Book Review: “Start Something That Matters” by Blake Mycoskie, TOMS Founder

This book is a must-read.

"Start Something That Matters" by Blake Mycoskie. Pic: themedicalstartup.com
Pic: themedicalstartup.com

Most of you would have heard of TOMS. Many of you perhaps own a pair or two. There’s a fascinating story behind it.

Continue reading “Book Review: “Start Something That Matters” by Blake Mycoskie, TOMS Founder”

New Zealand Clinicians’ Challenge Open For Entries

If you’re a clinician in New Zealand with a great idea, the Clinicians’ Challenge may be right for you.

1,100 delegates attending HiNZ this week. HiNZ Awards at Shed10, Auckland, sponsored by Microsoft. Pic: The Medical Startup
Attendees mingling at HiNZ 2016. Pic: The Medical Startup

The Clinicians’ Challenge aims to help healthcare workers from all disciplines improve the lives of patients through innovative projects. There are two categories: New Idea, or Active Project/Development. Prizewinners will share in $20,000NZD worth of funding, supported by HiNZ and the Ministry of Health, New Zealand.

Last year’s winners who presented at HiNZ include:

  • anaesthetics registrar Mark Fletcher’s New Idea award for collecting the most relevant big data efficiently across elective surgery lists;
  • pharmacist Amber Young for her New Ideas award-winning medication information project, integrating both tech and paper to tailor medication summaries for patients in an efficient and visually optimised format
  • Yvonne McFarlane, a resident at Dunedin Hospital who developed an idea for a simple one-page handover list that can be integrated into existing EMRs; and
  • public health physician Nick Eichler and his Auckland Public Health Service colleagues, with their TeleDOT electronic medication monitoring system for tuberculosis patients. By improving education and adherence, TeleDOT also aims to reduce the transport burden for patients and healthcare workers across the country while undergoing lengthy treatment.

Entries for the Clinicians Challenge close Friday 16 June- visit here to enter.

Other opportunities for the annual HiNZ and NZ Nursing Informatics Conferences are also open til Friday 16 June, including speaker and paper/abstract submissions. More details at hinz.org.nz.

Read our recaps of last year’s events at Day 1, 2 and 3

 

Melbourne startup Nebula Health Raises $250,000 in Seed Funding For Best Perioperative Patient Care

What makes patients’ lives easier?

Having clear, up to date communication with their doctor and treating team.

The problem is, time pressures and administrative structures in most hospitals and clinics make this difficult both for patients and clinicians.

Australian surgeons Dr Paul Paddle and Dr Chandrashan Perera have created a solution for this. Nebula Health delivers smartphone reminders and advice via app directly from the surgeon to the patient, improving the quality of pre-operative care, post-op recovery and long-term health of their patients, in an easy-to-use and efficient manner.

Nebula Health's new patient-focused app will help patients prepare for and recover well from surgery with clear instructions tailored to each patient's individual needs. Photo courtesy of Nebula Health.
Nebula Health’s new patient-focused app will help patients prepare for and recover well from surgery, with clear instructions tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Photo courtesy of Nebula Health.

As Chief Medical Officer Dr Paddle explains, “The concept for this app was borne out of my own experience and frustration. As a practicing ENT surgeon, I strive to check in on my patients at every step, before and after their surgery. However, in the time-pressured realities of medical practice today, it’s often not possible. With this app, my patients receive personalised directions every step of the way. In return, I receive real-time notifications of their compliance. As a result, my patients have more confidence in my abilities, are more satisfied and have better health outcomes.”

Frustration with the limits of current best patient care are what drive startups formed by doctors, nurses and other clinicians. Perioperative medicine is a standout opportunity for healthtech innovation, given the enormous breadth of surgical patients and cases, spanning from neonatal to paediatrics and adult surgery, and the non-surgical complications that can occur (such as cardiac events) amidst the high turnover of operative cases. A precision medicine solution like Nebula’s app could potentially also help those patients on waiting lists who are anxious about surgery or wanting advice in between appointments.

