Portable’s Guide to Digital Health in Australia

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014
Portable’s Guide to Digital Health in Australia

Above: Australian initiative dorsaVi specialises in body movement technology (image courtesy of BRW)

What is digital health? Why is it important? What innovations are being created in Australia? What is unique about digital health in Australia, as opposed to the EU and US? Where are Australian digital health innovators getting their funding? These are just some of the questions we’ve faced since we begun getting more involved in the landscape over the past two years. With the upcoming Portable Talks tour featuring Dr. Nate Gross just over a month away, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the incubators, accelerators, VCs, successful startups and need-to-know individuals who are leading the digital health movement in Australia.

Startup Success Stories

StethoCloud: Launched by students at the University of Melbourne, this smartphone stethoscope reproduces the diagnostic capability of a trained medical doctor. The device is able to detect, alert and advise those with little to no awareness of childhood pneumonia, with the potential to save up to millions of lives a year. The StethoCloud received a $75,000 funding grant from Microsoft in 2013 as part of the Imagine Cup; the prototype was built for just $20. (@StethoCloud)

iSonea: Through proprietary technology, software and mobile apps, iSonea offers a range of software and devices to help safely manage asthma and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Their debut device, the AirSonea, is a  handheld wheeze monitoring device debuted to the Australian market in late 2013 and is expected to launch in the USA very soon. AirSonea allows asthma patients to track their wheeze symptoms via the linked AsthmaSense smartphone app, enabling better autonomous management for users with symptoms. (@asthmasenseau)

DorsaVI: An ASX company focused on developing innovative motion analysis device technologies for use in clinical practice, elite sports and OHS. Their three products (VIMove, VISafe and VIPerfom) all enable risk assessment, monitoring and management for these three markets using world-first technology. (@dorsavi)

Picsafe Medi: A smartphone application system that enables Healthcare professionals to safely photograph, transmit and store patient-consented clinical photos, greatly facilitating the medical referral process and improving patient outcomes. PicSafe Medi has been heralded as ‘the missing link’ in mobile clinical photography and adheres to all government regulatory requirements in this area. (@PicSafeMedi)

Sessions: A ‘weight watchers for the digital age’ that uses an online coaching program that gives users access to a ‘health coach’ through phone, Skype, email and SMS reminders throughout the day. with programs delivered by a qualified personal trainer or dietitian. Since it’s acquisition by MyFitnessPal in February 2014, Sessions is now based in San Francisco. (@joinsessions)

Individuals to Watch

-Matt Hallam: MD at Merit Medical Australia and co-founder of StartUp HealthTech. Through StartUp HealthTech Matt and co-founder Chris K have been cultivating a digital health ecosystem and building a platform to advance knowledge, provide inspiration and build relationships between Australians interested in and leveraging digital tools for healthcare. (@starthealthtech)

-Dr. Pieter Peach: Practicing specialist anaesthetist with a keen interest in engaging emerging technologies to improve patient care. He founded Designtask in 2008 to further explore existing and emerging digital technologies in the healthcare industry. Some of Designtask’s projects include Colligative; a knowledge sharing network for clinicans to distribute practice techniques across departments and organisations, and Patientloops; a mobile patient engagement platform for clinicans to improve communication and followup with their patients. Colligative is is currently undergoing a pilot trial at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. (@drpieterpeach)

-Justine Bloome: Creative strategist and the founder of The Village Agency launched consumer health editorial platform Upbeats in early 2014 and is quickly carving a niche as the guru in curated health culture in Melbourne and Sydney. The weekly newsletter mirrors the informative, aesthetically pleasing style of The Fetch but with a holistic focus on living well daily. (@UPBEATSHQ)

Aaron Wong: Resident at Melbourne Health currently developing Stich.MD to help untrained health workers. It might not look like much yet, but keep an eye on this platform in the near future (and read their constitution in the meantime!)  (@stitch_md)

-Lissanthea Taylor: Founder of Healthtech Sydney and physiotherapist Taylor has a passion for enhancing the growing movement of digital health in Australia through more discussion and more connections through the meetup program. Previous Healthtech Sydney meetup topics have included data security, founders stories and data analytics for the ehealth space (@HTSydney)

MAP University of Melbourne

Above: The University of Melbourne provides a place for entrepreneurship on campus (image courtesy of the university)

Incubators & Accelerators

Startmate: Group of startup executives that offer mentorship and seed financing to Internet/Software businesses based in Australia. Their 5-month program offers $50,000 investment, legal counsel, mentorship and a 2-month trip to Silicon Valley (@startmate)

Ignition Labs: Sydney based accelerator 3-6 month program with a niche focus per annual program – 2013 featured a Medtech/Healthtech focus. They offer $25,000 investment plus mentors, workspaces, entrepreneurs program and international roadshow opportunities to the USA / Europe. (@ignitionlabs_au)

Muru-d: Backed by Telstra, this accelerator launched in 2013 with an inaugural class that includes Zed, a platform for patients to view, share and store their x-rays through secure cloud software. Their accelerator program includes seed capital, workspaces, networks and world class acceleration services (@murudau)

Blue Chilli: With one new startup debuted every two months there is plenty of variety in the ventures funded by this Melbourne and Sydney based firm, including PT Essentials app, a mobile personal training coach. Focus is on early-stage startups with a technical edge (@bluechilligroup)

STC (Small Technologies Cluster): STC promotes commercialisation and entrepreneurship around next-generation innovations in sectors such as biotechnology, medical devices and health IT. With government assistance, STC provides the infrastructure to accelerate commercialisation, links with key stakeholders across industries and is a consistent voice for those developing, integrating or supporting ‘enabling technologies’. (@STCaustralia)

MAP (Melbourne Accelerator Program): Supported by The University of Melbourne, MAP’s vision is to raise a culture of entrepreneurship on campus. They offer support through workshops, programs and events for entrepreneurs, with the best startups on campus awarded access to the MAP Startup Accelerator. The accelerator program, managed by Rohan Workman, includes $20,000 in capital support, mentorship and workspaces. (@MAPUniMelb)

Venture Capitalists

Adventure Capital: Early-stage technology venture funding for Australian startups. AC is focused on ‘advancing the digital and online technology ecosystem’. They also own the Melbourne accelerator hub York Butter Factory, home to over 70 early-stage startups. (@acventure)

Blackbird Ventures: Focused on building global internet startups from Australia with previous projects including online fitness coach Sessions, acquired by MyFitnessPal and an alumni of the Rock Health accelerator program. (@blackbirdvc)

AngelCube: A micro VC fund based on the best of breed accelerators, AngelCube was launched to drive investment and support of early-stage startups in Melbourne. AngelCube offers mentorship, capital, connections and various opportunities for Australian web startups. (@AngelCubeMelb)

Further Reading

PulseIT: Australia’s first (and only) ehealth and Health IT magazine

eHealthspace: Independent Australian media site passionate about the transformation of healthcare through talented people and the use of technology

HiSA (Health Informatics Society of Australia): Australia’s oldest and largest health informatics and ehealth organisation.

Tips for innovating within the Australian Digital Health landscape as well as lessons from industry leaders will be offered in the upcoming Rock Health for Portable Talks tour with co-founder Dr. Nate Gross.

Dr. Nate Gross is an incredible innovator. If you would like to engage with him while he’s on tour for Portable, or if you’re interested in sponsoring the event, please contact Emer Diviney at emer(at)portablestudios.com.au

Digital innovations in any field, including health, can only work if an audience is fully engaged. If you have a digital health product to nurture or are looking to develop an audience for your initiative, contact our Audience Engagement Manager Fiona Killackey at fiona(at)portablestudios.com.au