Redhead local and entrepreneur, Jennifer Holland, officially launched a world-first medical invention earlier this week, when her Throat Scope creation was placed in the hands of medical staff.
Throat Scope was first seen by Australia en masse when Jennifer appeared on the Channel 10 television show Shark Tank Australia.
Throat Scope is an illuminated tongue depressor that is set to modernise oral cavity examinations worldwide and it was a simple visit to a GP in 2009 with a sick 15-month-old baby that gave Jennifer the idea for the device.
Jennifer said she was forced to hold her baby’s head while the doctor had a traditional wooden tongue depressor in one hand and a torch in his other hand.
“At that moment, I thought, ‘there’s got to be a better way’. The GP was unable to help me restrain my baby or move my baby’s head in a way that assisted with his examination because both his hands were full,” Jennifer said.
“I decided then that there had to be an opportunity for the centuries-old wooden tongue depressor to get a 21st century make-over. I even had a name in mind, Throat Scope, by the time I’d left the surgery.”
Jennifer went home that day from the GP and began to check if existing patents were in place for a similar device and so began the journey of Throat Scope.
Whilst other patents existed the materials used were so cost-prohibitive at the time, they weren’t ever produced. Jennifer began researching plastic and lighting technologies whilst ensuring patents were in place to protect her budding idea.
A $50,000 Queensland Government grant allowed her to keep moving forward with her invention but her appearance earlier this year on the first season of Shark Tank Australia ensured her idea became a reality.
Jennifer said receiving the backing of ‘Shark’ Steve Baxter, who has a long history of successful entrepreneurial ventures in the technology industry, changed everything.
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead gained access to the invention on Monday, 19 October 2015, as well as a $1,000 donation from Throat Scope.
Over the next few months, the Throat Scope team will be traveling the world to meet with international distribution partners with the aim of having the device in the hands of medical professionals worldwide.