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The Australian startup bringing the doctor's office into American homes

Two young Aussies are planning to help people across the U.S. access a digital doctor's clinic without leaving the couch.

Andrew Lin, 27, and Hon Weng Chong, 28, met as medical students at the University of Melbourne, Australia. They're now the founders of CliniCloud, a startup that has created a consumer-friendly medical kit with a 

stethoscope and contactless infrared thermometer. The devices can be paired with CliniCloud's iOS and Android app, allowing temperature, as well as heart and lung sounds, to be recorded, stored on the app and even sent to the family doctor.

On Wednesday, CliniCloud announced a partnership with Doctor On Demand, a U.S. company that allows patients to pay for video visits with doctors over their smartphone or browser. The partnership will help users transmit their health data via CliniCloud to the physician online.

If you're a fan of your family doctor, CliniCloud will also help you digitise that relationship, Lin told Mashable Australia. If users choose, the app can generate a link that anonymises their health data and expires after four hours to send via text or email to their doctor.

The CliniCloud journey began in early 2012, when the pair won a Microsoft competition, the Imagine Cup, by building a mobile-connected stethoscope. The startup has now grown to a team of 20 people in Melbourne, securing a seed round of $5 million (A$7 million) in 2015.

"Our whole goal as a company is to bring healthcare to the home," Lin said. "We wanted to create medical devices that consumers could actually use at home, that were innovative, and allowed doctors to do more things remotely."

Ultimately, CliniCloud hopes to streamline healthcare — eliminating needless doctor visits by allowing vital statistics to be collected at home. "This has a benefit for the health system," Lin explained. "From people being treated quicker than they otherwise would, to unnecessary visits being avoided."

Of course, a startup working in medicine has many legal hoops to jump through. Lin clarified that health data is stored in a way that complies with U.S. medical privacy laws and in-app prompts advise users when they're about to share their personal information. According to a CliniCloud spokesperson, the devices are registered with the FDA and Health Canada, and are also cleared for sale in Europe and Australia.

CliniCloud plans to add additional features to the app in the future, including personalised responses to user data. This could include prompts to recheck your temperature after a few hours, for example, if it looks like you could be developing a fever.

Given they're sending the app sensitive information, CliniCloud customers may well be worried about what's being done with their data. Lin said the data is not being monetised. While CliniCloud's revenue is currently based on sales of the kit, in the longer term, the company hopes to sell its software to entities like state healthcare departments, who could ask for data access to conduct public health studies.

"Those are the types of things we can think about creating a business model around," he said. "The first thing we want to do is make sure these [kits] are in as many hands as possible."

So will CliniCloud just inspire a generation of digitised hypochondriacs? "The reality is, those people are going to do it anyway," Lin said. "The problem is the hypochondria, not the devices."

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