We talked to Benjamin Jeongwon Ryu of Healcerion on how to bring affordable, high-quality medical care to clinical and remote locations around the world and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Benjamin Jeongwon Ryu: Luckily, we are doing all good. My wife is an epidemiology investigator. We do both having a hectic time. My close friends, people at work are all safe and healthy so far.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Healcerion.
Benjamin Jeongwon Ryu: I studied electronic engineering as well as physics at Seoul National University for a full scholarship, I went to a Medical school in my mid-30s, and are studying Neuroscience PhD course later at KAIST.
Once, I have worked at an emergency centre in a hospital. I realized the importance of accurate, timely diagnostic tests and actionable information. So I have developed portable wireless ultrasound devices and started this business.
I focused on making the device as small and light as possible and checking the images on mobile devices for faster and remote diagnosis. Hence, it is useable anytime, anywhere in the world.
How does Healcerion innovate?
Benjamin Jeongwon Ryu: Through mobile technology, we aim to bring affordable, high-quality medical care to clinics and remote locations around the world. Compare to the conventional high-end ultrasound devices. It reduced the price to the approximate weight of a tenth and a hundredth down. And it obtained another level of convenience of use by utilizing mobile application, compatible with both android and iOS connecting by built-in wi-fi.
And we continue to upgrade the device, significantly improving the image’s quality for an accurate diagnosis.
Further to these advantages, our goal is to build a smart digital healthcare platform to benefit developing countries with a lack of medical facilities, healthcare professionals, and access to the services.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Benjamin Jeongwon Ryu: Fortunately, we were select as a World Bank procurement project vendor for covid-19 emergency response. We are committed to providing responsive and flexible support to the World Bank and borrower countries worldwide. With our portable wireless ultrasound, it allows the first screening of covid-19 and is possible to distinguish high-risk patients and lower-risk patients for isolation of the patients.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Benjamin Jeongwon Ryu: When I have a chance or a proposal, I do not overthink and choose to go ahead. Because I learn a lot from my experiences, when you face a problem while running a business, you don’t have to be in a panic and think “This is not a big deal, there will be an answer.”
But now I have one rule: I stick to the rules when I start something new since I have my family. High risk, high return, but try to make sure it’s safe and always prepare alternatives. But once I start, I spend full my energy into it.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Benjamin Jeongwon Ryu: I am into extreme sports such as scuba diving, rock climbing, martial arts, spelunking, etc. Before Covid-19 pandemic, I used to go for one of them, but now meditation helps me a lot.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Benjamin Jeongwon Ryu: Butterfly, Clarius, other handheld devices, and significant high-end Ultrasound devices like GE, Philips, etc., are all our competitors. And now 5G comes deep into our life. I plan to build a state of the art digital healthcare platform like AI, digital healthcare, big medical data, etc. grafting onto the 4th industrial revolution.
Your final thoughts?
“It is the mission of each true knight…
His duty… nay, his privilege!
To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow.
To run where the brave dare not go,
To the right the unrightable wrong.
– Man of La Mancha, Don Quixote –
Like the quote, challenging is my duty and privilege so that I will keep on.
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