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The hardships of being an IT industry entrepreneur

The Star (a Dunedin based print) interviewed Lifetime Health Diary™ on the experience of setting up in the field of I.T. and the challenges they faced with making the vision a reality.

Tough two years setting up in IT

Q. What does your business do?
Lifetime Health Diary demystifies healthcare data. It starts with the patient’s health story, not the last point­ of­ care transaction. We humanize healthcare language and communication by offering a simple ­to­ use product, reflecting patient healthcare data in an intuitive and time ­saving manner.

Q. Why do you do it
Most healthcare IT is difficult to use, and takes a long time to train people how to use. We believe that healthcare software should be as easy to use and understand as a web app on your iPad or tablet. Not only clinicians, but patients and their caregivers also need this information.

Q. What were your experiences when you were first starting out?
Building it was the first hurdle. For a start, the concept could not technically be used until iPads, tablets, smartphones and high ­speed internet access was widely available. Secondly, finding programmers capable of truly approaching the vision of the product was something we were only able to do recently. Then there is the culture of the medical industry itself, which can be very slow to change and adopt new ideas.

Q. What is your background?
I grew up and went to school in Wellington, but my business background is as an entrepreneur in Japan, where I spent most of 18 years after graduating in commerce from Otago University back in the late ’80s. Coming back to Dunedin, New Zealand, to form Lifetime Health Diary in 2010 was actually my first experience of building a company here.

Q. How has the business grown?
It took two years to be able to build an initial product and develop the necessary connections to be able to get our first client. That was a tough two years.

Q. How have you found working in Dunedin?
The ‘‘two degrees of separation’’ was invaluable, as was the approachability of people here. The difficulty as you grow is the small size of the market and the relatively small number of top­ level professionals available in areas such as programming.

Q. How has the recession affected your business?
Healthcare is a relatively recession-­proof business in terms of the general economy, however New Zealand healthcare has effectively had its own recession with continual cuts to spending across the board from Wellington to all DHBs.

Q. What other challenges have you faced?
A technology venture starting from nothing and initially without an income source faces every challenge imaginable in business, but at an order of magnitude more intense. It is not for the faint­hearted, but it is incredibly enriching and rewarding as you see progress take place.

Q. What are your plans for the future?
For Lifetime Health Diary to lead what becomes an industry standard around better healthcare data expression, and open that data up to where it needs to be, for those that need to see it.

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