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    Nuclear medicine in Western Australia's isolated communities

    Michelle Legge
    Business Journalist

    Michelle Legge is the Smarter Business™ Digital Editor. She's the former editor of by Qantas and contributes regularly to small business, social media and lifestyle publications

    Michelle Legge
    Business Journalist

    Michelle Legge is the Smarter Business™ Digital Editor. She's the former editor of by Qantas and contributes regularly to small business, social media and lifestyle publications

    Telenuclear medicine provider TeleMed has proved high-tech healthcare services can reach remote Australian communities.

    Many success stories of entrepreneurs begin with breaking free from the norm to pursue innovative new ideas and services. In the case of nuclear medicine practitioner Peter Tually and his company TeleMed, the big winner has been the rural and remote communities of Western Australia.

    TeleMed is an Australian-owned social purpose business that is highly active in the field of telehealth specialist care. The company develops and uses e-health innovations and telenuclear medicine to significantly improve access to health services in rural and remote Western Australia, thereby helping bridge the gap in medical services that exist between the metropolitan sector and regional populations.

    The Inspiration Journey - Telemed

    What is nuclear medicine?

    According to TeleMed, nuclear medicine imaging uses small amounts of radioactive materials injected into the bloodstream so they can travel through an area of the body being examined to give off energy, which is then detected by a special camera to create images of the individual’s body. Nuclear medicine imaging has the potential to identify disease in its earliest stages and nuclear medicine scans have helped improve millions of lives over the past 50 years. 

    Motivation knows no boundary

    TeleMed is a rural healthcare provider on a mission. Tually explains: “They often say geography is our silent killer. As I’m getting older I’m developing more of a social conscience,” Tually explains.    

    “That’s really the main reason I get up at 3 o’clock in the morning, organise the radioactive isotopes and get on a plane and fly up there.”

    Starting something special

    So how did this small-business success story begin? A fortuitous business opportunity breathed air to Tually’s fire. He learnt of the planned closure of a diagnostic imaging practice in Kalgoorlie and acquired it for his own business, TeleMed Pty Ltd.

    Until then, the company formed by Tually in 2005 had a modest 24-hour heart monitoring offering in the Western Australian Goldfields and even more modest turnover. Tually’s decision to continue delivering nuclear medicine services to the remote community proved a defining moment for TeleMed.

    Today, TeleMed’s success is built on Tually’s passion to address the disparity in health services offered in rural and metropolitan areas. “I’ve always had an interest and concern of the inequality in health that exists. For many reasons it shouldn’t be that way, I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation in this day and age with the technology that’s available,” he says.

    Major hurdles

    Tually’s chosen field presents him with business challenges few metro enterprises could imagine.

    “There’s a lot of things that can go wrong from the A to Z. An example is the plane strike when Qantas was shut down for a couple of days and patients had to travel in for four or five hours by road from the rural sectors to come into somewhere like Kalgoorlie,” he explains.

    “I just had to persevere that I would find the money in some ways and start seeing patients and start paying off some debt.”

    Success story

    Following the diagnostic imaging practice acquisition in 2010, TeleMed has continued growing through joint ventures to include more regions across the state. While his business might be unconventional, Tually’s business strategy is both inspirational and educational.

    “If you fail to plan you plan to fail. I think once you’ve got a business model which can demonstrate that, you have the opportunity to expand into other regional sections.”

    This strategy has taken Tually and TeleMed a very long way in a relatively short space of time. The company is a true business success story and has even been recognised through a number of prestigious awards and nominations, including:

    • Winner of a 200 Business of Tomorrow award, 2018
    • Accepted as a Certified B Corp in 2016
    • Selected as a finalist in the Western Australian Telstra Business Awards in 2014

    The Western Australian Telstra Business Awards nomination recognised the TeleMed team’s efforts in the field of telenuclear medicine and the delivery of services for rural populations who would otherwise need to travel to Perth for sophisticated oncology and cardiac imaging.

    As far as success stories of entrepreneurs go, Peter Tually’s is certainly one to celebrate.

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