Queensland doctors drive global sharps solution

A tool used the world over, scalpels help to save millions of lives every day with a wide variety of potential applications. They also pose a safety concern however, with healthcare workers handling sharps such as needles and scalpels often falling victim to cuts and injuries.

Qlicksmart General Manager Dr. Chamindika Konara and Director Dr. Michael SinnottQlicksmart General Manager Dr. Chamindika Konara and Director Dr. Michael Sinnott. 

Each year, an estimated 385,000 sharps injuries occur in the USA, 1 million in Europe, and 18,000 in Australia. 

These numbers are likely even higher, as the under-reporting rates for sharps injuries can be up to 50%.

More than two decades ago, two Queensland physicians sought to find a safer solution, the genesis of an idea that has grown to become an international leader within the sharps safety sector.

Qlicksmart is a Brisbane-based medical device company whose world-first single-handed scalpel blade removers heralded a new safe solution to removing used, potentially infectious, scalpel blades.

Its patented designs have become the standard for best practice for safe sharps handling, with primary markets including hospitals and clinical facilities, and significant growth across the laboratory, allied health, and manufacturing sectors over the past three years. 

Qlicksmart’s safety devices are now used in more than 50 countries, up from 32 countries just five years ago, with a network of 120 distribution partners and export markets spanning the North America, UK, Europe, Latin America and the Asia Pacific regions. 

Total exports sales have also grown, driven by a 45% increase in exports of the sterile scalpel blade removers range.

Qlicksmart General Manager Dr. Chamindika KonaraQlicksmart General Manager Dr. Chamindika Konara

This increase in export sales and distributor growth has been supported by a robust supply chain and third-party logistics centres located in the US, Netherlands, Malaysia, and locally here in Queensland.

The results speak for themselves. 

As of 2023, more than 145 million scalpel blades have been safely removed by Qlicksmart devices, preventing more than 9,000 scalpel injuries, undoubtedly making this proud Queensland company a global leader in this space.  

Qlicksmart continues to prioritise collaborating with healthcare professionals to find solutions which make healthcare safer.

They have also established strategic partnerships with some of the largest scalpel blade manufacturers in the world, including Swann Morton, Myco Medical and Cincinnati Surgical to continue driving innovations in blade removal technology.

Qlicksmart’s significant contribution to this important industry was recognised through its nomination as a finalist in the International Health Category at the 2023 Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards.

Qlicksmart Director Dr. Michael Sinnott said it was just reward and recognition for the groundbreaking work of the business and its people. 

“We are a proud Queensland exporter that continues to grow, strengthening our market position and export revenue while championing healthcare to be a safer place,” he said.  

“The single-handed scalpel blade removers have become the standard for hospitals and healthcare facilities in Australia, and a growing body of clinical evidence has significantly increased our export market.

“Our focus on scalable and adaptable sales strategies has enabled Qlicksmart to become an international leader and we will continue to prioritise collaborating with healthcare professionals to find solutions which make healthcare safer.”

Qlicksmart General Manager Dr. Chamindika Konara was also celebrated as the winner in the Women in International Business Award, with export growth of 30%, and overall profit growth of 35%, under her leadership. 

Trade and Investment Queensland has provided valuable assistance to Qlicksmart in recent years as its export profile continued to grow at scale, including funding support through the Go Global Export and New Market Programs and successful matching initiatives with new partners across Latin America. 

As the Queensland Government’s dedicated global business agency, TIQ helps Queensland exporters take their products and services to the world.

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