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Starting out on the right foot with cyber security


In 2018, Alicia Martin had the first inkling of an idea for a health-focussed app. 

As a pharmacist, Alicia talked to customers every day about the medications they were using and how they were feeling. For some people, in consultation with medical advice, they were slowly weaning off medications. 

Unfortunately, the process of tapering off certain medications, such as anti-depressants, can cause withdrawal symptoms. 

“After joining online forums to learn more as a pharmacist, I discovered an enormous gap in our health services. People were wanting more support during this period and I thought there was a way I could help with my skills,” Alicia said. 

Fast forward to late 2022 and Alicia was ready to bring her idea to life with TaperMate

Simple steps to ensure cyber security

TaperMate, which is set to launch in mid-2024, is a mobile app that will help people safely stop medications that cause withdrawal symptoms. It works like an online diary where users can track their medication taper and record symptoms they’re experiencing.


The app will also help patients share their experience with health professionals, noting it’s not designed to replace the important role of doctors or pharmacists. 

Like many small business founders, Alicia is an expert in her field but launching an app was outside her comfort zone. 

“I don’t have any skills in app development or starting a business so I got a lot of support through the Canberra Innovation Network, as well as a few other programs and grants. Their belief made me realise I could do it,” Alicia said. 

Now in the development phase, Alicia has turned her attention to ensuring the business is cyber-safe. 

“As a startup, cyber safety had crossed my mind but I didn’t know how to approach it. In my app, people will be storing their sensitive health information and I need to keep that data carefully protected,” she said. 

“I did the Cyber Wardens course and there were key takeaways that I hadn’t really thought about before. Simple things such as updating your software, having different types of back-ups and using password managers.


Preventing cyber attacks

Even though TaperMate isn’t live yet, Alicia implores other startups and small businesses to set up their businesses in a cyber-safe way from the start and save themselves time in the long run.

“I am so glad to have done the Cyber Wardens course before my business officially launched, so I can set processes up correctly and don’t have to go back and change it later. If you do it right from the start, you don’t have to do it later,” Alicia said.

Alongside the Cyber Wardens training, Alicia is consulting with lawyers to ensure her business has strong policies in place to reassure users. 

By building strong foundations for her business Alicia is hoping to make a global impact with her app and continue providing in-person support to patients. 

We can’t wait for TaperMate’s launch and seeing the much-needed support it will bring to users worldwide!

Note: The app follows Maudsley’s Deprescribing Guidelines, and individuals should seek medical advice from a GP before changing their medications.

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