LINA XU – F5 Founder and Cartier Fellow

Written by: F5 Collective

Lina Xu was recently named a Fellow by the Cartier Women’s Initiative, a prestigious global program that has been driving change by empowering Women Impact Entrepreneurs for 15 years.

Lina co-founded the health-tech startup Telecare with a clear mission, to bring equitable access to quality specialist care to remote communities across Australia. Telecare has active partnerships with 15 of Australia’s 700 public hospitals and plans to expand into ten more in 2024. “We’re excited to have been able to tap into the public healthcare system, win their trust, and shorten the patient wait time from 18 to 24 months to between a week and three months.”

Lina has worked as a financial consultant in the health-tech sector for 13 years prior to this venture. Her lifelong passion for health equity springs from her own lived experience. She grew up in rural China and lost her father to an illness at the age of 13. That experience gave Lina deep insight into the value of healthcare, and Australia’s reputation for quality health services was a key driver in her choice to raise her family here. “Australia is very famous globally for quality health care and the universal Medicare system, but after some preliminary research, I could see that although you may have an entitlement, it doesn’t mean you have access.” Lina quickly saw an opportunity to close that gap by leveraging digital tools like those she’d witnessed revolutionizing health care across East Asia.

Six months before the beginning of the pandemic, Telecare began providing services to aged care homes. They were perfectly positioned to scale in response to the huge upswing in demand. In the nursing home space, when COVID lockdowns prevented visits, telecare consultations could have multiple parties present, and elderly residents’ care was enhanced by the rare chance to gather a full house of family members and doctors to look after them as a team, “that was really beautiful. There were some fantastic virtual models of care established during COVID, and we have been extremely blessed to contribute to the digital transformation.”

Telecare co-designs its virtual models of care in collaboration with patients and doctors. From the start, they have been deeply customer-focused and attracted many doctors as investors, so the company is effectively run by medical professionals seeking to realize their vision for how healthcare can be transformed. A key aspect of that transformation is the flexibility telecare is able to offer its team, which has driven exceptional retention of female clinicians in their workforce. “As a virtual hospital, we have roughly 50% female clinicians on the panel, which is much higher than the industry average of about 31%.” New immigrants are also strongly represented throughout the organization, including many overseas-trained doctors “Inclusion, multiculturalism and gender equality are very important elements of our company culture and values.”

“Because of the nature of the business we do and the industry we’re in, we’re more impact-driven than dollar-sign-driven in the short term. We really need to be patient about how fast we grow and how we innovate to balance growth and governance. Patient care can never be treated as a commodity” Lina shared that identifying the right partners has been critical to this phase of Telecare’s Journey. “We need patient investors who value the social and clinical impacts we’re making, understand that evolution takes time and see the longer vision. Vision and values alignment is important, That’s why F5 has been an amazing partner to have.”

Lina sees many advantages to being a female founder, “health care is still largely a service industry that relies on strong relationships. Looking after our customers by being empathetic and passionate are all core values that I have been able to embed in our company.” She sees tremendous value in nurturing close relationships and growing deep roots through her network “I’m never left feeling isolated or that I’m fighting alone. And that’s quite important both emotionally and execution-wise.”

Being a Cartier Fellow will boost Lina’s network even further and build Telecare’s profile on a global stage. They are poised to capitalize on those opportunities, “50% of public hospitals are still running on paper. We can generate so much more capacity by utilizing digital health, and that will benefit the entire public health system. So that’s what we’re aiming to achieve” “The Cartier Initiative is really amplifying our mission, so this really is a very beautiful outcome.”

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