Working Life: Kieran O’Brien, Founder and CEO of Penny Medical



It’s like groundhog day!

Our three-year-old Ben wakes, like clockwork, at this ungodly hour, and rattles the stairgate, which in turn wakes 10-month-old Max, then Sophia (8) and Sam (5). Chaos ensues, but order is restored once I do the school/creche drop-offs.


By the time I get to the office in Ennis, Co Clare, I feel like I’ve half a day done. Trish, my administrator, runs through the agenda for the day and week ahead. Days are fluid — in this business you have to be able to react quickly.


I meet with the tech team and we go through any issues that have arisen and discuss possible fixes. We have developed high resolution touch-screens that can be used to display quality 3D models of the human body in the doctor’s surgery, in hospital settings and as a teaching aid in medical schools. The 3D models were developed by Primal Pictures, a global market-leader in 3D anatomy software, with whom we have partnered.

12 noon

I make calls to the NHS in the UK, to Medicare Australia and the HSE in our drive to showcase our product. It’s a really valuable interactive resource. For instance, in your GP surgery, the doctor can use the touchscreen to display the relevant part of your anatomy and to explain what the problem is and how he proposes to treat it. It’s an excellent tool to promote health literacy, giving the patient basic health information to better understand their condition and options.


My battery is drained and I have the luxury of going to the back of the office where I recharge on the couch. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue at age 23 so I’m conscious of the need to rest.


As our business is promoting health literacy/better communication between healthcare professionals and the public we have a lot of fronts to deal with — schools, public libraries, medical libraries, GPs, hospitals. We are working on getting the devices sponsored for GPs so we meet with different health insurers and pharma to see who’s interested.


My wife Maggie takes the dog for a walk when I get home. Then there’s the usual mayhem around dinner, homework and bed, before I settle down to conference calls with our international sales teams in US and Australia.

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