Meet the innovator: Matt Elcock

In this edition, we caught up with Matt Elcock, Founder of Push Doctor; an innovation that provides clinicians with the technology to enable patients to access primary and secondary care digitally through the NHS across the UK.

Pictured above: Matt Elcock of Push Doctor

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence.

Push Doctor provides clinicians with the technology to enable patients to access primary and secondary care digitally through the NHS across the UK.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

There were two. The idea was created when Uber was scaling, and Push Doctor was born to provide quick, speedy, private access to digital primary care in 2013. At the time, there was typically a 2 or more week wait for an appointment, so Push Doctor set out to help solve this problem digitally. Then in 2018, the second moment was the widespread willingness to adopt this approach to primary care within the NHS and the launch of the NHS 10 year plan. That is when we focussed to deliver the product free via NHS through partners in General Practice.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. It’s your passion and vision which will serve you throughout, ensure that this is clear, long-term, and meaningful.
  2. Think iteratively about the journey, markets change in steps. To achieve your vision may take 2 or 10+ changes within the market. Work through them systematically.
  3. Bring the right people on your journey, who share your passion. This will be the difference between success and failure.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Acceptance. Push Doctor was the first to launch our service within the UK, we were a CQC test-case for regulation. We have worked hard with the regulator to ensure the service can be offered in a safe and effective manner. When we launched the platform, it was far from certain if this could / would be adopted for the future. I’m glad to say that we have demonstrated how it can work at scale and now is widely adopted across the UK.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

For us, saving lives. Push Doctor has been responsible for saving the lives of numerous patients who were struggling to get care in a timely fashion and those patients who were very sick (for example with Sepsis). Having access to a doctor in minutes picked up the red flags quickly and we have coordinated an expedited pathway into A&E because of this. This fact is the most rewarding aspect that any innovator could wish for.

Best part of your job now?

The best part of my role now is working with partners and our internal teams on how we can evolve our support to the NHS. There are so many opportunities where digital health can deliver real benefits to our NHS. In 2013, we had the vision that video consultations would become mainstream for primary care and now we see that digital health will offer benefits to doctors, patients and commissioners and solve so many of the current challenges faced. Our approach to these challenges is once again, unique.

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

This is simple; I would provide direct funding to innovators who have evidence to back the benefits. Proving out the effectiveness of an innovation is the first challenge, getting funding for it afterwards is often very difficult too. I think digital breaks down borders and delivers maximum benefit at scale, but this can sometimes be at odds with how funding streams work and limits the benefit digital can provide.

A typical day for you would include..

My days are quite varied but usually involves me being out meeting our partners within the NHS and working with the Push Doctor leadership team on our approach, product and funding.

Where can we find you?

For more information, visit their website at pushdoctor.co.uk or follow them on Twitter @PushDoctor

Meet the innovator: Evan Harris

In this edition, we caught up with Evan Harris, Co-Founder of Peppy Health; an innovation that gives users ultra-convenient access to vetted healthcare practitioners.

Pictured above: Evan Harris of Peppy Health

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

Peppy gives our users ultra-convenient access to vetted healthcare practitioners in the areas of fertility, parenthood, menopause, mental health and many more to come.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

There have been a series of lightbulb moments but the clearest one came from my colleague and Peppy co-founder, Max, who had recently become a dad. His wife and baby experienced various challenges in the first few months after birth and the care they received from the NHS and their private health insurer was almost non-existent. We started to speak to people in the perinatal sector and realised that many services had been cut to the bone during austerity. Then we became aware of similar issues in fertility and menopause support. Suddenly the huge gaps in the conventional healthcare system – in women’s health and other areas – became obvious and we realised that we had a model that could revolutionise the way people engage with healthcare providers.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Find co-founders you like and respect. If you’re serious about being an innovator then the first step is to put yourself in a position where you could meet them.
  2. Find a route to revenue from day one. Successful metrics are fairly meaningless if no one will pay for the service.
  3. Experiment rapidly and pivot if necessary. We’ve pivoted our products, routes to market and revenue model about 10 times in the last 12 months. Had we not been willing to move so fast we wouldn’t be here right now.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Finding product-market fit. We’re not 100 per cent there yet but we are much closer to it than we were even six months ago. There are so many moving parts, so many possibilities, and you only have so much cash runway before it runs out.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Definitely the Techforce-19 Challenge in April and May this year. Being able to support over 1,000 new parents in an NHS-funded trial gave us an incredible opportunity to prove that our model could deliver extraordinary outcomes in a short period of time. In our case we reduced the percentage of trial participants experiencing possible depression or anxiety by almost half based on SWEMWBS surveys.

