We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

click clinic

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

Think Hailo, but for healthcare.

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

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 Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / 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.

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.

READ: These young food entrepreneurs want to change how you think about butter >

READ: How two students saved enough food for 325,000 meals from the rubbish >

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.