Melbourne Accelerator Launch Party 2016. Photo: The Medical Startup
Melbourne Accelerator Launch Party 2016. Photo: The Medical Startup

Since completing their time with the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP), Nebula have visited Silicon Valley with the other MAP graduates and iterated the initial concept of their product into a helpful perioperative app. What was the journey like as a clinician and startup founder? “We tested thirty (surgical) patients using a prototype. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and it encouraged us to develop this concept into a market-ready product.” explains Dr Chandrashan Perera , Nebula’s CEO. “Patient testimonials from this trial turned six surgeons into early customers. From this traction, we were able to close our seed round. This funding will allow us to grow the team and scale our services to more patients.” Indeed, at least two more medical doctors have joined Nebula‘s team, and Nebula’s vision has impressed angel investors including Rod Lyle, a board member of ASX-listed medical technology company Pro Medicus.

It’s been exciting following Nebula Health’s rapid journey from the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP).  Other medical successes include compatriots CNSDose, a pharmacogenetics company who are now part of the Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Accelerator, and other graduates of the MAP program.

Currently, Nebula Health are looking for more surgeons in hospitals and clinics who are interested in their software. For a demo or more information, please contact Li (at) nebulahealth.com.

Congratulations and best wishes to the team!

What It’s Like Attending Your First Hackathon

No matter your level of experience – or self-perceived lack of- hackathons are a great way for you to get started in tech.

At hackathons, you meet others interested in a good cause or tech solution for a pressing problem. Think “build a tech product in two days” and you get the idea. They’re usually themed; for example, Healthhack in Melbourne last year; the internationally-run Hacking Health (in Brisbane this year) and even food hackathons and fintech hacks in various cities. You’re usually presented with a problem to solve, either in advance of the event, or at the start of the event itself. Run as competitions, prizes and opportunities are usually on offer, ranging from prize money to course scholarships and introductions to advisors and mentors.

I’d bookmarked a ton of hackathons across Australia that kept cropping up at the wrong time; so it was a nice surprise when I Googled “hackathons” while visiting New York, and found out about AngelHack’s “Women in Tech Demo Day.

The Flatiron District, Saturday morning! Pic: The Medical Startup
The Flatiron District, Saturday morning! Pic: The Medical Startup

Continue reading “What It’s Like Attending Your First Hackathon”

Creative Spotlight: Jewellery Inspired By Neuroscience, by Luke Maninov Hammond of Queensland Brain Institute

You’d be amazed by the treasures you find on Instagram.

If art and design can tell stories to engage a captive audience beyond science and medicine, Luke Maninov Hammond has done a stellar job.

I came across a snapshot of Luke’s designs via the Queensland Brain Institute’s Instagram. Luke’s work with fluorescence microscopy at the QBI has inspired his incredible jewellery designs and prints, which he has exhibited recently at Pieces of Eight gallery in Melbourne and will soon be showing at Brisbane’s Artisan Gallery from June 15.

Luke: "This signature ring simultaneously represents the invisible worlds of cellular machinery, marine life, and dynamic connectivity within the brain. Designed as a pair, this engagement ring holds a 1.6ct Australian parti sapphire in 18ct yellow gold, surrounded by three brilliant white diamonds. Combined, the pair form a completed circle surrounding the sapphire with a golden halo set with six diamonds." Image copyright Luke Maninov Hammond
Beneath The Surface engagement ring. Luke: “This signature ring simultaneously represents the invisible worlds of cellular machinery, marine life, and dynamic connectivity within the brain. Designed as a pair, this engagement ring holds a 1.6ct Australian parti sapphire in 18ct yellow gold, surrounded by three brilliant white diamonds. Combined, the pair form a completed circle surrounding the sapphire with a golden halo set with six diamonds.” Image copyright Luke Maninov Hammond

As well as at his exhibitions, some of Luke’s work can be purchased at beneaththesurfaceprints.bigcartel.com, with profits going towards schizophrenia research. He’s also at www.lukemaninov.com, and on Instagram @lukemaninov and Facebook www.facebook.com/lukemaninovjewellery. Luke kindly provided insights for us about the mix of art, design and neuroscience while preparing for a new role at Columbia University, New York City.

