Technology adding intelligence to medical first aid

The humble first aid kit has had a hi-tech makeover and the technology could save businesses thousands of dollars a year.


Christchurch start-up InventoryTech has developed Clever Medkits – a digital first aid kit that tracks what supplies are used and when they need restocking, ensuring businesses are never caught short when tending to sick or injured staff.

Chief executive Peter Montgomery says the idea for Clever Medkits sprung from just such a situation.

InventoryTech co-founder Peter Gillman witnessed an incident where a worker could not be treated properly as the first aid kit was empty.

“He’s been involved in medical first aid for a long time and I’m in technology. We were talking about the problem and thought; ‘We can solve this – let’s have a go.’”

Sensors in the first-aid kit alert a software program when a certain item is used and InventoryTech sends out new supplies to businesses when stock levels are running low. “If you think of your own first aid kit – no-one really knows what’s in it. We manage the whole thing, all businesses have to do is put the new supplies back in.”

The actual kit itself increases safety and first aid awareness in the workplace, as the illuminated green box is a visible reminder to take care, Peter says.  Clever Medkits can also reduce unexplained stock losses, as they are equipped with cameras so health and safety managers can see who is taking supplies.

The software can automatically generate incident reports, saving businesses time – and money – in meeting their health and safety reporting requirements. “A lot of health and safety incidents in workplaces go unrecorded. We record everything so businesses can analyse those events and who they’re happening to.”

After extensive testing with businesses in a variety of industries, including fast food and fish and meat processing, Clever Medkits is ready to launch commercially.  “Our plan is to have production underway by the end of this year, with the first 1000 Clever Medkits produced for the New Zealand and seed markets internationally including the United States, Australia and possibly in Europe as well.”

InventoryTech projects it could lease 15,000 Medkits in Australia and 30,000 in the US, and Peter says there is global interest in the product. “We have had enquiries from distributors and people wanting to buy it in 25 countries.”

Last year Clever Medkits received a bronze in the Edison Awards – that recognise the most innovative products and businesses in the world.

The expertise of Moore Stephens Markhams Christchurch and director Belinda Canton has been invaluable to the fledgling company, Peter says. “We’ve been able to draw on their specialist knowledge around the treatment of research and development expenditure in our accounts. It’s quite complicated and they’ve been really helpful. Belinda is a trusted advisor.”

InventoryTech may be calling on Moore Stephens Markhams for further specialist advice as it establishes relationships with partners who will lease Clever Medkits to customers overseas, he says.

The technology behind Clever Medkits has multiple applications, and the company is working with large international companies in the medical sector to develop new products, Peter says.  “Our technology has the ability to sense any type of inventory that a business might be consuming. It’s a really exciting proposition.”

The Christchurch firm currently has five staff, but expects that to increase to 10 or 12 by the end of the year.  InventoryTech is Peter’s eighth technology start-up – entrepreneurship is in his blood.

“What I love is creating a new product that adds real value to customers, and to see the excitement in the customers’ eyes is the greatest return we can ever get.”


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