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This young entrepreneur thinks her idea can help fix Ireland’s flawed health model

Think Hailo, but for healthcare.

Image: #IBYE/YouTube

AS AN ATHLETE who wore the Irish national colours in basketball and represented her native Donegal in inter-county GAA competitions, Ellevyn Irwin was a regular visitor to the physiotherapists’  practice rooms.

“Most of the time I rang up to see a physio they said ‘I’m busy, come back next week’,” she said.

“People ring when they’re in need, they want to see someone then and there – people don’t call up their GP and say that they’re going to be sick in 2 weeks.”

But from that frustration was born what would become her launchpad into the world of entrepreneurship, Click Clinic.

The concept is to link clients with non-serious conditions with their nearest, available healthcare providers through an app.

The GPs, physiotherapists and other health professionals would then come direct to the client after the patient made a choice based on user feedback and practitioners’ areas of expertise.

“It’s a bit like Hailo, but for healthcare professionals,” Irwin told TheJournal.ie.

At the moment, people have to go online and search for healthcare professionals, which I think is inconvenient – healthcare should be at the fingertips of the people who need it, it should be one click.”

The app would also handle the payment process, while healthcare workers would receive higher fees than for a standard consultation to compensate them for their travel time.

The big business kickstart

The 25-year-old said she had been carrying the idea for a few years, but it wasn’t until she recently heard a radio advertisement for the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition that she was given a kickstart to transform the concept into a startup plan.

“I just didn’t know how to go about it; I wouldn’t have had a business if it wasn’t for that ad,” she said.

Irwin, who represents the Local Enterprise Office in Donegal, is among 24 finalists in the running for the title, and a share of a total €2 million investment pool available to the range of startup and established businesses.

Ireland's Best Young Entre Irwin, centre, with two other finalists from the IBYE competition Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Something wrong with the healthcare model

Irwin is now based in Dublin, where she has been studying physiotherapy at Trinity College after earlier finishing an economics and finance degree at UCD.

She said both the HSE and practitioners were losing millions each year because patients failed to turn up for appointments, but her idea would cut the need for waiting lists and offer more business to practitioners.

“There is something seriously wrong with the whole healthcare model.”

She plans to have a bare-bones product ready for launch in late January and, for now, she was focusing only on the physiotherapy market in Dublin.

Source: Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur #IBYE/YouTube

But by September Irwin expects to have other healthcare professionals signed up and within 3 years she wants to be running in London, and in New York 2 years later.

More information about the IBYE competition and other finalists is on the award’s website.

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