and adopt the device early. The pandemic has also taught us to be more observant of our vitals and take necessary precautions. People now have become more aware and serious about taking care of their health. Our product has been productized after five years of deep research conducted in partnership with leading hospitals, notably NIMHANS and Sri Jayadeva Institute.
3. When did Dozee become a reality? What pushed you guys to finally begin your journey towards building this startup
I have been working in the automobile industry, having successfully worked with top companies such as Chrysler, Daimler in developing their driverless AI modules. I had similarly developed India’s first electric race car at my alma-mater IIT Bombay and had the thrill of racing it in Silverstone Circuit, UK. I was returning back from Germany, after having successfully delivered the driverless module to top global automobile manufacturers. This was a day before my 24th birthday. I thought about the impact I have created in my lifetime and I realised while I have achieved good success in personal life, there is a lot to be done for the society. This was with the backdrop of me always being worried about the well-being of my parents. So I, along with my colleague Gaurav Parchani, zeroed down on healthcare as the sector to work on. And hence, Dozee was born.
With Dozee, we want to make healthcare accessible and extremely easy, by converting any bed into a full-fledged health monitoring unit in less than 2 minutes. This proactively monitors your health and gives you AI based alerts to prevent any adverse health events.
4. Could you elaborate what Dozee is and how it helps during these unprecedented times?
Dozee is India’s first contactless remote health monitoring startup. Exclusively designed and manufactured in India, Dozee tracks key vitals of the human body such as heart rate, respiration rate, oxygen saturation, sleep stages, stress-recovery and more. The contactless sensor, placed under the mattress, captures real-time body vitals without using any external wires or touching the user’s body. The sensor captures micro-vibrations produced by the body every time the heart pumps blood, during inhalation, exhalation, muscle twitches, tremors and body movements. An AI-powered, Early Warning System then converts these signals into biomarkers and uses the data to present an analysis of the patient’s health through a smartphone app, for retail users.
Dozee works on a technology called Ballistocardiography (BCG), a non-invasive method that tracks vibrations from every heartbeat, respiration and smallest of body movements. Dozee has built a proprietary Advanced Health Intelligence System that extracts biomarkers and vital parameters from the noisy vibration data captured by the sensors. The AI system helps in identifying health deterioration through abnormalities across all vital parameters Dozee measures. In many cases, the AI system has successfully predicted early health deterioration in conditions ranging from fever to heart failure, even before the patient could see the symptoms.
Remote healthcare monitoring is a safe and efficient system to measure a person’s vitals without any physical contact. The process is seamless, continuous and extremely accurate.
5. How have hospitals in India benefitted from Dozee?
Our device in its current state has been developed after four years of rigorous research by collaborating with the top doctors and hospitals in India. During onboarding, our team installs the devices on the hospital beds and connects them to the system. They also train the doctors and nurses so that they are equipped to use the product. After this, it is easy for the staff to start monitoring the readings.
A nurse spends about 30-45 minutes per patient a day monitoring their vitals. Each reading is done using a different device and records are manually maintained for the doctors. These vitals are shared with doctors remotely, usually after clicking photos or shown whenever doctors visit the ward. The vitals collection process has not changed in decades, and nurses are often overburdened due to this task. This entire process can be automated using continuous vitals monitoring as one device can measure and record the patient’s readings throughout their hospital stay and is readily available for the doctors to monitor remotely. Since the process is continuous, it is more credible as spot checking can sometimes be inaccurate. The nursing staff can also be safer as their physical interactions with patients are limited.
6. Did you experience any turbulence during the making of this startup?
For us, the journey so far has been both exciting and challenging. Assembling an A-team, winning the trust of clinicians and creating a seamless product that goes beyond boundaries, have been few of the challenges that we have faced.
In the healthcare space, it is important to be a brand which doctors can trust and recommend to patients. Being accurate is a precondition to gaining trust as a healthcare brand. In an AI-powered model, accuracy can be achieved only through rigorous collection of data which remains a challenge in the Indian set up where there is difficulty in capturing tagged medical data in a timely manner. The other challenge is ensuring the device is always up and running and bug-free. Dozee also faces two major risks for the adoption – counterfeit products and market adoption. We have extensive IP protection to mitigate this risk in which we have already filed one patent and three more are in the works. Also, we are running a large R&D budget in collaboration with premier institutes like Jayadeva institute of cardiology, Narayana Health, NIMHANS in the industry to remove the market barrier.
7. When did you get your first funding? Please offer details on who your investors are
Dozee raised Rs. 12.5 crore in September last year from Prime Venture Partners, YourNest Venture Capital and 3one4 Capital.
8. Could you share some of the big milestones you’ve crossed since inception?
We take pride in the fact that Dozee is exclusively designed and manufactured in India. For consumers, it is very simple to use and provides high fidelity data at the same time. Most of the Dozee user base is above 80 years of age and the device is built specifically for the low resource and home settings which requires no technical expertise to set-up. The product provides effective remote monitoring service that enables high-skill medical staff to take decisions remotely.
Our solution helps healthcare service providers monitor patient’s vitals remotely and continuously. Earlier, this entire process was dependent on nurses as they are responsible for checking patients’ vitals throughout the day. With COVID, it has become essential to digitize this process to safeguard the nurses and doctors at the hospitals. Our product aims to eliminate this process and automate it so that when a patient is admitted to the hospital, their vitals can be monitored throughout the day, and this is supported by our AI based early detection system that can warn the doctor if there is any risk to the patient.
