Dental Treatment Evolving with Digital Technology (Part 10)
Interview with Dental Start-up SQRIE - About Social Challenges and Services it Offers
Clinical Doctor, Dentistry, Telemedicine, AI (Machine Learning, Deep Learning), Examination and Diagnosis, Japan
From the Healthtech/SUM 2022 Pitch Contest 【First Half】
SQRIE is Headquartered on the Campus of Kyoto University
Healthtech/SUM 2022 was held on 1 and 2 December at Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall and Nihonbashi Life Science Hub as well as online. Healthtech/SUM is a global conference that showcases business trends in medical healthcare technology. It covered a wide range of topics from pharmaceutical companies to start-ups at the cutting edge of healthtech, and featured discussions from key figures active in Japan and abroad and online exhibits. The distribution of healthcare infrastructure across industry, government and academia, online medical care, medical DX and funding in the health tech industry were all on the agenda.
The theme this year was 'Connect into a Spiral - Technologies that converge around you'. The discussion focused on how health tech can contribute for individuals (you) to the use of PHR (Personal Health Record) and RWD (Real World Data) in an age where AI is analysing big data. In a pitch contest held within the conference to introduce start-ups, eight companies that had passed the screening process were selected as finalists and presented their next-generation services.
One of these companies, SQRIE. Co., Ltd (hereinafter ‘SQRIE’), is a dental start-up that set up its headquarters at Kyoto University. We spoke to Dr. Takahiro Okamoto, a dentist and dental designer who is the CEO of SQRIE.
Q. At Healthtech/SUM 2022, you took part in the pitch contest. How do you feel about this?
Dr. Okamoto: Interest in the area of prevention is low in Japan, and we think it is important to continue to be featured in initiatives such as Healthtech/SUM 2022 in order for everyone to have the opportunity to think about prevention as their own matter. We feel it is meaningful that we were selected from the readers' votes in the pitch contest.
Q. Tell us about your company's business.
Dr. Okamoto: In addition to the HAKKEN Mirror, which allows users to take their own photos of the oral cavity with their smartphones, we have acquired several patents. We intend to utilise these patents to provide hardware and software that will contribute to DX in the dental and oral fields.
Q. What business models do you have in mind?
Dr. Okamoto: We are considering the following three business models for HAKKEN
1) Selling HAKKEN mirrors.
2) Providing online dental services for patients.
3) Providing an image management system for dental clinics.
Q. What are your target users?
Dr. Okamoto: As an online dental service for patients, our initial target is busy businesspeople, expectant mothers, children who do not like dentists and others who have difficulty visiting the dentist and are comfortable using smartphones and new gadgets. There will also be a high need in non-dentist districts and the care sector. Demonstration trials are also planned to bring special dental check-ups online for acid handlers. As for the provision of imaging systems for dental clinics, the target group is orthodontists, who frequently take intraoral photographs.
Source: SQRIE. Co., Ltd
Q. Dental clinics usually perform x-rays and other tests, how do you do this in your service?
Dr. Okamoto: We check as much as we can without x-rays. If an x-ray and other checks are deemed necessary based on the interview and oral images, we will encourage the patient to visit a dental clinic.
Q. In addition to Healthtech/SUM 2022, your company has recently been featured in major newspapers, key TV broadcasters and various other media. What do you think is the reason for this attention in the business world?
Dr. Okamoto: The government has started to consider universal dental check-ups and there is a growing focus on dentistry. Dentists cannot say anything without being able to see inside the mouth, so even the Corona Disaster has not gone online. In this context, I believe that the promotion of online dentistry by HAKKEN mirrors is expected. In addition, there is concern about the shortage of dental personnel for universal dental check-ups, and the new online working style for dentists and imaging dental check-ups AI that we are developing might contribute to resolving the shortage of personnel.
(To be continued to the next issue)
- SQRIE. Co., Ltd website https://sqrie.jp/
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