Best part of your job now?

I get a huge amount of joy from hearing feedback from our users and knowing that we are making a positive difference in their lives and the lives of their families. I also love working with innovate HR professionals.

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

I’m obviously biased here but I think it’s much easier to innovate in a small startup like Peppy than it is in a conventional area of the NHS like a Trust. I’d therefore make it easier for these startups to experiment with the NHS on new service models. These experiments need to be funded and decisions need to be made much quicker than they are now. Techforce-19 was a great example of what is possible.

A typical day for you would include..

MS Teams calls!! The whole team are working remotely so I’m on one video call after another. My day starts with three stand-ups: full team, tech team, ops team. Then it’s on to a wide mix of developing our product, client implementation meetings, and ad-hoc catch ups with the team. The typical day is also very long – I need a holiday!

Where can we find you?

Listen to the latest Innovation Exchange featuring Peppy Health.

For more information, visit their website at www.pepp.health or follow them on LinkedIn at getpeppy 

Meet the innovator: Dr Keith Tsui

In this edition, we caught up with Dr. Keith Tsui, CEO and Co-founder of Medwise.ai; an innovation that supports clinicians to answer questions faster than ever before.

Pictured above: Dr. Keith Tsui, CEO and Co-founder of Medwise.ai

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

Medwise.ai is an innovation that supports clinicians to answer questions faster than ever before. We have recently tailored our platform for Covid-19.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Medwise.ai was born out of my frustration working on the frontline as a medical doctor and having to rely on paper books and hard to access local guidelines when smartphones and smart search engines like Google are so prevalent. I decided to make a professional “Google for doctors”, providing evidence-based, fast and concise clinical answers at the point of care.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Do not give up, things will get tough, but things are usually not as bad as you thought, be creative and find new ways and new angles to tackle the problem
  2. Always talk to the users and understand the problem first. Be obsessed about the problem and the users and that’s the only way you could find and deliver value
  3. It is okay to fail, but it is not ok to fail repeatedly on the same thing. Move quickly but always respect how the health care system work and first “do no harm”.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Navigating the NHS procurement landscape for new and innovative digital health and AI solutions, but it’s good to see NHSx leading the way in making this easier for innovators.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Getting on the DigitalHealth.London Launchpad programme and working with my co-founder to pivot our platform to tailor to Covid-19 content – the beta was up and running within two weeks and now available for NHS clinicians.

Best part of your job now?

Meeting a lot of people (virtually during Covid-19) passionate about using digital and AI to make health care better for patients, doctors and the community.

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

There’s probably a lot of things that could help speed up health innovation, but I think the most important is to help align incentives within the NHS and making a clear path for procurement and adoption of health innovations.

A typical day for you would include..

As a start-up founder there is no such thing as a typical day! Every day is different and that’s the exciting part.

For more information, visit their website at www.medwise.ai/covid or follow them on Twitter @MedwiseAI

Meet the innovator: Christian Moroy

Meet the Innovator

In this series, we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we caught up with Christian Moroy, Co-founder & CTO of Edge Health; supporting NHS organisations use data more effectively to increase theatre utilisation and reduce cancellations.

Pictured above: Christian Moroy, Co-founder & CTO of Edge Health.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

SpaceFinder is a booking support software that enables hospitals to accurately predict how long surgical operations will take and then support staff in optimally scheduling them using available theatre space.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

We were working with an NHS Trust that struggled with underused operating theatres. We noticed that some theatres were empty while staff struggled to schedule life changing operations. This made us realise that scheduling was a truly difficult problem that required a solution.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Don’t make presumptions – spend time ‘on the ground’ or at the front line of the services you want to help. You can only really learn about problems that exist from experiencing them or being with the people who experience them every day;
  2. Create space and time to be creative – it is important to learn new things and attempt new approaches to problems you see but you need to prioritise that or you’ll never be able to fit it into your day to day; and
  3. Be strategic – once you have a great idea you might be impatient to get it out there. Implementing innovations, particularly in health care can be a long journey and there is a real skill in being prepared and equipped for that.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

NHS IT is inconsistent between hospitals and often local teams are really stretched. Trying to get the information needed can be slow at times.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Joining the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator! We were really proud to have been successful in getting on the programme and we are really making the most of the support, guidance and connections.

Best part of your job now?

Working with great people across all parts of the health system and keeping up to date with the latest technology at a time of great flux in the area.

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

Make processes and standards simpler. I’d support healthcare providers in creating standardised systems for key services into which third party suppliers can easily plug into. This would enable an “App Store” like situation that innovators could offer their services quicker and more effectively across different Trusts.

A typical day for you would include..

