SiSU Health is one of our industry partners. Founder of SiSu Health, Dr Noel Duncan shares the story of the company he founded in 2014.
Tell us about SiSU Health?
SiSU Health was founded with a pretty simple, but big, mission; to help people live a healthy life. We do this through the SiSU Health Station – a self-serve, internet-enabled Class IIa medical device that allows individuals to undertake a free, self-service health check and track their health over time.
To date, more than 1.3 million Australians have completed 3.6 million health checks on SiSU Health Stations located in all States and Territories.
We believe this is the biggest preventative health program run in the country and in partnership with Wesfarmers Health, who recently became a majority owner, we are looking to scale this even more significantly.
Our goal is to take more stations into the community and incorporate more sophistication into our mobile app to ensure we help improve the health of as many Australians as we can.
Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer of Australians and the biggest risk factor for CVD and stroke is blood pressure – we believe providing every Australian with the ability to monitor their blood pressure throughout their life will save lives
How do your health stations help improve the health of Australians?
A lot of people can’t, or don’t, engage with the healthcare system so we are trying to remove the barriers of time and cost by making health checks free and accessible in every community – such as pharmacies, supermarkets, workplaces and PHNs – so every individual is able to participate in a check that will help them improve their own health and wellbeing.
To date, these checks have largely focused on physical health measures such as heart rate, blood pressure, body fat and body weight and BMI.
In conjunction with the DHCRC and Swinburne University, we have a PhD student, Zhao Hui Koh, exploring how we can flex the engagement power of our health stations in measuring physical health to open a conversation with an individual about their mental health and wellbeing.
All current mental health assessments only measure illness and not wellness. The ambition of the PhD is to develop a holistic, personalised and evidence-based assessment that allows people to understand their physical and mental wellbeing, the interplay between them and provide the tools to better self-care. If successful, we believe that it will be a world-first.
You must have a lot of data/insight into the health of Australians?
Yes. Because we’ve developed a whole new way of engaging the population at scale, he de-identified data from those health checks is unique and unprecedented.
As a case in point, I’m confident that we were the first and probably only organisation in Australia to accurately sense and measure material inflections in both behaviour and risk during COVID lockdowns. We detected significant increases in weight, type 2 diabetes risk, blood pressure, smoking and perceived stress long before peak health bodies or government were able to. In fact, because the last National Health Survey was done purely online due to COVID, no blood pressure or BMI was measured. Yet, in the same survey period, we measured more than 265,000 blood pressure and BMI measures across every state and territory.
Our numbers show that COVID lockdowns have a very long-tail; we’re still not back to the health risk rates of 2019 and our members have recorded more than 80,000 kgs of net weight gain since the middle of 2020.
What has been your relationship with DHCRC?
We’ve been involved with the DHCRC since the very beginning – providing supporting documents to the initial pitch to establish the DHCRC, giving an SME perspective. Our enthusiasm was really around the opportunity to make an impact at scale and bring genuine evidence-based disruption to the (digital) health industry. We’ve also shared a joint passion broaden the support network of an individual beyond the traditional means of getting healthcare support.
What we are doing is ground-breaking and unique globally. As the only Class IIa medical device (health station) in the country, we have an Australian innovation that is manufactured locally and Australian-owned. Collaborating with DHCRC and other industry participants to maximise our reach is critical to our success.
What’s next for SiSU Health?
We are really focused on scaling preventative healthcare solutions. Less than 2% of the government health budget is spent on preventative health measures. If we don’t start to think about prevention, the cost burden will continue to spiral exponentially out of control.
We also need to address the health inequalities in this country and equity of access and as business we are striving to do that by providing free health checks for as many individuals as possible so they can take ownership and control of their own health.
We believe enhancing the health of an individual will lead to positive outcomes not only for that individual, but the community and broader society.
In partnership with Wesfarmers Health, we are looking to substantially grow our network of over 500 health stations in the community so we can measure, in a longitudinal manner, the changes at an individual and community level so the healthcare system can deliver more specific health interventions. Ultimately, our goal is to enable every Australian to have a free health check.