As is often told, the best way to lead is by example. For Dr. Brian Chung (“Brian”), Dedicare is the embodiment of this sentiment. A Hong Kong private medical clinic, Dedicare strives to deliver the best-in-class vaccination and preventive medicine services to as many people as possible.
While the journey to develop Dedicare has been one of challenges and success, the company has come to embody Brian’s belief that success is the result of patience, tenacity and creative problem solving.
Recognizing the Shortcomings
“I was inspired to start Dedicare after recognizing Hong Kong’s relatively low vaccination rate for the flu and other non-mandatory vaccines,” Brian said. Specifically, he learnt that Hong Kong’s 2017-18 overall flu vaccination rate was below 11%, severely lagging behind neighbouring regions such as Macau and Taiwan.
Furthermore, the death incidence rate in Hong Kong for the flu was 10 times higher than those in such neighbouring regions. There was an obvious disconnect between Hong Kong’s perceived reputation as a developed city, and what he saw and experienced himself as a medical professional. Feeling responsible to lead by example to facilitate positive change in Hong Kong’s medical industry, Brian founded Dedicare in 2018.
Improving on Professional Standards
Brian first identified several aspects of the overall vaccination service offering in Hong Kong that he wanted Dedicare to address and set higher industry standards for – specifically the high costs associated with vaccinations, people’s reluctance to visit clinics and the lack of investment in quality medical equipment.
“Public education aside, I thought many private clinics in town also contribute to the overall low vaccination rate. Private doctor charges in Hong Kong are generally not cheap. In addition, many people are reluctant to see doctors [to get vaccinations] as they are concerned about cross-infection from other sick patients, which are not unfair!” Brian said.
As such, he wanted to make sure that there was no excuse why a family shouldn’t get vaccinated. Brian first addressed the safety concern aspect by purposely not providing any consultation services to sick patients, which is a novel and costly proposition. Second, he ensured all the service charges in his clinic are reasonably priced and, in many cases, “free of charge” (by just claiming government subsidies without any surcharge). He also started providing vaccination services to NGOs and district councillors.
After an initial positive reception, Dedicare soon expanded its service to schools, a segment neglected by many private Hong Kong medical practices.
This creative thinking proved to be incredibly successful after their first year of operation, Dedicare participated in 186 outreach events, served 89 schools, and administered a total of 27,622 vaccines!
After a successful 2019, Dedicare’s constant efforts to set industry standards continued to set them apart in 2020 as COVID-19 struck Hong Kong. With many families hesitant to leave their homes, Dedicare began offering home vaccination services.
At first, people reacted to home vaccination with hesitation, assuming such services are only for the rich and privileged. However, when they realised the reasonable price and the quality commitment by Dedicare, this new service immediately took off.
Knowing vaccine storage is the cornerstone of vaccination services, Brian invested in top-notch vaccine refrigerators, vaccine carriers, 24-hour temperature monitoring system, vaccine vial monitors, thermal imager and back-up power generators unmatched by many private clinics.
“Most private medical clinics have inadequate standards for storing and transporting vaccines. When vaccines are stored in the wrong temperature, their potency will be affected or even lost. Sadly, consumers don’t have the ability to know whether the vaccines they take are stored properly. You can tell whether the milk or wine you drank has been properly stored, as the taste will be different, but this is not the case for vaccine!” Brian complained.
Need for Cloud-based Systems
Brian also believed that to raise the professional standards of Hong Kong’s medical industry, Dedicare’s reputation as a modern clinic had to extend past what clients could see. “I wanted Dedicare to not only have the best medical equipment and professional standards, but also have the best systems to support our operations,” Brian said. “All the systems we [Dedicare] use are cloud-based and connected – this should be the way that all businesses are managed these days.”
For instance, medical firms often reconcile thousands of accounting entries. Brian needed an accounting software that can integrate with Dedicare’s bank accounts and can easily reconcile their financial records. Dedicare also adopted other cloud-based software to handle clinic management, human resources and workflow needs. Lastly, because Brian and his team often runs around Hong Kong handling home vaccination services, all these features must be available to him online.
“Before incorporating Dedicare, I actually spent some good time asking my accounting advisor on what system to use and was recommended Xero,” Brian recalled. What his friends kept highlighting was how Xero can integrate seamlessly with a suite of cloud-apps, allowing users to manage their specific business needs. As Xero’s App Marketplace provided countless solutions available, Brian was quickly convinced that Xero is the best solution for Dedicare as he could easily personalize his Xero experience.
“Having never received accounting training, I found Xero to be the perfect tool because of its user friendliness and accessibility,” Brian highlighted. Xero also makes collaboration easier with Dedicare’s accounting firm, FastLane. Since both parties have access to Dedicare’s Xero account, FastLane can easily advise Dedicare on their accounting, audit and taxation matters.
Having not come from an accounting background and being an entrepreneur, many aspects of running a business could be challenging, especially accounting and finance. However, Brian felt that nothing was impossible, as long as he had patience, tenacity and most importantly, Xero’s ability to help him handle business matters as they arise!