Doctorpreneurs: Dr Tom Rolley

This week's Doctorpreneur of Doctology is Dr Tom Rolley.

Tom is a GP working in Mullumbimby and is passionate about transitioning medicine to a more functional way of using the overwhelming amount of medical information currently available.

He is a proponent of just-in-time medicine, modelled from the learnings of lean manufacturing and development processes. Hence he created GraduateMedicine.

The target is for GPs to have critical medical information available at the point of care to combine with their experience and intuition and the specific presentation of that patient to facilitate better outcomes from the consultation.

What organisation / startup did you found?


What is its noble purpose? Help overcome the challenge of medicine in 21st Century - too much information.

Tell me about the first 10 years of your life?

I was born in Perth and my father was in the RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service) as an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, my mum was a Physiotherapist. We moved back to Brisbane when I was one.

The eldest of four children, I played piano, lots of lego and rode my bike around the suburbs. I grew up close to Daniel, and his dad was an Orthopaedic Surgeon.

At ten years of life pivoted rather dramatically as my father got a chronic pain injury to his lingual nerve.

What age were you when you had your first paying job? What was it? I was 20 years old and it was as a tennis coach.

What made you want to be a Doctor and what specialty did you choose? Why? Medicine is in the family and I was heavily rewarded for aiming to be a doctor from a young age.

I chose General Practice after learning the cost of some specialties like Obstetrics and Gynaecology and in 2005 discovered acupuncture and then rehab, and General Practice opened up as the path forward.

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

As my parents divorced over money, I got given Rich Dad, Poor Dad by a family friend. It essentially lays out the three paths - stocks, real estate and business.

Technology had always been fascinating to me, having my first computer at 12 years old, an Amstrad 3086. Internet marketing showed up in my world around 2005-2006 and after seeing some business coaches, my wife and I ended up buying a Bloomtools franchise.

After a few weeks something in my soul told me I should return to medicine. In 2014 I did my exams and got my acupuncture qualifications, all the way through thinking there must be a better way to study, instead of the same set of notes, same set of material.

My wife bet me a carton of beer I would not start GraduateMedicine. I won the bet.

Are you still practicing as a Doctor now? If yes, do you intend to stop if the organisation takes off?

Yes, I still practice three days a week. I would not give this up as I generally like seeing patients, the authenticity of actually being at the coal face and I want to lead what I live. Why do you think traditionally many Doctors struggle with entrepreneurship? Or at least they are perceived to? It is hard! In many general practices, there is in an inbuilt demand so the need to learn or know something new is not always there. However, my life got fundamentally changed so much by not being on point with money and business that I felt like I needed to know these skills.

A major challenge for me has been letting go. In medicine I get to control so much, so the challenge is how do I move into a set of skills that has me continually let go for others to do the work.

What is your favourite quote?

"You have no idea how far this path will take you".

Garrett J White.

What would you do in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse? Jump in a 52 ft mono hull, grab my family, my closest friends, fishing lines and fall in love (again) with sashimi for lunch.

You can find out more about GraduateMedicine at

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