We usually start the day with a team meeting in the Edge office discussing ongoing projects. As a team we work across several projects so it is important to regularly catch up with each other. Then I would visit a Hospital Trust to take part in a workshop on how to implement SpaceFinder!

For more information, visit their website at edgehealth.co.uk or follow them on Twitter @edge_health_

Meet the innovator: Shaun Azam

Meet the Innovator

In this series, we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we caught up with Shaun Azam, CEFO at Sweatcoin; an app that incentivises physical activity by converting steps into points that can be exchanged for actual rewards.

Pictured above: Shaun Azam, CEFO at Sweatcoin.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

Through our digital app Sweatcoin, we incentivise people to be more active by converting steps into reward points that have real world value.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Realising that modern technology makes us lazy, and as humans we need instant rewards for effort (which is why most of us struggle to go to the gym for sustained periods). Hence, our app that converts steps into points with real value.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

    1. Listen to your users! You are building your product for them, so listen and take on board what they want.
    2. Don’t test ideas, test a hypothesis – ideas are real life applications and sit above a core hypothesis. When you test a hypothesis, you also test a whole host of ideas, saving vast amounts of time.
    3. I coined an acronym for this – ABA – Always Be Adding. Everything you do should be always be adding value to the business – we’re in a digital age, so use as many tools and apps as you can to create efficiency + cost savings, so you can focus on things that will ADD value to the business. Also, delegate whenever possible.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Overcoming the complexity of the healthcare system – we are fortunate in that our product has the ability to improves the lives of everyone in the world. Along with this comes difficulties around ensuring our product accurately caters for these vastly different demographics.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Academics at the University of Warwick investigated the impact of incentives on physical activity – they used Sweatcoin to do this. Their academic study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and found that Sweatcoin helped users walk +20% more each day, even after six months.

That was the moment that we realised that we ARE making the world more active, and that all the struggles were worth it.

Best part of your job now?

Genuinely improving the quality of lives of millions of people, every day. We receive countless messages from our users, informing us that Sweatcoin has motivated them to walk more, and how it has contributed to their improved physical + mental health.

Receiving these messages is truly incomparable.

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

I would include a line item in NHS budgets, that is designated to be spent with SME’s – this would foster the uptake of new digital solutions that have the potential to improve healthcare and patient journeys across the NHS.

A typical day for you would include..

Trying to grow and sell our product – we operate on two week ‘sprints’ – this means we aim to release new features of our product every fortnight. As you can imagine, this means countless user focus groups, product tests, and iterations.

The product is one aspect – selling it is the other! I’m a big believer in ‘people buy from people’ – so most of my remaining day is around meetings, understanding open opportunities, and communicating the value prop of Sweatcoin.

For more information, visit their website at sweat coin.com or follow them on Twitter @Sweatcoin

Meet the innovator: James Flint

Meet the Innovator

In this series we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we caught up with James Flint, CEO and Co-Founder at Hospify; a compliant, trusted healthcare messaging app.

Pictured above R – L: James Flint, Co-founder and CEO with Neville Dastur, Co-founder at Hospify.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

Available for free in the Apple and Android app stores, Hospify puts a simple, affordable alternative to non-compliant consumer messaging services like WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram and Messenger directly into the hands of healthcare professionals and patients.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Meeting with the Head of Health for the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2015 and discovering that, while a very big chunk of the NHS was using WhatsApp to communicate while at work, once GDPR arrived in 2018 they were going to have to stop doing this.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

    1. Be prepared for the long haul. And I mean long.
    2. Keep it simple.
    3. Never miss lunch.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Getting sufficient funding, without a doubt.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Getting on the NHS digital heath accelerator last year. It felt like we’d finally been given the official stamp of approval.

Best part of your job now?

Meeting nurses and hearing directly from them what a difference Hospify can make to their working lives.

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

Implement and support proper health data interoperability standards. I know this Is finally happening, but it’s still the most important single thing that needs to be done.

A typical day for you would include..

Answering a lot of email, talking to my development team, meeting or calling potential investors, networking or promoting Hospify at some kind of health event, answering customer support questions about the platform. Usually all on the same day and sometimes all at the same time!

For more information on Hospify visit www.hospify.com, Facebook, LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter @hospifyapp

Meet the innovator: Lydia Yarlott

Meet the Innovator

In this series we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we caught up with Lydia Yarlott, Co-Founder at Forward Health; a secure messaging and workflow app, connecting care workers around patient pathways.

