Health start-ups

Health start-ups

Healthy and smart

By Fran Molloy

Combine business knowhow with health expertise and make a real difference.

Getting access to a doctor quickly can be difficult if you live remotely. Medical graduates and keen coders Hon Weng Chong and Andrew Lin (above) saw a gap for a health start-up and created a medical kit and app that gives patients tools and connects them with medical professionals. In just three years, their business has raised $5 million in funding.

Andrew compares health start-up CliniCloud to a “digital first-aid kit”. It uses a digital thermometer and world-first, mobile-enabled digital stethoscope to send medical data via a mobile phone during a telemedicine consultation (via videoconferencing) with a GP.

Chinese investment giant Tencent is funding CliniCloud, and Andrew and Hon are focused on breaking into the US market. “The future of healthcare will be patient-driven,” Andrew says. He believes technology will also allow better access to healthcare in countries where millions die of preventable diseases.

Business careers beyond a health start-up

It’s not just startups that have a big future in the health sector. Combining health knowhow with business savvy can kickstart career success.

GP Dr Marcus Tan is co-founder, CEO and medical director of HealthEngine, a web-based directory of medical services where you can book appointments online.

Marcus has a medical degree and an executive MBA, and says combining health and business makes sense. “To run a business you need a fantastic vision, but you also need to be able to manage your finances.”

He believes that business is the key to solving many health problems in a sustainable way. “Entrepreneurship is about solving problems and adding value,” he says.

It’s not just doctors merging health and business. Jason Smith realised after completing his physiotherapy degree that he wanted to help people build resilient bodies rather than just treat injuries.

In 1999, aged 24, he started his first practice, working from his home. His company is now in 100 sites across Australia.

Clinical psychologist Felicity Millman moved from academic research to founding several companies, including Circadyn, which uses neuroscience techniques to combat fatigue and reduce workplace risks.

Her product RestAlert combines data from wearable technology (such as a Fitbit) to analyse a person’s fatigue risk and send alerts.

Get ahead

Government agency Austrade reports that about 80% of Australia’s fast-growing health and medical industry sector are small and medium companies. Health companies include surgical and healthcare device and equipment manufacturers, health IT and infrastructure. Many more are being created in new frontier health areas such as nanotech and biomedicine.


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Fran Molloy

Author: Fran Molloy

FRAN MOLLOY is a freelance journalist and university lecturer whose career has spanned newspapers, radio and online publications. She writes about business, careers, research, science and environment.