Pictured above: Nick Mayhew
Tell us about your innovation in a sentence.
Bleepa is a revolutionary medical imaging communications platform, providing an easy-to-use, high-quality tool to enable remote and secure communications between frontline clinicians and teams.
What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?
The initial lightbulb moment came from our CEO, Dr Tom Oakley. Just about every time I speak to a clinician, we receive another idea though. Their feedback is invaluable – I must have spoken to at least 200 clinicians since I joined and that’s a lot of ideas. I really feel like we are representing them and I feel obligated to make Bleepa work and embed it in the NHS. We passionately believe that Bleepa can empower every clinician working in a healthcare setting. Given our heritage, we knew that we could create a mobile-based clinical-grade communication tool that provided diagnostic imaging, associated annotations and reports at a quality that would make a real difference to the day-to-day lives of clinicians in both primary and secondary care.
Since launching Bleepa it has been used to routinely seek second opinions, manage inpatient referrals, provide high-quality multi-disciplinary team meetings and manage COVID-19 care pathways, amongst others. It has been amazing to see the far-reaching impact to date and we look forward to growing this impact with as many hospitals and community diagnostic centres as possible.
What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?
- The most important thing for any start-up or innovator is to really spend time talking to your potential customers to identify their needs and challenges.
- Understand customer pain points and ensure that your solution meets those needs, you need to be able to demonstrate and evidence as early as possible the positive outcomes and benefits of your innovation.
- Be driven, enthusiastic and very, very focused.
What’s been your toughest obstacle?
We’ve been very lucky in finding a forward-thinking trust that understood the benefits of collaboration. Finding an early adopter who supports and believes in your product and is willing to put that belief into practice within an often risk-averse healthcare environment is the biggest challenge for most tech companies and we were lucky. Through collaboration, you need to find ‘early adopter’ doctors willing to work with you to grow and develop your product and shout about your successes. We were very lucky to find an amazing champion in Georges Ng Man Kwong, Chief Clinical Information Officer and Respiratory Consultant, at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and his enthusiasm helped us engage with their clinical teams across the hospital to co-develop Bleepa in its early stages.
What’s been your innovator journey highlight?
There are so many passionate, inspiring people who work within healthcare, particularly the NHS. Working with customers and clinicians who are really progressive, want to break the mould and have a really strong vision of how digital innovation can improve the way they work and deliver real benefits to patients drives all our teams forward. Whenever we speak to frontline clinicians about Bleepa we get such great feedback recognising how it can help make their working life easier, save time on referrals and relieve many of their pain points.
Best part of your job now?
For my role leading the sales and marketing team, it has been great to reach the point of brand awareness where NHS organisations, commercial suppliers and key individuals are approaching us because they’ve heard about Bleepa and recognise how we can help their organisation to improve clinical communications. It is really rewarding to see that shift to predominantly inbound requests and enquiries.
If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?
As a software-as-a-service company, we are constantly battling against the lack of some of the simpler technical infrastructure that other businesses would take for granted – decent WiFi and mobile network coverage, users being able to use their own mobile device securely for work. Digital innovation would be much faster and easier to adopt if some of these basic technical requirements were already in place for frontline clinicians.
A typical day for you would include…
Lots of conversations with customers, our development and operations teams.
I am very lucky – we have a wonderful, talented and committed team at Bleepa. It’s a very vibrant environment with lots of very bright people, so it keeps me very much on my toes. I’m involved in all sorts of projects: from scaling up our involvement in the community diagnostic centre programme in the UK to shipping out equipment for a tuberculosis screening programme in India with funding from Amazon Web Services.
Where can we find you?