Pictured above: Lydia Yarlott.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

Forward is a mobile communications platform aiming to connect healthcare professionals for the first time.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Probably being a first year doctor on my own in an NHS ward at 2am in the morning trying to get help for a deteriorating patient and being unable to contact anyone. Poor communication leads to a real feeling of helplessness, and I want to change that for doctors and nurses everywhere. It’s hard to believe we’re still using pagers and resorting to WhatsApp to get hold of each other in hospitals, so it wasn’t so much a lightbulb moment as an increasing feeling that something had to change!

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

    1. Talk to everyone, and anyone, you can about your idea. You never know what will happen next. My great friend Will worked with me as a junior doctor; he’s now with us on Forward full-time. We never would have had him as part of the team if we hadn’t spent hours on night shifts discussing the problem together!
    2. Find a Co-Founder (or several!) I couldn’t imagine doing this alone. Philip and Barney are both amazing people and amazing leaders, and it’s their drive and optimism that got us to where we are today – 5% of the doctors in the UK and growing. Whenever one of you is losing faith (inevitable at times!) the others can put you back on your feet and help you with that resilience you need in spades to be a successful Founder.
    3. Care about your problem more than your solution. Get as close to it as you can and stay there. Your solution will be wrong first time around, but as long as the problem isn’t solved, you have a chance of something really worthwhile.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Personal doubt!

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Getting our first real use cases. Watching our product change the way people work, resulting in better, faster care for patients. We have an amazing group of physios and orthopaedic surgeons using Forward to streamline shoulder surgery for patients, and another group who are using it to coordinate the multidisciplinary team in paediatric allergy. I can’t get enough of those stories because I know how tough it can be on the frontline of the NHS.

Best part of your job now?

The great privilege of working as a doctor and as a Co-Founder. I love clinical work, but I get frustrated by outdated systems, and I would hate it if I couldn’t focus on changing that. I care about healthcare at a systemic level and I want the NHS to survive, but I know that for that to be the case things will have to move forward, fast. I want to be a part of that.

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

Get Trusts talking to one another and sharing what they do. Incentivise knowledge transfer – both successes and failures. Share the ways in which they are working with others, including start-ups and small businesses, to foster innovation at scale.

A typical day for you would include..

A typical day being a paediatrician is just that – looking after sick children! I’m a junior doctor, so I’m still learning a lot, and working closely within a team to achieve the best outcome for the patient. When I’m at Forward, I spend most of my time meeting with the team to discuss progress and strategy, representing the clinical face of the company and the problem we’re trying to solve. The two jobs couldn’t be more different, but ultimately they are focused on the same thing – improving healthcare for everyone. I love what we’re building at Forward and I love the team – even those of us who aren’t from a healthcare background are driven by the mission to improve communication, and you can feel that energy walking into the office.

For more information on Forward Health visit www.forwardhealth.co or follow them on Twitter @ForwardHealth_

Meet the innovator: Vivek Patni

Meet the Innovator

In this series we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we spoke to Vivek Patni, Director and Co-Founder of WeMa Life; an online marketplace that brings customers and their families together with social care and community care service providers.

Pictured above: Vivek Patni.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

WeMa Life is an online marketplace that brings customers and their families together with social care and community care service providers; giving choice, accessibility and efficiency in the service procurement and delivery pathway.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

As an informal carer for my grandfather, I was immediately shocked by the lack of innovation in supporting families to find, coordinate and manage local care services for their loved one, hence WeMa Life was born. I find online marketplaces very convenient and use them for so many aspects of my life – products, clothes, hotels, restaurants – I knew a similar digital environment was needed for care services. Using WeMa Life as a customer I can search, compare, purchase and rate local care services whilst as a provider I can digitise the outdated, manual, paper-based visit records and manage my daily business activity.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

    1. Stay flexible: it’s tempting to start a business with a clear idea of how things will unfold; but this is rarely the case. Pivot and react to obstacles and have an open approach to finding the best solutions to all your problems.
    2. User experience: test your product constantly and get as much feedback as you can from all your user groups. Simple solutions sit very well in such a diverse industry.
    3. Be creative in your approach to developing tech and running your business. There are so many applications and tools to create efficiency and cost saving in finding resources, marketing and development, so use them!

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Where I had faced the difficulty from a customer side of social care, I was less aware of the complexity in delivering publicly funded social and community care to different user groups. This meant learning the nuances of each service type/provider and creating a fluid product that would fit all.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Designing the tech architecture from scratch, building an international technology development team and bringing my ideas to life in just eight months is something I am very proud of.

Best part of your job now?

Taking my product into the market! Now that the product is live, I am driving its use through digital marketing and sales. I meet so many interesting people on a daily basis who bring exciting new ideas to what we do – my mental technology roadmap is never ending.

