Data is becoming the future of healthcare. And that’s exactly why Sydney-based startup Health Bank was founded. In 2019 entrepreneur Steven Arthur and clinical dietitian Robbie Clark teamed up with the goal of creating a cetralised place that would bringing health data together and create personalised programs for preventative care.

“I want a system of healthcare where we’re able to make informed decisions in a very efficient timeframe, perhaps up to a point of real time,” says Arthur. “In order to do that, we have to be able to analyse all those sources of information almost instantly.

“That will allow patients to make much better decisions. It’s your health information being utilised for your own benefit.”

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Arthur and Clark first connected in 2018, when Clark began working out of Desk Space, the collaborative Darlinghurst work space founded by Arthur. Clark was working on a precursor to Health Bank that gathered data via symptom-based questionnaires and diaries. While that approach prioritised the honest and transparent qualities that the pair value, they found the manual entry of information eventually makes patients lose interest.

So when the pair started over again with Health Bank in 2019, their aim was to remove as much friction as possible. “We want to create the most frictionless healthcare system on the planet,” Arthur says. “No one should have to engage with their health program every day – it should be doing stuff in the background and surfacing information at times when it has the most value.”

Health Bank also puts patients directly in touch with specialists for personalised diagnosis and treatment. When you search for the practitioner suited to your needs, your specialist’s rates and available appointments are clearly visible. It’s a bi-directional resource as well, connecting practitioners directly with patients. Practitioners can securely access vital information without using email, text or other insecure forms of communication, and patient data is not shared, sold, or visible to anyone else in the company.

Health Bank is free for practitioners, and its ease of use is designed to combat the alarming churn rate – largely due to burnout and insufficient income – within the medical field since the start of the pandemic.
“We’re trying to take away all the administration and give them a free piece of software to use that’s more advanced than the status quo,” says Arthur. “Patients get much more time and attention than in primary care, and a much more advanced level of treatment.”

Besides drawing on Clark’s extensive medical training, Health Bank benefits from Arthur’s diverse entrepreneurial know-how. Arthur founded Desk Space in 2009 to provide a teeming ecosystem for creatives that would encourage collaboration and organic exchanges of talent. That includes Arthur himself, who has helped build no fewer than seven different startups since Desk Space’s inception.

“The idea was to use it as a sandbox to create other ideas, in partnership with other likeminded people,” Arthur says. “I wanted people to use Desk Space not to hire, but to engage others that have expertise.”

Inspired by several business coaches when he was younger, Arthur now finds himself mentoring other entrepreneurs at Desk Space in an unofficial capacity. When Particular Audience founder James Taylor grew his company to the point of needing its own office space, Arthur advised Taylor on exactly what to ask for when negotiating his lease.

“If somebody outgrows the space, that’s a metric of success,” he says. “The by-product isn’t our occupancy: it’s about what we’ve created. Seeing any of the members succeed is what drives me.”

Despite technically still being in its beta version, Health Bank has grown in leaps and bounds. The business grew more than 500 per cent across 2023, and it will soon launch a shopfront section offering some 4000 products, including various home-testing kits. It’s on app stores and is connecting more patients and practitioners every day. It might be one of a handful of companies that Arthur is involved in right now, but it is quickly rising to the top of that select crop.

“Health Bank has probably now taken pole position,” says Arthur. “It’s quite a complex project. I really want to have some impact here. I love Desk Space and it’s still my baby, but I want to get Health Bank to the point where it’s having a real impact at a population level.”

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Desk Space.