Let’s take a quick introduction of Dr. Joel Arun Sursas before we start our questions with him today. Joel Arun is a Medical Doctor with an interest in Health Informatics. As the Head of Clinical Affairs at Biorithm – a Singaporean startup, he works with engineers to revolutionize obstetric care through telemonitoring. Dr. Joel Arun oversees Clinical IT requirements as well as plans and governs clinical trials, which are underway in Singapore, Australia, and the United Kingdom. He also designs and tests the fidelity of the medical mobile/web applications around their device. Finally, he plans his implementation strategy within hospitals’ local infrastructure and ensures that they achieve compliance with international and local regulatory standards which govern data protection and protected health information.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a medical doctor who is excited about medical technology in the form of novel medical devices and niche medical software applications. Currently, I head clinical affairs at Biorithm, a medical technology startup that aims to revolutionize fetal surveillance in the form of a non-invasive fetal ECG device.
What makes you different than other professionals in your field?
I have experience as a clinician as well as a health informatician. I wear two hats at the same time and enjoy communicating and engaging with professionals from healthcare as well as from technological startups and firms.
How much potential market share can you achieve in the next 3 years?
Our device is intended for use in high-risk pregnancies as prescribed by the physician. Pregnant mothers at a gestational age of 28 weeks onwards can be monitored remotely in the comfort of their home for fetal distress. We are looking at Australia, the EU, and the UK as our primary markets.
What was the most important part of your professional journey?
The learning. In medical school, most of the learning was academic and facilitated by placements in various specialties within a hospital. Most of my education in the past 3 years in the health technology space has been on-the-go and dynamic. In other words, it was experiential learning, and the learning curve was very steep. The biggest takeaway has to be in learning how to communicate with engineers and implementation consultants effectively; the lingo is very different from that in the medical stratosphere.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
My best purchase so far has to have been in postgraduate education. I’m currently dually enrolled in Harvard Medical School’s Safety, Quality, Leadership, and Informatics program and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Masters in Applied Health Science Informatics program. After gaining experience in the health technology space, I wanted to develop myself professionally and gain insights into all the niche aspects of health IT.
The worst purchase I’ve ever made is probably my Kindle. I bought it because I always read in my free time, especially when I’m on the go. However, I found that I simply enjoy the feeling of holding a real book and feeling its pages ruffle. So, the Kindle has been a white elephant for the past 2 years!
What takes up too much of your time?
Writing! I firmly believe in remaining clinically relevant, and so I’m always up to my knees in medical research and freelance medical writing. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I find it useful in keeping abreast with the ever-changing medical landscape.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
My CEO Amrish Nair – he is an engineer by training and was inspired to embark on this medical startup journey right out of graduate school. I find it remarkable that he has managed to bring our company so far in just 4 years. I am always in awe when I accompany him to engagements with potential investors and key opinion leaders in Obstetrics; his communication skills are unparalleled.
What drives you to keep going when it’s really tough?
Literature. Books and movies always inspire me; my study is strategically designed with movie-size posters from The Shawshank Redemption, Unbroken, and Star Wars. Whenever I am going through a tough break, I find myself recanting inspiring quotes from these movies which have a special place in my heart. “Do or do not. There is no try.”
How should people connect with you?
I prefer meeting people in person – there’s a lot you can tell about someone beyond a screen. Otherwise, I am connectible on LinkedIn!