TriMedika's Dr Roisin Molloy on TRITEMP and being a medtech in a global pandemic

  • Established in 2016 by female entrepreneurial duo Dr Roisin Molloy and Julie Brien, Belfast-based TriMedika Ltd has gained worldwide recognition for its first device to market, TRITEMP™, the non-contact, medical grade thermometer.

    It is currently available to healthcare professionals, with the aim of delivering greater efficiencies that will benefit patients, by reducing infection spread, lowering costs and eliminating plastic waste in hospitals. 

    The Covid-19 crisis has undoubtedly shown a great need for non-contact equipment such as TRITEMP, but coronavirus was unheard of when the company was initially set up. 

    Sync NI chatted with TriMedika co-founder and CEO - and medtech expert - Dr Roisin Molloy, to find out more about the firm's journey throughout the global pandemic, and its future plans.  

    Where did the initial idea for TriMedika originate and how did the company come to exist?

    Over five years ago whilst working in hospitals, we recognised an opportunity to bring improvements to reduce hospital spend by eliminating single use plastics for routine devices.

    Feedback from nurses revealed that disposal of bags of plastic waste from ‘used’ thermometer covers represented a significant infection risk as thousands are used in hospitals every day.

    Nurses reported finding ‘used’ plastics in patients’ beds, food trays and other hazards such as dementia patients swallowing them, which could be fatal.

    RELATED: TechWatch: NHS could save £80m per year by using zero-touch thermometers

    As 80% of hospital infections are spread through ‘CONTACT’, the solution was a medical-grade thermometer that was NON-CONTACT and required no plastic covers which would reduce costs, infection risk and eliminate plastic waste.

    We fast tracked this idea to a market ready, CE marked device in 2017 which is now on NHS Frameworks across the UK and used in hospitals and clinics in over 21 countries.

    As women in tech and business, did you find you had to overcome any obstacles when starting the company?

    Only 2.5% of VC investment goes to companies run by women! We were turned down for start-up funding but it gave us the determination to ‘prove them wrong’ and have built the business on sheer hard work and determination.

    I always remember the comment that ‘women are hired on performance whereas men are hired on potential’, yet the figures show the revenue yield is 2.5 times higher for women run companies!

    Establishing credibility has also been a challenge in a market sector that does not embrace change. However, we approached this with every confidence in our device’s superior design, technology and application, and proven through clinical trial comparisons in hospitals.

    How much has demand for the product grown since the Covid-19 pandemic and do you think the demand will remain after the lockdown?

    The demand for the product grew more than 10-fold almost overnight at the start of Covid-19 as there was an immediate need for non-contact thermometers to screen people for fever.

    Cheap, retail thermometers appeared as many hospitals selected the cheapest option, which were not engineered for a challenging hospital environment and quickly identified as ‘not fit for purpose’.

    RELATED: Belfast firms team up as demand for non-touch thermometers grow

    TriMedika’s non-contact thermometer, TRITEMP, is a medical grade device, engineered for accuracy and robustness and released onto the market in 2017, long before anyone heard about Covid-19.

    The TriMedika team has spent years educating hospitals on the risk of infection spread with contact thermometers such as ear, oral or rectal, currently used in our hospitals.

    80% of hospital infections are spread through contact and Covid-19 has highlighted how quickly infection can spread to patients and staff.

    Many hospitals in different countries are now looking at removing ‘Contact’ thermometers from all wards and mandating the use of a non-contact thermometer.

    Covid-19 appears to have been the catalyst to drive many technological changes in healthcare to stop the spread of infection and make non-contact thermometers commonplace in every hospital.

    We believe the demand will increase for the foreseeable future as it is thought this pandemic will have a long tail of decline which will not remove the threat for a few years to come.

    TRITEMP is currently in use in 21 countries and many hospitals already use it across all wards to protect patients and staff.

    The business launched in 2016 and now sells products worldwide. Is there a certain area you find you sell to more than others?

    Product development is a focus and our first prototypes are already in early trials for our ‘connected’ thermometer which will enable transfer of the data into the patient electronic record.

    Connected health solutions will benefit not just hospitals, but people at home who’ll be able to monitor their conditions without the upheaval of going to hospital.

    RELATED: Belfast International Airport opens new walk-in COVID-19 rapid testing lab

    TriMedika is passionate about developing smart, innovative medical devices from hospital healthcare teams’ feedback to deliver better patient care.

    New technology should challenge current hospital workflows and deliver savings on time, cost and most importantly today – eliminate infection spread in our hospitals.

    Do you sell the product to individuals or is your client base mainly medical services and hospitals?

    Our main customers are hospitals and clinics all over the world and the end users predominantly nurses and doctors delivering frontline medical treatment to patients.

    Despite Covid-19 (as it didn’t technically exist when TriMedika was founded), why do you think there is a need/what are the benefits of non-touch thermometers?

    We always ask medical professionals & decision makers this question, “Which single device is used by every nurse, every doctor, in every hospital, every day for every patient with every condition? A thermometer! – now multiply the number of times that thermometer is used by 4p and that’s how much money our hospitals spend on temperature measurement and THEN have to pay to have the plastic waste removed!"

    Our competition in hospitals continue to supply ‘CONTACT’ thermometers which require plastic covers for every use, a simple recurring cost revenue for them and draining hospital budgets of much needed cash, so this definitely highlights the need and also the key benefits of TRITEMP, non-contact, medical grade thermometer.

    Find out more about TriMedika here. 

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

    Sign up now for a FREE weekly newsletter showcasing the latest news, jobs and events in NI’s tech sector.

Share this story