💬 Doctorpreneurs: Dr Senq J Lee 👨‍⚕️

What organisation / startup do you lead?

I am the Chief Medical Officer and member of the Clinical Advisory Board for Olinqua – a MedTech company focused on bringing ingenuity, simplicity, humanity and better collaboration to the health industry, improving staff and patient experiences.

Outside of Olinqua, I am a Consultant Paediatric Rheumatologist and Paediatrician. I am the Head of Department of Rheumatology, Metabolic Medicine and Complex Pain Services at Perth Children’s Hospital, Western Australia.

I am passionate about keeping kids and adolescents healthy, happy, and active. Finally, I am also a tennis tragic.

What is Olinqua's noble purpose? Olinqua’s purpose is simple - drive organisational benefits while improving the individual experience of staff, customers, and visitors in hospitals. We know quality care for positive patient outcomes has an empowered and supportive healthcare workforce at its core.

Olinqua closes the bridge between clinical communications and collaboration gap that exists between systems. In other words, Olinqua provides the right message, to the right people at the right time.

The result is a truly automated and integrated staff and patient centric experience.

Tell us about the first 10 years of your life?

I was born in Ipoh, Malaysia. English was not my first language and we came from humble beginnings, often staying in semi-remote villages (known as “kampungs”).

Our family migrated to Perth, Western Australia when I was eight years old. My first friends in primary school introduced me to John Farnham and we pretended to be him and his band members.

My mum said when I was a child, I wanted to become a doctor, so I could buy a house for her to live in.

What age were you when you had your first paying job? What was it? I worked as a waiter and bartender at Windows Restaurant in Burswood, and at Chunagon, Fremantle (both are closed now) when I was 17 years-old.

From these early work experiences, I learned the importance of good team work and communication skills.

What made you want to be a Doctor? Why? I enjoy my job as I love treating kids and seeing them thrive and remain healthy, so they can enjoy their childhood without pain or symptoms.

I trained as a Paediatrician at Princess Margaret Hospital, followed by completing my Fellowship in Paediatric Rheumatology at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto.

An overseas fellowship allowed me to learn from the best in the industry around the world, preparing me to be a clinician who can treat and support kids as best as I can.

Like all of the team members at Olinqua, I love technology and am passionate about giving back to the community in the most effective way, via the healthcare sector.

There are many inefficiencies and tasks that still exist in the hospital/healthcare sector that could be improved with digital technology.

What made you want to follow an alternative route? When exactly did you decide?

As a clinician in a hospital, it surprised me that in this era, in the healthcare sector, there are many issues that cause inefficiency or time wasting, which could be improved or solved through the implementation of digital health innovations/products.

Examples of inefficiencies include communication with obsolete products like pagers, manual task allocation without confirmation, using paper forms for different tasks, plus reliance on manual methods to complete tasks e.g. ringing switchboard to contact a staff member.

Imagine an automated tracking of vital assets/equipment, so you do not have to spend time looking for them from one end of the hospital to the other. When it comes to responding to incidents or calls, imagine hospital wide messaging, triggers for protocols, code information and traceable follow up care for effective reactions and management. These are some examples on how technology can empower us to focus on patient care.

Are you still practicing now? If yes, do you intend to stop if the organisation or project takes off?

Yes, I still practice both in the public sector (Perth Children’s Hospital, Western Australia) and in the private rooms. I do not intend to cease practicing as a doctor as I truly enjoy my job!

I have a passion for children’s healthcare, but also wish to improve the work life of staff that work in health services, to ensure they can provide the most optimal and safe patient care.

Both my work as a Paediatrician and the Chief Medical Officer of Olinqua allows me to live out both passions.

Why do you think traditionally many healthcare professionals struggle with entrepreneurship? Or at least they are perceived to?

A big element of entrepreneurship is innovation – the ability to think outside of the box and find ways to do things better, more efficient, and effective for everyone. To be able to do that, you need time to explore your innovative ideas, support, and specific resources. These challenges are not isolated to only doctors when it comes to starting or doing something entrepreneurial.

There is always an opportunity for anyone, whether it be senior health providers or any members of staff, to identify needs and find a method to improve or resolve that need. There is, however, a concern that engaging in external jobs may potentially cause perceived conflicts of interest with their current role. Organisations can help staff by encouraging or promoting innovation by creating a culture of exploring ideas and to innovate fearlessly.

What is your favourite quote?

“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome".

Patch Adams (Robin Williams).

What would you do in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse?

I would stick with Rick Grimes and his crew to fight off the Walking Dead, try to help to develop a vaccine (perhaps with Pfizer or Moderna), and definitely avoid taking a Train to Busan.

You can find out more about Olinqua here: