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Health tech startup Consultmed raises $1.2 million to do away with faxing

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Innovative health technology startup Consultmed is shaking up Australia’s outdated system of paper and fax referrals and has secured a seven-figure investment boost to support its next growth phase.

Designed by clinicians for clinicians, the platform enables secure exchange of healthcare information between healthcare providers and streamlines digital referrals, consent, clinical triage and external expert advice.

Australian early-stage VC Investible initiated $1.2 million investment consulted

The equity investment will provide Consultmed with the capital to expand its digital platform to hospitals and healthcare networks in Australia.

Find a better way

Launched in 2019, Consultmed’s growth was driven by the company’s founder, Dr. Vikram Palit, a pediatrician and senior lecturer in health management at UNSW.

The idea behind Consultmed arose out of the frustration of Dr. Palit while working as a trainee physician, where his clinical duties were constantly interrupted by time-consuming paper referrals, pagers and faxes.

He realized early on that at a time when primary care physicians and the hospital system are under such acute pressure, the clinicians’ hours and administrative work spent processing paper referrals meant less time actually seeing patients.

“Dr Palit’s deep experience in Australian healthcare and facilitating the rollout of electronic health records in the UK demonstrate a truly unique connection to the space,” said Joanna Ng, Investment Manager at Investible.

“By improving the efficiency of specialists, Consultmed is already delivering tremendous benefits to the Australian healthcare system. We look forward to supporting the team as they scale up.”

Industry validation

After the successful round, Dr. Palit that the participation of industry professionals provided significant validation for the service Consultmed is bringing to the market.

“A significant portion of this investment round comes from senior medical staff who use Consultmed on a daily basis and see the positive change it is bringing to their workflows and for their patients,” Palit said.

“It was great to see so many GPs and specialists behind the product and participating in this round.”

“And with VC support and the significant experience of the Investible team, we have the capital and expertise to scale effectively over the next two years.”

Ax the fax

In Australia, more than 80 percent of medical referrals to specialists are still sent by fax. The company’s slogan #axethafax immediately appealed to Dr Matthew Lam, a Sydney-based GP and user of Consultmed.

“Most of my patients are surprised when I hand them a paper referral or tell them I’m going to fax it to the local hospital,” Lam said.

“As a general practitioner, Consultmed allows me to send a referral letter digitally, and I am reassured in the knowledge that the specialist on the other side has actually received it, in real time. This also reduces medical errors and risks to patient safety…paper referrals are misplaced or lost all the time.”

Lam also said the end-to-end interface improves two-way communication for healthcare professionals.

“I can also request specialist advice and guidance via the app. This is very useful as I can better manage my patients on site and save them a trip to the hospital.”

Positioned for growth

The round closure caps off a successful 12 months for Consultmed, including victory in Startup Daily’s Pitch Perfect competition in partnership with Microsoft Australia in 2021.

The company has also secured innovation and seed funding from the government and has successfully launched its referral platform in the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network – the largest pediatric healthcare service in Australia.

The Consultmed platform is currently live at six hospital sites in NSW and is used daily to send and receive referrals by hundreds of GPs, specialists, allied health professionals and administrators.

As proof of its early market traction, the company has already built a national footprint for its operations team with staff in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle.

The Consultmed team is supported by an impressive advisory board made up of senior healthcare leaders and digital health experts, including informatics medical specialist and ophthalmologist, Dr. Ashley Scratch.

For Kras, Consultmed is a leading example of the kind of rapidly evolving technical solutions ideally suited to building improved health outcomes in the wake of the global pandemic.

“The pandemic has accelerated the opportunities for digital health technologies to transform the way clinicians work,” Kras said.

“The Consultmed referral platform is a simple and future-proof solution to a long-standing problem in healthcare.

“What sets it apart is that it combines a user-friendly interface with secure messaging technology and integration with other clinical systems. And what it does particularly well is that it improves both the patient and caregiver experience.”

With $1.2 million in new funding, Palit and team will focus on scaling the platform across more hospital networks in 2022, where talks with multiple providers are already underway.

It makes for an exciting year ahead as the platform consolidates its lead as a frontrunner with product-market fit as one of the leading new technology solutions in the Australian healthcare market.

Image provided: Founder of Consultmed, Dr Vikram Palit and Stephanie Hodgson, Head of Product

Twitter handle: @Consultmed_Au


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