Thursday 18 December 2014

Husband and wife's medical innovation is just the tonic

Start-up of the week: FullHealthMedical.com

Published 17/07/2014 | 02:30

Healthy heart

HERE is a question for you. If a doctor told you you had high blood pressure, do you know what they mean?

Don't be embarrassed if you don't know what I'm talking about. It's not a trick question. Apart from knowing that your blood pressure is high, would you understand what it means? Would you understand that you are at a higher risk of stroke and heart attack? Would you grasp that you should make changes to your lifestyle, on things such as how much salt you take, if you smoke, whether you should be exercising?

To many people, high blood pressure is just a phrase, the same way cholesterol (and many other medical terms) are just words. We don't usually grasp the implications, and what we can do about it ourselves.

This is where Full Health Medical comes in. Set up by Paul McCarthy and his wife Ann Short, a GP and accident and emergency doctor, the company aims to simplify medical reporting so that individuals, companies, and health providers understand any medical conditions that need to be addressed, or what steps are needed to maintain and improve health.

"As my wife would say it's not for the want of equipment that people get sick but often for the need of better communication," says Mr McCarthy. "FullHealthMedical.com is aimed at keeping people better informed and empower them to help themselves."

The product allows a doctor to conduct tests and then post the test results on the website within three or four days. Patients are sent a PIN code which allows them to securely access the results and they can get advice on the back of the results.

With people's time being so precious these days, they don't have to make time-consuming appointments with doctors to get results that tell them everything is fine. At the same time, the doctor's valuable time is not wasted.

Crucially, the site does not remove the patient-doctor interface. If the tests show something that needs to be looked at further, Full Health Medical will tell you.

The company released its first product two years ago, and then produced a consumer product last year.

So far it has helped conduct health checks with numerous Irish companies including Bord Na Mona and the Revenue Commissioners.

Backed by Enterprise Ireland's High Potential Start-Ups fund, the business is now fully funded for the moment, but it is planning to expand overseas. It already has an international flavour - its CTO is based in Seattle - but the UK is the next step for the firm.

"It is a product that can be taken anywhere, so we are looking at the UK for now and then maybe a bit further after that," says Mr McCarthy.

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