Can you tell us about your neuroscience career?

Continue reading “Creative Spotlight: Jewellery Inspired By Neuroscience, by Luke Maninov Hammond of Queensland Brain Institute”

Celebrate Crazy Socks for Docs Day on June 1st

“June 1st. #CrazySocks4Docs. But not just for Docs only. This day is for nurses, dentists, pharmacists, social workers, physiotherapists, psychologists, dietitians, speech pathologists, audiologists, respiratory therapists, anaesthesia techs, paramedics, medical students, veterinarians and all other specialties that work in the health care industry for patients. Doctors are dying by their own hands. The overall physician […]”

via Crazy Socks for Docs — Dr Eric Levi

Thank you to Dr Eric Levi for your articles on your blog, which recently relate to physician suicides and the challenges we face as healthcare workers in a challenging industry.

Embrace your personality and your colleagues’ health this June 1st. Wear odd socks

Breaking The Boundaries You’ve Set Yourself: Thoughts and Events To Inspire Your Tech Journey

How do you learn about tech as an outsider?

For awhile, before The Medical Startup became an idea, I was toying with creating something in tech.

I was a full-time doctor in a Melbourne hospital, spending all my spare time studying for fellowship.

When you’re at that stage in your career, you’re usually facing another four to six years of focusing on fellowship full-time.

I was surrounded by peers who were working towards the same goal.

It was all we knew at that time. We’d forgotten what life was like pre-training, it was deemed a “waste” if you paused for breath, and it took a long, long time to learn to breathe above water again.

So it seemed impossible.

But when you start to act towards those “strange” goals, the world opens up beyond anything you’d imagine. 

Attending events and online webinars helped tremendously. I was surrounded by others who were teaching themselves, too.

I started learning how to adapt to new environments, even more new than running a Code Blue at 3am.

I started learning the lingo of life outside of medicine.

And the love of learning I have for medicine sustained me through this journey, too.

So here’s a thought for the next time you’re thinking, “I can’t do this” or “It’s impossible, I have no background in this area.”

Think laterally about what you’re telling yourself.

Is it really impossible?

Continue reading “Breaking The Boundaries You’ve Set Yourself: Thoughts and Events To Inspire Your Tech Journey”

Doctors, You’ll Never Be Good Enough- And That’s Okay

(Edit: updated title 12 May ’17)

Like many in the medical world, I’ve been deeply saddened by the suicide of a Brisbane gastroenterologist, the father of four children, the husband of a loving wife.

I don’t know them personally, but am touched by the email that his wife wrote and son sent online- which has triggered a flood of goodwill from his patients (the Facebook comments on the CourierMail post are so heartening) and from other health professionals and members of the public, who, like me, may not have known him personally, but felt devastated by this very unnecessary loss.

So what can we do? How do we stop others from thinking the only way out is suicide?
What’s the worst that could happen if you choose NOT to die?
 
Your patients may be looked after by other colleagues, or will find other specialists.
 
Your family will be concerned and worried about you, but they will be happier that you’re taking time to recover.
 
Your colleagues will most likely be concerned about you too, not mean-spirited. (If they are, why choose to work with them or choose to listen to them? What do they know about who you really are?)
 
Maybe part of it is our fear of delegating responsibility for our patients to others when we’re too crushed or sick to continue. Handover is so complex- even more as a consultant in private practice for many years. You would have built strong relationships with some of your patients who’ve grown with you; with your staff; with your routine. You would know their test results and the dates of their treatments off by heart.
 
And of course, when a patient dies, it is never easy.
 
Just because you’ve dealt with a patient’s demise or deterioration over and over again during the years, it doesn’t mean your feelings will be bulletproof forever.
 
And then, you also may fear delegating the responsibility of your struggles to others, to psychologists, to counsellors, to psychiatrists, or to a friend who’s a listening ear.
You’re good at curing patients. Why can’t you cure yourself?
You’re feeling enormous responsibility. Why burden others with that terrible weight?
 
