Interviews Start-up stories

Diego Menchaca on Digital Health and Entrepreneurship “How to turn the smartphone into an effective clinical data capture tool for researchers”

Diego Menchaca
CEO and Founder of TeamScope

ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP
You are the founder of Teamscope, a start-up originated in Chile. You have developed a data capture application for clinical research collecting high quality data at the bedside and analyses it with a few clicks. Where is the idea coming from? 

I got the idea after having a conversation with an emergency medicine specialist who was interested in clinical research, he opened my eyes to how challenging and painful data collection can be, especially in hectic settings like emergency medicine. This doctor was doing all of the data collection for his research with paper forms, after long days of work he would have to sit down in his spare time to transcribe the data from paper to excel and once all of the data had been collected, analyze it. It was clear to me that unless data collection was made rewarding and fulfilling, clinical research would be always relegated.  Something needed to be done.

How did you get started with your solution and teamscope ?
The majority of hospitals around the world are not yet digitized, yet health workers almost ubiquitously carry with them a smartphone with them all day at work. The idea was how could we turn the smartphone into an effective clinical data capture tool for researchers, something they can use while at bed-side with the patient or even in moments when they would have no internet connection, that gave birth to Teamscope

Can you share where it is used for now ? and share some of the success stories you are most proud of?
Teamscope is used today all around the world by hundreds of researchers every month. We have users in both developed settings, like the Netherlands, as well as in rural villages in Tanzania. We have supported studies with over 2,000 patients. A researcher from Chile that is using Teamscope at a neonatal intensive care unit recently sent me a message to tell how happy she was with our app. Before her data collection was all on paper forms, now it’s on the cloud. With Teamscope not only can she say goodbye to the nightmares of paper forms but she is able to get faster insights on the data of her patients and make her research a painless task.

What are the main challenges you faced as a start-up to start selling the solution successfully within your market?
Product development hasn’t been easy, a data capture platform should be flexible enough so any researcher can configure it to match their study design. Study protocols come in all shapes and sizes, so it certainly has been an interesting engineering challenge creating a robust research platform that fits in your pocket.

You are located at the NovioTech campus here in Nijmegen. How did you get to know them and how are they supporting you?
I came here in 2015 after being selected in Rockstart Digital Health Accelerator, the program was based here in the Novio Tech Campus. My reason to stay has been simply because I love this city and because of  the great support I receive from the Novio Tech Campus and different organizations that work here, like Health Valley and Briskr.

ABOUT YOUR LIFE
How did you get into the this medical tech industry?
As a child I always had a fascination for medicine and particularly plastic surgery, it was in my top 3 career choices. When the time came to choose a university study I decided to pursue business mainly because of my passion for entrepreneurship. I kept my interest for medicine dormant until I had that discussion about clinical research with that doctor, then without much planning I have found myself working in the intersection of technology and medicine.

What is your goal in life coming 5 to 10 years?
Not very sure in the next 5 years, but in the next 10 years I would love to go to space.

How do you keep a good work life balance with your work and personal life?
Being a start-up founder is a lifestyle in itself, and that means that there are no working hours, no such thing as leaving work challenges at the office or being able to completely disconnect from work. Now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s a lifestyle choice and it comes with great benefits, like being able to custom design the life that makes you happy. In 2017 I left Nijmegen and went to Bhutan to work from there for 4 months, that freedom to me is invaluable and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Books recommended by Diego Menchaca:

If you want to learn more about Teamscope have a look at https://www.teamscope.co/

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