Healthshare born from need for trustworthy information

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This content is produced by The Australian Financial Review in commercial partnership with Westpac.

There are many ways that a business can be started: from flashes of inspiration, to the depths of despair. The latter was the case for digital health company Healthshare. It was established in 2010 when its executive chairman, Gavin Solsky, and his wife Rochelle Cadry Solsky faced a serious illness in one of their children.

The Solskys turned to the internet, but quickly realised that it was a struggle to find straightforward, trustworthy and reliable information online, and locate a health practitioner that worked in the field they needed. They created Healthshare to provide smart solutions to pain points for the community.

"Thankfully they got to the right outcomes eventually, but in the process, they realised that there were ways in which the internet could be used to support Australians in similar circumstances," says Rami Weiss, chief executive officer of Healthshare.

The flagship product,, is a platform that enables people to quickly find local, credible and relevant health information, and identify qualified practitioners. The site is an interactive Q&A platform, on which any Australian can ask a question and get answers from more than 15,000 health professionals, as well as 150 health consumer organisations, and search for a health professional.

Healthshare's service SpecialistNow assists patients in making fast-tracked appointments with qualified Australian specialists, and its ConnectMe service is a secure and affordable online access point for sufferers to find mental health professionals.

"We're trying to make it as simple as possible for anyone, whether they're in a metropolitan area or a regional area, to get access to high-quality, evidence-based health information," says Weiss. "We've built and launched a number of doctor-facing tools as well: we're quite unique in that we have the B2C business, as well as the B2B business."

Democratising the information

Traditionally the medical industry has held information close, with GPs the "gatekeeper" to the system: but Healthshare believes both patients and the industry benefit from democratisation of the information. "The starting premise was to open up access to information and allow our users to assess it and make their own, better-informed choices. We see the platform that exists today as really the front door to health in Australia: we get more than half a million people a month coming to visit it.

"That simply empowers patients to search for more information – like they do in every other sector, whether it is travel or food. But we're definitely not working against the medical industry: we want to consolidate the information from disparate sources, and integrate it into the system of the GP, the specialist, the hospital: we want to reduce the burden on GPs and specialists, to help give them more time to focus on helping patients, rather than spend time doing searches and admin work," says Weiss.

Healthshare came across the Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow program last year, and applied for it. "We're always on the lookout for awards and ways to recognise the company and what our team has been able to achieve. It was the first year, we didn't know too much about it, but with Westpac's credibility, and some of the things they mentioned, it seemed like a fantastic opportunity," he says. "We put in a submission and we were very honoured to be one of the Top 20 businesses selected."

The 2017 study tour was "a fantastic experience", says Weiss. "There were two components – one was the cohort of other companies that were along on the trip, learning from people in different sectors, getting a broad stroke of insights from leaders across those sectors was fantastic. The first benefit was that camaraderie and learning from the other businesses."

The second benefit was the study tour. "Westpac did an amazing job, the companies we got to see were world leaders, it just reinforced to me the idea of thinking big, and thinking global – that Australian companies can be world leaders. It was inspirational to see what some of the big global companies have been able to build, to see it face-to-face instead of reading about it. There is no reason why Australian companies can't do that."

Weiss says he has been able to implement cultural changes at Healthshare, directly out of the Businesses of Tomorrow program. "Then there is the professional services component: we chose to work on a branding and positioning exercise, and that's been absolutely great."

Weiss also cites the ongoing discussion with his 2017 peer group, on What's App group. "That is a very robust and collegial group to be in," he laughs. "It's a lot of fun, and a wonderful source of ideas, support and experience-sharing at the same time."

Article published and provided by the Australian Financial Review.

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