Aussie docs launch US home check-up kits

Two young Australian doctors will make it possible for Americans to conduct medical checks at home after striking a deal to have their hi-tech medical kit in shops in a matter of weeks.

The CliniCloud kit, made up of a digital stethoscope and no-contact thermometer linked to a smartphone app, allows patients to send readings and vital signs to a connected doctor.

“They can now listen to your heart, take your temperature and it’s all done remotely,” co-founder Hon Weng Chong told AAP.

The 27-year-old Melbourne doctor and his university classmate Andrew Lin, 26, came up with the idea after trying to use technology to make medical treatment for childhood pneumonia more affordable and easier to access in developing countries.

“Then we started using it a bit as a research device in children’s hospital here in Melbourne, and we had parents asking us where they could buy the device and how much it cost,” said Dr Chong.

“We didn’t have any idea why parents would want it but then we heard stories about how parents travelled three to four hours by plane to a hospital for treatment and how they wished there was something better that they could connect with the doctors with.”

The CliniCloud kit will be rolled out in US electronic chain Best Buy’s stores in the US and Canada from November.

Negotiations with the US chain took about six months, but from the beginning they were right on board, says Chong, as were the final stage seed investors, Chinese internet service provider Tencent and Ping An Ventures, who injected $5 million into the startup to accelerate the production of the kits.

CliniCloud has chosen to launch in the US due to its bigger market and embrace of the telemedical market, which includes doctor check-ups via video chat.

Dr Chong said the company was keen to launch the kits in Australia, but the home market had a lot of technological barriers.

“Providing direct GP consultants to the home is something basically unheard of here in Australia, and while it exists the government hasn’t gotten on-board with them being reimbursed by Medicare,” he said.

“Meanwhile the US market is really big for us and they’re really open to adopting new technologies and trying them out.

“It’s just a much more mature telemedical market.”

CliniCloud plans to develop more healthcare enhancing software, including apps to track treatment progress and medication timers.