By Justin Lawler Developer. Organiser of @. Biohacker. Contributor at @ see more by Justin here. Justin is co-organiser of Dublin’s Quantified Self Meetup, where we discuss the latest in HealthTech, self-tracking and biohacking.
Modern healthcare is ripe for massive disruption
And no better man to lead that disruption than Johnny Walker, founder of the HealthTech company Global Diagnostics.
In March, Dublin’s branch of Startup Grind hosted an evening interview in the Google offices with Johnny.
During the evening we got to learn Johnny’s history, from working in the outback saving lives, to building on everything he learned in the outback to start the multinational HealthTech company Global Diagnostics.
Johnny’s latest venture is to bring healthcare back to its roots, back to the home. Using the latest in modern technology and the connected health ecosystem, will allow for this.
Johnny started his career in the Australian outback, doing ultra scans on Aboriginal women. Due to a genetics, Aboriginal women are more likely to have diabetes. Diabetes can cause big problems during childbirth.
At one stage during the evening, Johnny had us all engrossed in his story of his experience of how that scan had saved the life of one Aboriginal mother-to-be with early detection through the scan.
From there, Johnny went on to provide these ultrasound trucks for many other Aboriginal communities around Australia.
These scans were primitive.
They ran from generators on the back of pickup trucks. They might not be able to be interpreted there and then, so they were sent over copper wire to hospitals 200 miles away. This was the 90’s, before broadband. It took hours.
Johnny was able to work with what he had, and come up with solutions to real problems. Saving lives.
Building Global Diagnostics
In the late 90’s Johnny set up his first company, Global Diagnostics. This was the natural evolution of what Johnny was doing in the outback.
Early internet meant scans from hospitals around the world could be sent anywhere. Scans from the most complicated of cases could be sent to the most experienced doctors in the world.
Again, the technology was not 100% there yet, but solutions could be built on top of what they had.
This was massive disruption of the status quo.
Currently Johnny is working on his latest disruption in healthcare – the company Jinga Live
Who is Jinga?
During his time working in the outback scanning pregnant ladies, Johnny worked closely with the primary carers of the tribes. Primary carers in Aboriginal culture were always the female matriarch in the family – whether she’s the mother, the wife, the sister.
This is not unique to Aboriginal culture. In all cultures there has been the Jinga, looking after the health of the family.
Our modern healthcare ecosystem has taken that responsibility away.
“Keep healthcare in the home, not in the hospital.”
Jinga Live is all about giving that power back, back to the primary carer.
With the right tools and technologies, primary carers can do what they do best. It’s about allowing us to care for ourselves in our own home, where patients can be given the best treatment.
With telemedicine and home diagnostics tools, the technology is almost here already.
“If healthcare doesn’t internally disrupt itself, it’ll be disrupted by consumers.”
Jinga Life is accelerating that process. Making the technology more accessible.
What we Learned from Johnny
So many lessons from starting a business to the future of healthcare.
The best tweets from the evening:
Solve REAL world problems
It’s so easy to get smitten with tech, but we need to keep on asking ourselves, is it solving real world problems?
The last 20 years is strewn with dead corpses of tech companies that didn’t adopt to current problems. Johnny talked about one of the biggest casualties – Kodak.
Use what you’ve got
Can problems be solved with what we have now?
Johnny and his team developed Global Diagnostics before broadband. Each image took hours to upload. But Johnny built a successful business on that infrastructure.
‘The technology isn’t there yet’ is just an excuse to not start the business.
Give People Ownership Over Their Own Health
People want more responsibility over their own, and our families health. Throughout history we’ve had it. Technology is allowing is to move back to that.
Story Telling for Changing Minds
In an industry so resistant to change like healthcare story telling is another tool for disruption.
During the evening Johnny was able to get everyone in the room on board with his vision of the future of healthcare through stories from his own experiences.
Where to Learn More
- More on Startup Grind , where David Scanlon runs monthly talks with leaders in the entreprenres space from Dublin and around the world. The next talk will be with Gráinne Walsh from Metalman Brewing.
- You can follow Johnny on twitter here.
- More on Jinga Life.
- Global Diagnostics