Australian consumer health tech start-up, CliniCloud has closed a $US5 million seed funding ahead of the global launch of its first product, a connected medical kit for the home.
The round was led by China’s biggest internet company, Tencent and Ping An Ventures, the venture arm of insurance and banking conglomerate Ping An, along with prominent musician and investor, D.A. Wallach, Kosaku Yada (Sonar Group) and other private participants.
In addition to the funding news, the start-up announced that US retail giant, Best Buy will carry its connected medical kit in the US and Canada, starting from this holiday season. Preorders made through CliniCloud’s website will be shipped to consumers on October 23, 2015.
What will CliniCloud use this seed funding for?
The funding will be used to accelerate the production and upcoming roll-out of CliniCloud’s first consumer product – a connected medical kit containing a world-first connected digital stethoscope, a non-contact thermometer and a mobile app (available on iOS and Android from October 23).
The kit is meant to empower patients to proactively manage their wellness at home.
A comprehensive at-home medical solution for patient-centered healthcare, the kit allows users to record basic vital signs including temperature, heart and lung sounds and then send the readings to their physician of choice or consult a network of on-demand medical professionals.
While this aspect is not yet available in Australia, in the US users can share this important medical information remotely with doctors (via Doctor On Demand integration).
The funding will also support development of future products on CliniCloud’s roadmap, expand the team and help enable international expansion.
They switched their scrubs for software
CliniCloud is founded by two young Melbourne Medical School graduates Dr. Hon Weng Chong and Dr. Andrew Lin who hung up their scrubs to become entrepreneurs, risking it all for a tech start-up, when they realised that today’s patients are starting to play a more active role in their own care.
The duo wanted to equip everyone with the right tools to make better healthcare and diagnostic decisions. “The stethoscope and thermometer are gateways to critical information that helps physicians diagnose illness in patients,” Andrew said.
“By digitising them and connecting them to a powerful app and network of medical professionals through our partnership with telemedicine partners such as Doctor On Demand, we are empowering every parent and carer to play an active role in healthcare.”
The thermometer combines next generation infrared technology with Bluetooth connectivity, to take temperature readings instantly, effortlessly — with no skin contact required. This means you can take accurate readings, even without waking little ones when they’re sound asleep.
The stethoscope records respiratory and cardiovascular sounds with high acoustic fidelity at 16bit Linear PCM with 44100Hz sampling rate, equivalent to CD audio quality.
The recordings are particularly useful for detecting signs of respiratory illness, such as asthma, pneumonia and the common cold. Respiratory conditions are the number one reason for doctor visits in the US, and one third of all young children will need to visit emergency for respiratory conditions.
CliniCloud integrates recordings from the two devices and brings them together in one simple app. Readings are stored on either the smartphone or a HIPAAcompliant secure cloud server.
The app guides users through either a quick or full checkup, with intuitive prompts for exactly where to place the stethoscope and thermometer, so anyone can use CliniCloud without medical training.
Review a timeline of health status over time, which includes vitals such as temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate, as well as qualitative metrics and notes, to help identify trends over time.
Unique to CliniCloud is the Family Circle which enables collaborative family health management and centralization of a family’s health recordings.
For instance, parents can be notified of events and recordings when performed by another member of the family circle which is then synchronized to a shared record.
And through an integration with Doctor On Demand, users can video chat with a physician and for the first time, get your heart and lung sounds examined as if you were there in person.
CliniCloud’s products empower carers and patients to play an active role in healthcare. It allows them to keep track of loved one’s vital health information and make informed decisions to seek professional medical help if and when required.
Previously, only video and audio chat was possible, but with CliniCloud, clinical data including stethoscope sounds, can be transmitted the the physician, enabling many more conditions to be diagnosed and treated at home.
This means that consumers will now be able to get medical care easier and faster, potentially receiving earlier intervention which could prevent hospitalisation or even saving an unnecessary trip to the emergency room.
For example, asthma is one of the most common reasons children are brought to hospital emergency rooms. It can be difficult for a parent to describe exactly how bad their child’s symptoms are, and many parents present to a doctor at early stages and must be sent home to monitor the condition. This is stressful and traumatic for both parent and child.
With CliniCloud’s stethoscope, asthma wheezing is recorded in real time at incredibly high accuracy and monitored on the app. The recording can be shared remotely with medical professionals, who can then provide the appropriate recommendation. Prescriptions can also be written up remotely and picked up at the nearest pharmacy.
This not only takes out guesswork, it reduces unnecessary pressures on the healthcare system, stress on the parent and child, and can help prevent genuine emergencies by alerting parents and doctors to worsening conditions.
Why has CliniCloud attracted this seed funding?
Deloitte estimates the mHealth industry to be worth $21 billion by 2018, Goldman Sachs estimates digital health tech could save the US healthcare system $305 billion, and PwC’s Health Research Institute Report 2014 concluded that “Digitally-enabled care is no longer nice-to-have, it’s fundamental for delivering high quality care.”
David Wallerstein, Tencent Chief eXploration Officer said, “The mobile internet is now ushering in a new era for health diagnostics. CliniCloud has taken a core tool for family physicians — the stethoscope — and brought it into the modern era.”
“By allowing health practitioners to remotely listen to an individual’s lungs or heart, issues can be identified, treatments discussed, or concerns put to rest. Diagnoses can occur as frequently as the user desires and with great convenience. CliniCloud’s connected medical kit will empower users and provide them with new health choices and resources.”
Jiang Zhang, Managing Director of Ping An Ventures, remarked, “The combination of mobile internet and healthcare will allow many existing medical services to be brought into the home, including common illness prevention, testing, diagnosis and treatment.”
“Meanwhile, the products of CliniCloud are both medical grade quality and convenient to use, with the ability to connect with the cloud and provide follow-up services — a perfect combination for the burgeoning mobile health market.”
CliniCloud (as “StethoCloud”) was runner up for Microsoft’s 2012 Global Imagine Cup Grant and also works with a number of global medical institutions on research projects involving its products, including University of California (UCSF) Medical Centre and Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital.