With her office deserted now flu season is over, Medicine alumnus Dr Kirsten Baulch smiles nostalgically and muses about how far she’s come since her days of running an office of just one.
“People often have great ideas that they’re passionate about that don’t always work out as businesses,” she starts.
“So I feel I’ve been incredibly lucky to have been successful on my first try. I don’t think even Richard Branson dreamed of all his success from his first home in a little houseboat on the Thames!”
The GP, mother and entrepreneur has provided a literal shot in the arm for workplaces through her business, Medimobile.
Over three months each year, the Brisbane-based company administers more than 220,000 flu vaccinations in workplaces across Australia and New Zealand.
The idea for this ‘clinic on wheels’, which has twice appeared on the Business Review Weekly’s 100 fastest-growing companies list, came while Dr Baulch was working as a GP registrar in Brisbane.
“Lots of my patients were time-poor executives who complained about waiting times and often asked if I could come to them,” Dr Baulch explains.
“So I cold-called about 40 businesses to understand whether a mobile medical service was of interest. They asked for flu shots and within a few weeks we were operating in Brisbane and interstate.”
Dr Baulch says innovative IT has been a major factor in Medimobile’s success.
“I’ve spent lots on software development as it helps us to systematically and reliably vaccinate a large number of patients in a matter of weeks, without compromising on customer service, quality or safety.
“It’s important to keep innovating, so for Medimobile that means relevant, customised apps for patients and staff, and a contemporary website.”
Another innovative touch was Dr Baulch’s decision to make philanthropy a core component of Medimobile from its inception.
“We decided to build giving and generosity into our business model, rather than wait until Medimobile was successful to become philanthropic. We donate $1 of our profit from every vaccination to World Vision health projects.
“Lots of these projects have involved educating healthcare workers and providing vaccinations and other basic health necessities to children and their families. I’ll admit it was quite hard to give away $1 per vaccination in the early years before I was getting a salary from the business!”
The Medimobile modus operandi seems to revolve around these dual themes of fostering human wellbeing and innovation.
Medimobile resembles a close-knit family unit, from safety reminder stickers on sharps disposal bins to having a team of GPs available to take calls from staff and patients.
“The best advice I’ve received has been to look after your staff as you would your best customer. I try to create a work environment and conditions that make working for us a pleasure, employ the best people I can and empower them to do their job.