9. What has the past year been like? With hospitals at maximum capacity and medical staff at high-risk exposure, Dozee must’ve been a saviour
The hospitals are overwhelmed with rising cases and hospital admissions coupled with shortage of staff and beds. During the second wave, although there’s availability of protection equipment such as PPE kits etc, unavailability of beds to monitor critical patients is posing a serious threat. With the dearth of ICUs plaguing most states of the country, Dozee is helping turn beds into stepped-down and makeshift ICU beds thereby helping several state governments. Using Dozee, hospitals and doctors have been able to automate the entire vitals monitoring process using our contactless and remote monitoring model.
Dozee has also set up a Patient Monitoring Cell within hospitals to ensure 24*7 on-ground support and alert escalation. The Patient Monitoring Cell enabled by Dozee helps keep track of all the patients and alerts the doctors and nurses on any escalation. The hospitals are overwhelmed by rising cases and hospital admissions coupled with shortage of staff and beds. Dozee has stationed a dedicated resource at these centres to help the doctors with prioritising alerts and monitor critical patients. This is helping doctors with the required data on each patient’s vitals at the right time and enabling them to take any action required.
Dozee is also improving healthcare professional’s lives significantly. It enables nurses and healthcare professionals to optimize their work as they no longer spend time checking vitals in every ward. The doctors are also relying on the early warning system to ensure that critical cases are monitored and flagged off faster than earlier. Our device has also replaced most of the vitals collection devices that need to be carried around the wards. COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory tract. Dozee is able to detect an increase in breathing and tachycardia among many COVID patients. The device is also closely tracking reduced heart rate variability, increased sleep apnea and breathlessness.
Early identification of warning signs in 30-40 percent of the COVID-19 patients at our hospital who were treated promptly in HDU without needing to shift them to ICU. Dozee’s AI helped us identify these patients in time and save their lives.
About 10-15 percent of COVID-19 patients had moved to the critical stage and we had to move them to ICU for further treatment. The patients who were treated in ICUs were also detected quite early and it was possible to move them to HDU faster than expected.
The doctors and nurses have become more productive as they don’t have to manually monitor the vitals in each ward every day.
10. Could you help give a sense of how far Dozee has come? From when it began to where it is now
With the dearth of ICUs plaguing most states of the country, Dozee helped turn beds into stepped-down and makeshift ICU beds during COVID thereby helping several state governments. Dozee is being used by 4500+ users at home to monitor their as well as their loved ones’ health continuously. Our AI-powered early prediction algorithms have saved lives in 70+ cases, predicting early cases of heart failure, tuberculosis, pneumonia etc. We are also working with 25+ hospitals and powering 1900+ COVID-19 beds into step-down ICUs with our technology. We have so far monitored 7000+ COVID-19 patients in hospitals, leading to 30+ patients getting timely transferred to ICUs. Due to the rise in demand, the company surpassed the last financial year’s sales in just one quarter this year.
We have seen the most amount of sales in Bangalore and Nagpur. Government hospitals in Bangalore like Victoria Hospital and ESIC Hospital deployed 100 Dozee devices to equip the hospitals with remote monitoring capabilities. Similarly, Kingsway Hospital, Government Medical College (GMC) and Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMC) in Nagpur also deployed 300 devices to monitor patients continuously and without the need for any physical contact from medical practitioners.
Because of all these efforts, Dozee has won numerous accolades, including Indo-Sweden Innovation Challenge, Nasscom Emerge 50, Anjani Mashelkar Impact Award, ET Innovation Award and more.
11. Is there any particular incident that is monumental in Dozee’s journey? Please share that incident with our readers.
Cardiac death is largely preventable if patients with a heart condition/ attack get treatment in time. Early detection, diagnosis and management of these cases can help in bringing down the burden of heart attacks. Continued and consistent monitoring of vitals leads to early detection of future conditions. Dozee placed under the mattress continuously collects data while the patient is in bed and the system alerts healthcare professionals if rates change, indicating patient deterioration. Patients with remote monitoring devices have a probability of survival that is nearly two and a half times greater than those without it.
Timely detection with Dozee has proven life-saving in 70+ cases. This includes an elderly woman living alone in Bengaluru. Her grandson, who had put Dozee under her mattress, got an alert of a falling heartbeat. On consultation with the doctor, it was found that she needed a cardiac pacemaker to set things right. Further delay would have proven catastrophic.
Dozee has similar success stories in hospital settings, where patients have been shifted to ICU timely due to alerts raised.
12. Any advice for young Indian entrepreneurs out there? What is your management mantra?
Entrepreneurship is a fancy path but not at all an easy one. In my opinion two of the most important traits of an entrepreneur are:
- Perseverance and ability to stay motivated in tough times – when no one else believes. Having a strong motivation and reason helps.
- Ability to stay grounded in good times. Having a strong reason beyond fame and money helps.
13. How many employees does Dozee have? Are you hiring?
We have 90+ employees working full-time currently. And, yes, we are actively hiring in all departments.
14. Where do you see Dozee in the next five years?
We plan to continue working on our AI so that it becomes even more efficient in decoding the health data and identifying illnesses and diseases faster. We also plan to extend our suite of services in the future to provide consumers with a holistic platform for all their healthcare needs. We are especially expanding the scope of our data science to ensure Dozee can accurately predict specific disorders, especially in neurology, pulmonology and cardiology space.
On the hospital front, we are seeing good traction this year and we have partnered with over 30 hospitals already. We are planning to scale across the country and have our devices at many more wards. Currently in India, only 1 lakh beds are being continuously monitored and there are about 19 lakh beds which are dependent on human intervention. We hope to bridge this gap in the coming years.
We are also targeting Tier II cities as the doctor to patient ratio is extremely skewered here and having our device in such regions will ensure that hospitals run efficiently by automating the vitals monitoring process. We have tied up with Indira Gandhi Government Medical College & Hospital and Government Medical College in Nagpur recently where 250 of our devices have been deployed. We hope to partner with more institutions in smaller cities.