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Coming soon -- low cost healthcare equipment for the common man

healthcarePune: Soon, the expensive healthcare devices which are out of common man's reach will be available at low costs as the city's premier institute, College of Engineering Pune (CoEP) is partnering with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT) on research and development (R&D) project. The cost of the project is estimated at Rs39.39 crore to develop low-cost health care equipment, which will have innovative features.
An estimated amount of $40 billion is spent on healthcare every year. Over 50 per cent is spent in hospitals and 30 per cent on pharmaceuticals. (Read: Will mobile health or mHealth revolutionise healthcare?)

'Medical devices represent nearly 20 per cent of the total healthcare spending, growing at over 15 per cent annually,' said BB Ahuja, professor of Production Engineering and deputy director of CoEP. He added that majority of the devices are imported and are costly. It thus becomes difficult for patients who are from the economically weaker section of society to afford them.
'Healthcare could be improved with modern technological inputs. Medical devices including variety of implants is an important area that requires inputs from medical as well as technological institutions,' said a sanction order by Rajiv Gandhi Science and Technology Commission Government of Maharashtra. (Read: 70 to 75 per cent of medical devices in India are imported)

Ahuja said that after going through an extensive exercise and discussions with medical and engineering professionals, it was felt that it is appropriate to set up a dedicated facility to carry out this project. 'As per the proposal submitted by IIT Bombay, there will be bio-medical engineering and Technology Centre Incubation at IIT Bombay and two sub-centres at VNIT, Nagpur and COEP,' he said. He added that the the project is for five years and it will be monitored by the commission. Of the sanctioned funds, Rs2.5 crore has been allocated to CoEP, Rs2.6 crore for VNIT and the rest for IIT-B. (Read: Medical devices industry welcomes changes in bill)

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CoEP already posses expertise in biomedical technology as the college have provided nine units of implants to Sancheti hospital. The CoEP will augment its existing infrastructure and will be hiring fresh research fellows to specifically work on this project. Ahuja said that since the project is in the nascent stage, it would be difficult to say by how much the cost will go down

The products

  • Healthcare monitoring devices like digital thermometers, blood glucometers and blood pressure meters
  • Medical devices like medical imaging (X-ray, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, chromatography and cardiology, cancer diagnostics and laboratory instruments)
  • Drug eluting stents
  • Therapeutic devices including surgical instruments, non-invasive devices, plastics disposables, implants and prosthetics
  • Implants and prosthetics
  • Orthopedic devices like bone plates, screws for stabilizing fractured bones

Source: DNAsyndication dna-syndication-logo1/ By Sandip Kolhatkar

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