From seriously ill COVID-19 patients to individuals undergoing surgery, a respirator can mean the difference between life and death. Respirators, also called ventilators, are medical devices that aid patients in breathing when they struggle to do so on their own. Depending on the patient’s condition, a ventilator may be used in the short- or long-term. While the device can make a pivotal difference in a patient’s prognosis, it is not always the most convenient option for patients and staff.
Respirators are heavy, bulky, expensive pieces of equipment, and hospitals often only have a limited number on hand. Rural hospitals may lack ventilators altogether. Many respirators operate with compressed and sanitized medical air, which incurs a separate cost. Meanwhile, patients on ventilators may have to remain in the hospital and away from their homes and families – sometimes for years – due to ventilators’ immobility and the level of expertise required to operate them.
AgVa Healthcare, a medtech startup based in India, set out to replace traditional respirators with a more portable and cost-effective design that resembles an electronic tablet. Weighing only three kilograms, the respirator is portable and easy to use, integrating a touchscreen interface that operates like an Android app on a smartphone or tablet. Most importantly, the portable respirator is cost-effective – selling for about one-third or less of the cost of a traditional respirator – and can operate safely using only the air in the room around it. To help make their vision a reality, AgVa Healthcare turned to Lenovo in their search for a technology partner that could provide Android-powered tablet devices compatible with their ventilator machines.
The search for the perfect fit
Based in Noida, India, AgVa Healthcare set out to distribute their ventilator designs in hospitals to boost access to healthcare for patients across India. Besides their bulk and cost, ventilators are highly technical equipment and require specialized personnel for operation. AgVa Healthcare wanted to use the familiar touchscreen interface of a tablet to make the ventilator portable, so patients could take the ventilator home with them. Additionally, operating the portable ventilator would be much more intuitive, usable by patients, their families, and their caregivers.
Lenovo suggested multiple tablet models that would fit inside AgVa Healthcare’s ventilator design and integrate smoothly with the startup’s existing technology. Lenovo’s technical team helped implement AgVa Healthcare’s app on the tablet devices, while Lenovo’s service partner Scalefusion worked to provide remote support for the tablets at over 800 hospitals across India.
AgVa Healthcare found two eight-inch models from Lenovo – Lenovo Tab 4 8 and Lenovo M8 – to be compatible with their ventilator devices. Satisfied that the models also provided an easy, consistent, and efficient interface for their users, AgVa Healthcare decided to program Lenovo devices with their software in the startup’s fleet of ventilator machines.
“As a growing company looking to satisfy medical needs, it was vital to us at AgVa Healthcare that we find a partner whose technology was compatible with ours and has the capacity to scale along with us as we grew,” said Prof. Diwakar Vaish, CEO, AgVa Healthcare. “Lenovo could provide devices sufficient for us and our customers’ needs. The company also actively stepped in to provide the partner support we needed to distribute our devices instantaneously to the people in need.”
To date, Lenovo tablets have found a use in 15,000 AgVa Healthcare portable respirators, which are being deployed to hospitals across India.