The leading causes of illness, disability and death in Australia are chronic diseases. In 2012 these diseases accounted for 90 percent of all deaths, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). As lifestyles change and our population ages, chronic diseases are expected to become a major burden of ill health.
Due to their increasing social and economic impact there is now more than ever a great need to integrate technology with preventative and care treatments. To tackle significant medical costs the industry is looking for disruptive healthtech solutions to provide better care outside of the hospital.
Queensland tele-monitoring startup NetHealth is a new solution that looks to provide improved patient care for people with chronic conditions. The startup has created a platform called Net-HealthData that sends real-time information between patients and doctors via wireless devices.
For example measurements like blood pressure, blood glucose, weight, heart rate and pulse can be assessed through the cloud to enable better diagnosis during a consultation. These conditions can be continually monitored between patient and doctor to achieve a better plan, outcome and result. The system integrates with clinic management software to make it easy for both patients and doctors to assess all data.
“We provide technology that can enable people with chronic conditions, especially diabetes and hypertension to manage their health and enable their wellbeing,” said founder of NetHealth, Vidya Nallamad.
“These chronic conditions are Australia’s greatest health challenge and we are here to help people manage these conditions and provide them with better patient care.”
NetHealth integrates with a patient’s existing clinic management software, whether that be Accu-Chek, a blood glucose meter kit, iHealth, wireless blood pressure kits and even FitBits. NetHealth aggregates all this data and aligns all information stored in the cloud between various devices to enable users to check and monitor their vital sign data anywhere and at any time.
“Net-HealthData sits over all these device manufacturers, compile or aggregate all various clinical information and that gets sent to the GP or medical provider directly and in real time,” explained Nallamad.
Nallamad has spent 10 years in the medical software industry, working for various corporations like GE Medical Systems and Philips Medical Systems. She has an overwhelming passion for helping and assisting others and has moved from India to Australia to pursue her new startup venture.
The idea of NetHealth all began from Nallamad’s continual care for her dad, who is still living back in India.
“My dad suffers from Type II diabetes. He lives back in India and each time I would ask how his clinical information is trending, he would say ‘everything is alright.’ But I wanted a platform where I could see it, view it,” she explained.
Since the launch of the tele-monitoring platform, Nallamad has been able to view her dad’s complete medical information, from his prescription dosage to his medication timings and the value of information he is receiving from his local clinic.
Since the launch of NetHealth, no longer does Nallamad have to ponder whether ‘everything is alright’ with her dad. I know from personal experience that people who are suffering tend to say ‘I’m ok,’ so everyone around them can stop worrying and move on with their lives. With a platform like Net-HealthData, loved ones worries can be put to rest as treatments and performance can be closely monitored around the clock.
In May this year, NetHealth was awarded first prize at CeBIT Australia’s annual PitchFest. As winner of the PitchFest, NetHealth received a package valued at over $20,000 including a host of cloud services, a sponsored scholarship to the Capital Pitch x Investor Ready event, and an exhibition stand at CeBIT 2017.
“PitchFest presented a great opportunity for us to share our vision and our innovative solution that will transform how chronic medical conditions are managed, to a range of investors, corporations, potential users and government agencies,” said Nallamad.
Since PitchFest, Nallamad said the Net-HealthData platform has evolved to send information to both medical and general practitioners to assist both clinics and patients on their journey to prevent and treat chronic diseases.
At this stage NetHealth is focusing on Australia and rural areas in particular to help doctors who are living in areas where health or medical facilities are few and far between. Rather than patients waiting to go to hospital, they can send their information through to doctors to be diagnosed right from their own home.
Currently NetHealth is looking to align its software with rural and regional health clinics and also a few diabetes clinics in Queensland. Nallamad has five clinics already using the software as a paid customer and said there are many more in the pipeline.
The payment process works as a subscription model of $10 for the patient per month. However this model may change as Nallamad works with other alternative models, which may in the future give patients access to the software for free.
Much has changed in the healthtech industry in the last year, with more people now looking to adopt alternative technology for better patient health care.
“Over this time of twelve months people are more receptive to digitisation in the healthcare sector, so they are more open to tele-health or tele-monitoring, so that’s been a great shift in the mentality or shift towards better patient care,” said Nallamad.
In the last year we have seen a range of healthtech startups emerge developing innovative technology to allow people to monitor their health from home. Australian startups like CliniCloud, Coviu, Health Delivered, CancerAid and Rethink Results are trying to alleviate the burden on overcrowded hospitals and GPs. These startups have the power to improve the health care sector and reduce inefficiencies in traditional methods of practice.
Image: Net Health Team at CeBIT Pitchfest. Source: Supplied.