Geek Speak: Geof Auchinleck, CEO of Claris Healthcare

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      Geof Auchinleck is a Vancouver-based entrepreneur and technology developer with decades of experience in the medical device field.

      During his career, Auchinleck has helped create a number of surgical technologies and a widely used system for tracking blood transfusions in hospitals. He earned an undergraduate engineering physics degree from UBC in 1981 and holds more than a dozen U.S. patents.

      Auchinleck is also a co-founder and CEO of Claris Healthcare, a Vancouver medical technology company established in 2012. The company recently launched a new device called the Claris Companion, a digital tablet Auchinleck designed to help seniors stay in touch with family and caregivers.

      The Georgia Straight reached Auchinleck by phone.

      How did you get into the medical device field?

      When I graduated from UBC I actually saw an ad in the paper from VGH (Vancouver General Hospital) looking for a biomedical engineer and I thought that sounded cool.

      Where did it go from there?

      From there I ended up learning all about medical device technology and getting involved in startup companies developing new medical technologies.

      Where did the idea for the Claris Companion come from?

      It came from actually looking at what the next big challenge for healthcare in B.C., and the western world for that matter, is. And that’s the silver tsunami, as they call it, the aging population. Our current healthcare system can’t manage it so we’re looking for ways to help solve that problem.

      How does this device help solve that problem?

      By giving the seniors tools that’ll allow them to avoid hospital admission. In other words, looking after their own medications, looking after their own care, being able to use a video link to consult with physicians and medical professionals, so that they can look after themselves without having to leave home.

      How does the device work?

      It’s like a tablet computer. It’s a little appliance that sits on a table top. Unlike a computer, everything’s just pushed to it. You don’t have to log on or put in passwords or anything. It can receive emails and messages and open video conversations and run videos giving you self-care information, that kind of thing.

      What’s the response been like to the device?

      From our senior population it’s been great. They really feel like they’re now included in the conversation that their children and grandchildren have been having on the Internet and they’ve been left out of. They love the social aspects of it and the real hit is being able to get photos shipped to them from anywhere in the world.

      What’s next for Claris Healthcare?

      The next big thing we’ll be announcing is a partnership with another Vancouver company called Medeo where you’ll be able to touch one button on the Claris Companion and have a face-to-face consultation with a physician over a video link.

      Every other Friday, Geek Speak catches up with someone in Vancouver’s technology sector, video-game industry, or social-media scene. Who should we interview next? You can tell Stephen Thomson on Twitter.