Meet the innovator: Dr Julian Nesbitt

October 15, 2020

In this edition, we caught up with Dr Julian Nesbitt, CEO of Dr Julian; an innovative healthcare platform that increases accessibility to mental healthcare.

Pictured above: Dr Julian Nesbitt of Dr Julian

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence.

We improve access to mental health services connecting patients to remote online therapy with qualified therapists via our platform.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Working in A&E, I saw the number of patients who had come in after trying to harm themselves on a mental health therapy waiting list some over six months. I thought there must be a better way to get people to help more quickly and efficiently and research had shown online therapy to equally if not more effective.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Keep going resilience is key
  2. Make sure you continually test and pivot, don’t build something that isn’t needed and don’t be afraid to change if it’s not working.
  3. Try and get mentorship/peer support it can be a lonely place but programs such as the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator and the clinical entrepreneur program can really help!

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Innovating and trying to scale something in the NHS is really hard, there are so many barriers, it takes time and patience making sure you keep going speaking to the right people.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Seeing the feedback from patients who have been able to access the help they need when they need it which has really changed their lives. Kent Surrey Sussex AHSN recently published an evaluation of our app and the key findings really validated what we are trying to do. It outlined a range of benefits for patients using Dr Julian, compared to users of the current NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service approach, including the patient drop-out rate was 49.8 per cent lower, reliable recovery rates were 47.9% higher and the DNA (did not attend) rate was 50.9 per cent lower.

Best part of your job now?

I enjoy building teams and now helping to support the team thrive and trying to ensure they keep motivated doing what they enjoy. Most satisfying part is seeing your vision develop and be realised.

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

The NHS is very fragmented if there are proven innovations that can scale I feel a centralised procurement system would really help adoption and spread rather than individual procurement in each CCG. In the meantime building connections and networks of others who share a passion for digital innovations really helps.

A typical day for you would include..

Multiple meetings depending on what is going on. Involving checking in on the recruitment, technology, business development and key accounts and helping out admin staff to deal with any issues. Also, do a lot of networking speaking with various people that could help scale/drive the business forward with the aim of forming key partnerships.

Where can we find you?

For more information, visit their website at dr-julian.com or follow them on Twitter @drjulianapp

By Rahel Gerezgiher

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