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Sabine Elsässer
Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

ONCOassist app for oncology professionals- easy access to relevant, up-to-date tools and content when and where it is needed.

Please introduce yourself and the Startup ONCOassist to our readers!

Established in 2012 by Dr. Richard Bambury, Kevin Bambury, and Eoin O’Carroll, ONCOassist is the go-to app for oncology professionals. It offers easy access to relevant, up-to-date tools and content when and where it is needed.

Why did you decide to start a business?

In conversation with my brother Dr. Richard Bambury, a trainee oncologist at Cork University Hospital at the time, we found that with the advent of genomic sequencing, combined with an aging population, and new therapies. The decision-making process for oncology HCPs is becoming increasingly complex. 

Unfortunately, there is not always easy access to the tools and information needed to make an informed decision quickly. This means that HCPs use multiple different software and tools to aid their decisions. This wastes time & reduces the quality of patient care.

He was in need of something that freed up his time and made his day-to-day life as an oncology professional more efficient. Thus ONCOassist was born to make life easier for all oncology professionals, including doctors, nurses, and oncology pharmacists.

What is the vision behind ONCOassist?

Our vision: We exist to make the life of an Oncology HCP effortless by making their decision-making process less complex and more precise. 

How we do it: Most practices claim convenience, we live by it. We strive to make cancer care more convenient. We’re committed to investing in the latest technology and bringing all the tools, software, and materials necessary so that they can focus on the bigger picture and provide better patient care.

From the idea to the start what have been the biggest challenges so far and how did you finance yourself?

There have been many challenges along the way, early on it was predominantly regulatory hurdles. Then it took time to figure out a sustainable business model. More recently, as we have scaled it is trying to figure out where we should focus our efforts in terms of future innovations. We were originally funded by Healthbox Europe and also won the Enterprise Ireland competitive start-up funding while also being supported by the UCC ignite programme. Other than that, we self-financed through sales most of the way. 

Who is the target group of ONCOassist?

ONCOassist is targeted at oncology and haematology healthcare practitioners, this includes consultants, trainees, nurses, and pharmacists. 

How do ONCOassist work? What are the advantages? What makes you different from other providers?

All the information regarding the usage of ONCOassist can be accessed from https://oncoassist.com/instructions-for-use/.

We are the only oncology tool that brings together all the key tools and information that an oncology HCP needs. It was made possible by working closely with the global oncology community. You name a tool and we have it, we’re also very focused on the end-user by constantly asking for feedback via surveys, interviews, and direct email communication. 

How has your company changed with COVID-19?

What we have learned from the past two years is that the need for modern, efficient, safe, and reliable medical technology has only escalated.

Furthermore, medical science is advancing and becoming increasingly complex. Thus the need is growing for technology such as ONCOassist that provides timely access to data and information and accessible decision-support tools which facilitate timely and precise clinical decision-making.

How did you adjust to it and what changes have you made?

As of now, ONCOassist employs 15 staff and the majority of them are software engineers working tirelessly to improve the app, as well as user experience based on feedback from users all over the world. 

We’re constantly growing and evolving and are looking forward to expanding both our workforce and reach.

Where do you see the opportunity in the crisis?

The pandemic has greatly accelerated the adoption of digital health. This is improving efficiencies in healthcare and presenting opportunities for companies like ONCOassist to grow.   

ONCOassist, where does the road go? Where do you see yourself in five years?

We are moving from an app to a platform, while I don’t want to say too much, the future for ONCOassist is very exciting as we begin to find new ways to engage with HCPs and their patients and integrate with existing healthcare IT systems. This will result in an easier workflow for oncology HCPs globally. 

At the end: Which 3 tips would you give to future founders?

  1. Don’t be too focused on fundraising, this may get you media coverage but can be a huge distraction. Try your best to focus on your customer and end-user. This is who will ultimately decide if your business is successful.  
  2. Find as many ways as you can to get feedback from your users. We use surveys, email, and interviews to engage with our users. This really helps us learn about their problems and decide on what to build next. 
  3. Attend conferences where your customer or users will be. Very early on we attended the ASCO conference in Chicago, we met many users there and got great feedback. This helped us build connections in the industry that we still have today.

Picture: Photographer Paul Sherwood paul@sherwood.ie; 087 230 9096 www.sherwood.ie
ONCOassist. October 2021

Thank you Dr. Richard Bambury, Kevin Bambury, and Eoin O’Carroll for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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