At the core of any business is solving a problem. And the bigger the problem, the bigger the business opportunity. Having worked as a GP in the aged care sector for the past 12 years, I’m no stranger to the problems our industry faces.
My business partner Dr Sebastian Rees and I built GenWise Health – an online medical platform for health professionals – in response to a feeling of frustration with the status quo in aged care.
Working as GPs in residential aged care, we found existing back-end admin systems to be inefficient and time consuming. A backlog of paperwork was making it difficult for fellow GPs to work efficiently and find time to visit elderly patients, or worse pushing them out of the sector altogether. Having experienced these frustrations first-hand, Seb and I realised we could be the ones to provide a solution for it. We found we could resolve GPs’ efficiency problems while simultaneously solving residential aged care facilities’ issue of not having enough GPs to regularly treat their residents.
The first step was identifying that common problem. Once we knew what we were solving for, we were able to build the business around this. The GenWise platform empowers more GPs to work in aged care by offering greater flexibility, autonomy and purpose.
Find the gap
Ideas come in various forms, many of which have the potential to be turned into good businesses. Focusing on finding a gap in the market is missing the wood for the trees. Opportunities are all around us and all it takes is for us to make the time and space to see them.
When contemplating an idea, first ask yourself whose problem you are solving. Then decide if the solution to that problem is valuable enough for someone to purchase or use. This is crucial and can be your edge over competitors.
The next step is to act! Ideas and visions are nothing without action. The next big tech innovation could be written on a napkin in an engineer’s drawer as she continues to work on repairing widgets.
Bridge the gap with tech
We found technology was the ideal way to streamline our industry. The GenWise platform connects doctors to each other and to their patients. The tools we use are not unique or especially advanced; mobile broadband, video conferencing, instant messaging apps and cloud-based storage are tools that all businesses can use to streamline their services.
The power comes in what these technologies allow us to do. Technology can solve problems that were previously too expensive or time consuming to consider.
Our doctors are able to communicate in real time, to ask for advice and collaborate on difficult clinical situations. This leads to better patient care, as multiple medical brains can consider health problems.
We’re able to bring our clinic, including health data, to patients, wherever they are. This mobilises the medical workforce like we have not seen since the 1950s, when doctors did home visits. I find it amusing and delightful that technology is bringing back the good ol’ days.
Distil your purpose
Finding a gap in the market, launching the next big idea and building a business is so much easier when your purpose is clear and ethical. In his book Start With Why, motivational speaker and marketing consultant Simon Sinek talks about the value of a clear sense of company purpose to both staff and consumers. While the fundamentals of business should never be overlooked, neither should the purpose – the two are critical for success. And that’s something we’ve certainly experienced at GenWise.
Ours is a purpose-driven, ethics-based business. This makes the long nights and early mornings easier, but it also makes for great business. Our staff feel the joy, our customers reap the benefits, patients are better treated and we’re a stronger, more stable company for it.
In 2017, we were awarded Telstra Australian Business of the Year for our innovation, purpose, and passion for meeting a need in a growing sector – which just proves that finding a gap in the market and using tech to solve it can really pay off.
About the author
Dr Troye Wallett is co-founder of GenWise Health, a Telstra Business Awards winner. In 2013, along with fellow GP Dr Sebastian Rees, Troye established GenWise to provide a more structured and efficient model of care for General Practitioners (GPs) caring for patients in residential aged care.