There’s so much blame in medicine. We constantly want to be better. It’s the mark of a true professional, a craftsperson even in other professions. You want to better yourself.
 
But even doctors are only human.
 
Maybe we think it’s the absolute end, there’s no way out if we step back for a few days, weeks, months, years- it’s too terrifying at that moment to deal with the enormity of a future you don’t know.
 
We try too hard to control our futures and our patients’ futures, but as doctors and health professionals, and even startup founders, even we can’t control everything.
 
Maybe it’s time to recognise that and embrace it as something positive we can learn to live with.
But don’t do it alone.
Please seek help, no matter what your journey is.
Condolences and respects to Dr Bryant and his family. 
People may look like they’re doing okay on the outside, but are actually screaming for help inside. Please be kind to each other and ask directly, “are you okay?” 
Some useful sites/resources in Australia if you’re seeking help or contemplating suicide:
R U OK? suicide prevention
Victorian Doctors Health Program (please reach out even if you’re not living in the state, people are always happy to suggest other resources)
– your GP
– a psychologist
– a counsellor
– the AMA, which has other links to Drs4Drs which lists resources for Doctors in each State/Territory, and other sites; and the Australasian Doctors NetworkAustralasian Doctors Network which advocates for doctors’ health.
Online video calls to a psychiatrist (you’ll need a GP referral but it is bulk billed)
Lysn, a provider of online video calls to a psychologist
– your work’s Employee Assistance Program (many public and private companies including public hospitals in Australia, possibly in your country too, offer this free confidential service through external providers. The RACP also offers this, and probably other fellowship colleges do, too. Don’t be afraid to ask your HR or Workforce managers about this; it’s your right as an employee, and they are human, too, and know everyone goes through stuff.)
Feel free to list other resources you’ve found helpful below in the Comments. 

How Can Facebook’s Spaces VR Program Help Patients and Consumers?

Overnight at Facebook’s F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg officially announced the launch of Facebook Spaces in beta. Using the Rift platform and available on the Oculus store, purportedly all that’s needed is Oculus Touch and an Internet connection.

Essentially, this means Facebook is adding virtual face-to-face interaction. This is a huge win for patients and healthcare consumers.

There are several ways in which we think virtual reality through Facebook will help patients, consumers and clinicians.

Patient communities are a burgeoning interest in healthtech. The Mayo Clinic Connect is an online messaging and education platform where patients and carers can chat with others suffering the same or similar illnesses. Australian app CancerAid is also building patient communities and sharing the burden of cancer with the millions affected by cancer worldwide, through their app for iOS and Android. Imagine the potential for communities to virtually “talk” with each other.

Continue reading “How Can Facebook’s Spaces VR Program Help Patients and Consumers?”

Job Opportunity: Psychiatrists For Telehealth Consults With Conduit Health

Australian Telepsychiatry service Conduit Health are seeking Expressions of Interest from Consultant Psychiatrists registered with AHPRA to join their service.

Conduit Health, Telepsychiatry Service. Photo courtesy of Dr Gregory Sam.
Conduit Health, Telepsychiatry Service. Photo courtesy of Dr Gregory Sam.

Conduit Health was formed when psychiatrist Dr Gregory Sam realised he and his colleagues around Australia needed a solution to serve isolated patients in rural, remote and even residential communities in a high-quality, efficient way. Conduit Health provides services including general psychiatry as well as child and adolescent psychiatry, aged care, and other subspecialties. Benefits of working with Conduit include:

  • job flexibility;
  • working from home;
  • the ability to build your private practice;
  • an electronic medical record service (EMR);
  • all administrative tasks being taken care of (billing, scheduling and typing).

If interested, please contact Sara Ng (Business Development Manager) with your CV, your Expression of Interest and a copy of your qualifications at sara.ng (at) conduithealth.com.au.

Read about founder Dr Greg Sam’s story here. 

Sign up to our mailing list to hear of other job opportunities, and visit our Jobs board here.