Victoria is a world leader in the medtech industry, with a Melbourne company finding global success with its innovative biometric analysis technology.
Melbourne doctors Hon Weng Chong and Andrew Lim are making waves – and sales – internationally with CliniCloud, a locally developed medical kit for the digital age.
Comprising a digital stethoscope and a non-contact infrared thermometer which connect to the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth, the package enables patients to assess their own biometrics, record them via the CliniCloud app and share the data electronically with doctors.
The app includes intuitive prompts which enable both devices to be used effectively by individuals who have not had medical training and metrics can be stored on a timeline, to enable vital signs to be analysed over a period of time.
Targeted at both medical practices and individuals, the CliniCloud offering has particular appeal to families with young children and those who suffer from chronic conditions which require regular monitoring, such as asthma.
CliniCloud began life as StethoCloud, the Smart Stethoscope; an invention which won the world’s leading student technology competition, the Microsoft Imagine Cup, for Dr Chong and Dr Lim, in 2012.
Recognising that temperature and heart data are equally vital biometric measures for medical practitioners, the pair opted to augment their invention with a digital thermometer, before putting the kit into commercial production.
The CliniCloud kit currently retails online for US$149.
Both recent graduates of the University of Melbourne’s Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery program, the doctors say the kit was inspired by their desire to simplify healthcare by empowering patients with greater knowledge of their conditions and symptoms.
Dr Chong spent a year practising medicine before devoting himself full-time to the project while Dr Lim worked as a management consultant after graduation.
Initially a shoestring affair, CliniCloud raised US$5 million in seed funding in late 2015 from institutional investors Tencent Holdings and Ping An Ventures and has subsequently grown to a staff of 20, with premises in Flinders Lane in Melbourne’s central business district.
Early export success has come in the form of a distribution deal with United States and Canadian chain Best Buy, which began stocking the CliniCloud kits in its retail outlets early this year.
The firm has also secured a partnership with the telehealth provider Doctor on Demand, which offers video consultations with doctors and psychologists, to patients across the US. Further deals with local and overseas telehealth providers are expected to be announced in the forthcoming months.
Beginning life in Victoria has been a boon for their venture, according to the two founders. The fledgling firm’s Melbourne base has provided easy access to world-class technical talent in the fields of mobile communications, networking, internet and electronics development.
Mentoring, advice and support has also been in healthy supply, courtesy of the state’s thriving HealthTech network, which provides regular opportunities for medtech entrepreneurs to meet and collaborate.
“Another plus point is that the hospital systems in Melbourne are stronger and more innovative than those in other Australian cities,” Dr Chong says.
“It’s been a fantastic place to grow our business.”