Philippine-based healthtech startup Lifetrack Medical Systems announced Friday it has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from local investment firm Kickstart Ventures Inc and other strategic investors.
Lifetrack founder and chief executive officer Eric Schulze expressed confidence that with the strong backing from Kickstart, the company will be much closer to achieving its goal of improving healthcare services globally, particularly in providing quality interpretation of radiology diagnostic images for hospitals and clinics.
Lifetrack is the first Asian focused teleradiolgoy firm to offer both USA International Standard Professional Services as well as the first RIS/PACS with Integrated Decision Support.
“The people at Kickstart are wonderful mentors and can draw upon a wide range of experience and resources to help us find new clients, as well as build out our infrastructure and human resource needs,” Schulze said. “We are always looking for referrals for new hospitals and clinics, clients who want to experience 24/7 coverage and high-quality fast reporting turnaround time.”
Heaquarterd in the business district of Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Lifetrack is based on the experience of building a successful US-based teleradiology company founded by Schulze in 2003, which he subsequently sold in 2011. He said the undertaking gave him valuable insights on how to do efficient radiology while being freed from the constraints present in existing legacy RIS/PACS systems.
Lifetrack was incorporated in late 2012 and only commenced commercial operations in 2014. The company launched its version 1.0 in the first quarter of 2015. It plans to launch the version 2.0 by first quarter of 2016.
Kickstart president Minette Navarrete believes Lifetrack can contribute in scaling up a significant part of the world’s healthcare system.
“Lifetrack can help improve healthcare systems globally, deploying a concentration of skilled diagnosticians and making them available to hospitals on-demand, reducing patient waiting time, hospital costs, and the risk of misdiagnosis,” she said.
Navarrete cited the world’s healthcare systems have not scaled in step with the world’s demographic development.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are in a developed or emerging market, the sad truth is, there are not enough resources to offer the quality and speed of diagnosis and treatment that everyone needs,” Navarette explained.
Schulze noted that part of their advocacy is to reverse the brain drain, which they have seen far too long in the country’s healthcare industry.
“Through Lifetrack’s affordable software and professional services, we can bring in radiology studies from around the world to be read by Filipino radiologists based here. This, in turn, can lead to attracting high-income knowledge-based jobs from overseas to local radiologists. In fact, we have already brought in at least 50 medical jobs from abroad,” Schulze said.
Although there is a struggle in finding people with domain experience in radiology IT, Schulze said they end up mentoring more people to develop those skills since they have engineered their own software to meet the needs of their target market.
Lifetrack reported the shortage is nowhere more felt than in developing countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, where there is typically a 10- to 30-fold lack of radiologists per capita versus the developed countries, and where experienced radiologists make up 1 per cent or so of the total practitioners.
Duke NUS, a collaboration between Duke University and the National University of Singapore, in partnership with Lifetrack, provide sub-specialty certification and training to radiologists throughout the region.
Duke NUS Medical school is also using Lifetrack to train their medical students in interpreting pediatric chest X-rays.