Hibernian Health Check brings a new dimension to home testing

Medtech newcomer Hibernian Health Check aims to shave weeks off potential cancer diagnoses and reduce transcription errors to zero.

As co-founder and chief commercial officer Steve Hartnett explains it, while Hibernian Health Check (HHC) is a newcomer to the Irish medtech sector the team have more than 30 years’ combined experience in the medical laboratory sector managing the likes of LetsGetChecked, WebDoctor, HSE, NHS and hundreds of other private clients.

“Since late 2020, we have been operating a B2B line as an outsourced service provider for laboratories worldwide and connecting clinics and hospitals in an integrated way never seen before.”

“We want to help our customers get access to easy, accurate and swift medical test results so they can take ownership of their own health”

The business has been working on a direct-to-consumer home testing solution fo the Irish market for two years and launched it in recent weeks.

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“We want to help our customers get access to easy, accurate and swift medical test results so they can take ownership of their own health,” says Hartnett.

“While we aren’t looking to replace GPs, the current timeframe for someone looking to get a general check-up is too long – our service can help fix that. By taking your own sample using our kit, you will receive an informative report with accurate results, easy to understand descriptions and actionable recommendations to improve where necessary.”

Hartnett envisages that Hibernian Health Check’s main customer base will be between 25 and 55 but this will change depending on the test offering.

“While we are launching in Ireland, we will be bringing this venture international. We are launching with our vitality test which looks at common biomarkers known to effect energy levels, mood and fatigue – Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Folate, Ferritin and a Thyroid test are all included. Over the coming months, we will be including tests that look at fertility, perimenopause, menopause, heart health, food sensitivity, gut health and more.”

To access the service, potential customers can go to the company’s website and choose the test that best suits the area they’re looking to monitor and improve.

“They can then purchase the kit as if it were a normal ecommerce item and usually next day will receive the package. We include all the components needed as well as detailed written and video instructions. Our Customer Support team are also on hand to help guide anyone through the process. Once we receive the samples, we’ll get them to our partner lab for analysis. After we receive the results, our clinical team will review what has been received and make recommendations from there. The customer will then receive an easily comprehendible report.”

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The founding team includes CEO Patrick Clarke, CIO Jihad Elbasir and CCO Steve Hartnett.

Clarke has been involved in medical testing and supply for his whole professional career. Having worked in the commercial sector of Ireland’s two private laboratories, he brings a wealth of industry knowledge as well as the drive behind the company’s vision.

“Jihad runs the most critical aspect of our business, our IT and Technology infrastructure. An exceptionally talented individual who has progressed us past any of our competitors and helped delight our existing B2B customer base – this experience will now be used to provide a top-tier service to our direct-to-consumer model.”

Hartnett is responsible for the sales, marketing and customer support of HHC. Having come from working with large multinationals such as Apple and Microsoft, he has dedicated the past seven years to medical testing in the Irish and UK markets.

“The driving factor behind us making the decision to move away from stable jobs and founding our own enterprise without external funding was the synergy we have between us,” Hartnett said.

“We each bring a different element and personality to discussions and decisions which allows us to view a situation from multiple angles. We each have a passion for process and experience improvement which has led to the success of our B2B division, we’re now going to enter the direct to consumer market with this resolve.”

Harnett said that the range of supports available to Irish start-ups is impressive. “We’ve engaged with Enterprise Ireland, HealthTech Ireland, Intertrade Ireland and recently the Health Innovation Hub. Each entity has been able to bring various supports in the form of advice, introductions and more. Had Ireland not had the appetite for start-up success that it is known for, there would have been a lot more trepidation before making the leap. We’re still learning as we grow, but I can’t think of a better place to do it.”

He said the business is currently engaged in discussions around partnerships of various forms. “We were able to secure enough B2B business upon formation that allowed us to setup, run and expand without the need for any external funding or seed capital.”

In terms of start-up lessons, the fundamental lesson so far is: “Do not underestimate the importance of customer support and true account management. We’ve seen the heartache, frustration and bewilderment that accompanies a poor customer experience and it has helped form the direction of our company. The customer comes first is not a new concept, but something we feel has been lost in recent years – we’re bringing it back.”

His advice to fellow founders:

  • Research – “Don’t jump in blindly and hope for the best, research your target market and make sure you’re bringing something new, or improving something that already exists.”
  • Passion – “If you’re not passionate about what you want to do or why you want to do it, don’t bother. You’ll only end up unfulfilled and unhappy.”
  • Partners – “I can only speak for our experience but surround yourself with people that challenge you to be your best. This goes for your entire workforce – each of us needs someone else behind or beside us driving us forward.”
John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.