Canberra’s female inventors: Dr Chaturica Athukorala of Aurabox

They’re doctors, hairdressers, chemists, and beauty specialists but they all have one thing in common: they’re also inventors.

Inspired by challenges they’ve faced and issues they’ve found in their industries, these women are determined to make a difference and help others.

In this series of four articles, HerCanberra speaks to female Canberra inventors about why they’re passionate about their idea, how it will change the world, and where their projects will lead them next.  In the first of our series, we speak to Dr Chaturica Athukorala of Aurabox.

When radiologist Dr. Chaturica Athukorala watched a close friend struggle with a breast cancer diagnosis, she knew something in her industry had to change.

As she watched her friend obtain medical imaging at three different radiology practices over three weeks—carrying all the medical imaging on multiple USBs just so the doctors could see the results—Chaturica decided to do something to make life easier for patients.

“One of my frustrations as a radiologist is there are different private imaging practices and different public imaging practices…and all of their computer systems don’t talk to each other,” she explains.

“Watching my friend, she was grappling with the fact she had cancer. She shouldn’t have also been stressed about where her images were and if her doctors could access them.”

“I think it is very important for patients to be a part of their care team but a big responsibility like that shouldn’t be on them when they’re going through such a terrible time.”

Created in partnership with technologist Christopher Skene, Chaturica founded Aurabox, a universal, cloud-based system to share and store medical imaging in one place, bridging the gap between imaging systems in the medical industry.

Designed for doctors to collaborate on care and monitor treatment outcomes and for patients to use as an accessible tool to manage their health, it amazingly only took Chaturica and Christopher 10 months to bring the platform to life.

“We’ve been really lucky to have some great mentors in the business world here in Canberra. They’ve said taking your idea to market is like an extreme sport, it certainly is!” says Chaturica.

“In my day job, before dedicating the majority of my time to Aurabox, I went to work, I had set tasks and hours. I completed them and I came home to my family. Starting Aurabox has been like having another baby, the responsibility lies with you.”

Still working in radiology and raising two children with her husband (also a medical professional), Chaturica admits keeping up with Aurabox is hard but what keeps her going is knowing she is improving patient outcomes. And with plenty of plans for the future, she’s not slowing down anytime soon.

“I want it to get to the point that if you have an Aurabox account or a profile, you can go to any imaging practice and your images are automatically uploaded onto your profile. Your Aurabox and images will follow you forever,” she explains.

“We’d like to integrate pathology as well. Quite often when we’re in meetings and discussing complicated patients, both pathology and imaging are needed. If you could have them both on one platform, that would be amazing.”

Currently undergoing trials at the Canberra Region Cancer Centre, Aurabox is on track for release later this year.

Article originally published by HerCanberra. Feature photograph: Tracey Murray Photography