Telecare fills the medical service gaps in Australia’s remote and regional communities - LaunchVic

Telecare fills the medical service gaps in Australia’s remote and regional communities

Case Studies

29 May 2023 by LaunchVic News

Last Updated: Monday 29 May, 2023

Access to specialist healthcare has always been challenging in regional and remote Australia, with waiting periods often running into the years.

That’s why Blackburn-based startup Telecare is on a mission to build Australia’s largest virtual clinic connecting patients with specialists around the country through partnerships with local hospitals.

Co-founders Lina Xu, Michael Wang, Dr Chris Sia and Dr Raymond Wen were deep into virtual healthcare research prior to the pandemic, recognising the need to bring equity to healthcare.

“Before the pandemic, technology adoption was so behind and a lot of the processes were not built to support virtual care delivery, so we really had to work to sell our idea,” Lina says.

“We had to basically start from scratch and put together a system to enable virtual delivery of care.”

“But when lockdowns began, the Federal government, Medicare and other funding bodies basically made sure to support and endorse telehealth virtual care through incentives and regulations which helped us really educate patients, clinicians and hospitals.”

Tapping into tech – at just the right time

What started off as a handful of staff has since grown to 40 as Telecare keeps expanding. In 2022, Telecare landed a seed funding round led by MedAngels with support from LaunchVic’s Alice Anderson Fund.

Telecare’s difference lies in its focus on secondary and specialist care, which means it advertises primarily to medical professionals and services rather than patients, as to obtain a specialist referral they must access GPs (first line of care) first. Another way Telecare sets itself apart is by complementing, rather than disrupting, existing services from the primary care workforce and public hospitals.

The Telehealth platform now includes 33 different specialties, including niche sub-specialties such as behavioural paediatrician and neonatal paediatricians.

“Our marketing strategy has been dedicated to building a community of doctors across the nation, which has seen us receive referrals from 4,000 general practitioners from roughly 2,000 or so clinics,” Lina says.

The Telecare team have also been refining its services and model of care across regional settings trying to plug staffing gaps, while also running ongoing career development and upscaling seminars, events and programs.

“We feel that building the doctor community or knowledge sharing is something that is lacking among Australia’s medical industry. We’re trying to help fix this, especially for doctors working in our most remote regions.”

Global recognition for making an impact

Winning the company’s first major public hospital (in Queensland) contract in 2022 was a breakthrough moment for Telecare. Another major contract in Victoria has led to Telecare’s services now being available in 14+ public hospitals across both states.

Now, the company is celebrating another impressive win due to their ongoing growth. Lina was recognised as a fellow in the Cartier Women’s Initiative’s first ever Oceania category. The initiative’s theme in 2023 – Forces For Good — recognised 33 businesses driven by a common conviction to solve the most pressing global challenges.

Telecare’s nomination highlights that creating medical solutions for regional Australia is incredibly important work, which can even go on to tackle similar challenges being seen around the world.

Lina said she was delighted to be nominated for the award, but also proud of Telecare’s commitment to advancing women in turn.

“Half of our clinicians are female, which is much higher than the industrial average of about 33 per cent,” Lina points out.

“I’ve also been extremely fortunate to live in Melbourne and to have had all these opportunities to develop my own company, such as the support of LaunchVic’s Alice Anderson Fund. These initiatives give women entrepreneurs confidence and support systems to bring their important work to life.”

Applications for LaunchVic’s Alice Anderson Fund are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information about how we support entrepreneurs like Lina, visit our website.

The Alice Anderson Fund