Doctorpreneurs of Doctology is pleased this week to showcase an interview with Dr Robert Laidlaw.
Robert is a young medical professional with a keen interest in technology and data science.
He has recently completed four years working as a Neurosurgical registrar and has now taken the plunge in the health tech startup domain.
His hobbies include anything outdoors, EV’s and social justice. He has also shared the past ten years of his life with a very masculine chihuahua named Chase.
What organisation / startup did you found?
We are building Australia’s first blockchain digital health solution. Secure Health Chain incorporated on the 10th of April 2018 and raised $100k from like-minded visionaries in just 7 days!
Born in Wollongong, New South Wales, we will be progressively rolling out our exciting new platform that will accelerate the uptake of digital health in Australia and overseas and complement the existing system by focusing on the user interface and security.
What is its noble purpose?
Our vision is to solve health’s greatest challenges by connecting the health data of every person on earth.
We also believe that even one single data breach is unacceptable and that people have the right to ensure their data is kept securely. These two key features form the basis of our company motto - “always connected & always secure”.
Tell me about the first 10 years of your life?
I am a country kid born in the outback Queensland town of Goondiwindi. My family moved to the regional town of Horsham in Victoria when I was 5.
What age were you when you had your first paying job? What was it?
My taste for entrepreneurism developed at a young age of around ten. After school, I would collect horse manure in a wheelbarrow and fill old chaff bags and sell them to our neighbours for $5 a pop. I still remember the day I sold my tenth bag and scored my first ever $50 note.
What made you want to be a Doctor and what speciality did you choose?
It is difficult to answer that without a cringe-worthy cliche thus will defer to the second part.
My chosen path was Neurosurgery and I have worked four years in Sydney and Wollongong as a registrar in this field.
Neurosurgery has a great balance of medicine, surgery, critical care and technology which keeps things fast paced and interesting.
What made you want to be an Entrepreneur? When exactly did you decide?
I have always possessed entrepreneurial traits, from selling lollies in the boarding house at Ballarat Grammar to the horse saddlery business I ran as a 12-year-old, I guess it must be genetic?
Following a life-changing personal event back in 2014 I began looking at alternative careers. Technology and gadgets have always been the centre of my world.
Are you still practicing as a Doctor now? If yes do you intend to stop if your organisation takes off?
I continue to work as a locum in Neurosurgery and some emergency shifts close to home.
The demands of my company are rapidly increasing and I aim to soon focus completely on it until it reaches a more established state.
My best milestone for success with my startup will be the day that my mother stops asking me how many locum shifts I will be doing this coming week.
Why do you think traditionally many Doctors struggle with entrepreneurship?
This was spoken about in great detail at last year's Creative Careers in Medicine conference I attended in Sydney.
Often, those of us who don’t follow the traditional medical training pathways are viewed upon as black sheep. I believe this stigma for taking the path less travelled is one of the reasons for this struggle.
What is your favourite quote?
"Every great journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". Lao Tzu.
What would you do in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse?
Take my chihuahua named Chase back to Magnetic Island in far north Queensland - he really likes it out there.