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

I would give more opportunity and financial incentives to SME’s. There are a huge number of SME’s with great ideas and technology, they tend to be more fluid, interoperable and customisable to the needs of the NHS; they would be able to make a real change to the daily lives of providers and customers.

A typical day for you would include..

Typically, my days are devoted to technology and selling. My morning tends to be engagement with my India tech team to make sure we are always refining and innovating our solution. Afternoons will be selling, calling and meeting as many people as I can. I get energised by talking to people about what we do so I try to do that as much as possible.

For more information on WeMa Life visit www.wemalife.com or follow them on Twitter @wemalife

Meet the Innovator

Meet the Innovator

Each issue we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we spoke to Dr Sukhbinder Noorpuri, Founder and CEO of i-GP, an online consultation platform to allow patients faster access to primary care for minor illnesses.

Pictured above L-R: Dr Sukhbinder Noorpuri with Co-Founder, Dr Aleesha Dhillon.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

i-GP provides digital consultations for minor illnesses, using interactive pictures and online questions. It is accessible to patients 24/7 from any device, and 90% of users can start their treatment within just one hour.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

When I was working as a GP, I met Michael, a 70 year old gentleman who waited three hours to see me at a walk in centre back in 2015. I thought that there must be an easier way to access healthcare. So I started looking into alternatives, and when I found none, I decided to go about creating one. I have been fortunate enough to have a great Co-Founder in Aleesha who has been instrumental in developing creative solutions to all the challenges that we have encountered.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  • Have a vision and make it a big one – set your goals globally rather than just locally in the spirit of true disruption.
  • Be relentless in the pursuit of this vision and always try and learn from every experience or opportunity which comes your way – know your market, keep reading about it and stay focused.
  • Build a world class team and inspire them to believe in the company mission. Be confident in your leadership and enjoy the process. A successful entrepreneur may build a well respected company, but a successful team will change the world.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Healthcare innovation is very challenging because impact takes time to achieve. However, your clinical experience is really the key differentiator in the marketplace. If you genuinely feel you have a clear perspective on the problem and have created the solution then building the evidence for your product, despite being time consuming, is the clearest way to show its potential.

Some regard regulation as being a tough element of service delivery, but embrace the challenge as a well executed process is the reason you will stand out in the industry.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Over the last three years, we have won or been shortlisted for 22 healthcare awards as a result of the innovations we have developed in digital care. This has led us to international recognition and the opportunity to showcase i-GP at Conferences all over the world.

Learning to adapt and raise healthcare standards has been a reflection of the dedicated team approach to the venture. However, this recognition is secondary to the feedback we receive from our patients as this is our main driving force. Impacting the patient journey to care on a daily basis  is the motivation and inspiration to transform traditional routes of service. For example last week, we treated a patient who was due to catch a flight abroad for her sister’s wedding but was suffering with a urinary tract infection. It was late at night, she was in a rush and her chosen pharmacy was closed. We managed to arrange her prescription at the chemist within the airport just before she was due to take off. When she returned she was so thankful that her trip hadn’t been ruined by illness and she had been well enough to enjoy the celebrations.

Best part of your job now?

Without a doubt, my greatest fulfilment comes from leading our team. We are all passionate about seizing this opportunity in time to showcase the good that technology can bring to healthcare and the NHS. Digital health is still very much in its early stage of adoption and even though smartphones have been commonplace for several years, we are still on the cusp of widespread digital use. The service that we implement today, we hope, will continue for many years to come.

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

There has been a real drive recently with Rt Hon. Matthew Hancock advocating technology to modernise the NHS. Accompanying this, are the additional Government funds being made available to trial new products. This combination offers a paradigm shift from previous regimes and as innovators, we are very much looking forward to this filtering down to provide new opportunities. I also feel it is imperative that decision makers utilise patient feedback to help determine the future course and not just rely on industry advisers.

A typical day for you would include..

Most days are very varied due to the wide scope of avenues we are exploring at i-GP. I usually like to hold key meetings in the morning with either members of the team or board to review processes and define our future strategy.

We have a schedule over the week to assign time to all the key aspects of service from marketing to patient outcomes and from technology developments to the financial structure we have adopted. Reflection is part of this process and the opportunity to network with other innovators is often on the timetable to ascertain the potential for collaboration.

Liasing with the Accelerator team and our navigator Sara is also a key part of our time as we look to integrate further into the NHS.

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Dr Sukhbinder Noorpuri who recently won the Chairman’s Entrepreneur Award (pictured above) at the TiE Awards Wednesday 5 December. Find out more about the awards here

For more information on i-GP visit i-gp.co.uk or follow them on Twitter @wellness_igp_uk

Meet the Innovator

Meet the Innovator

Each issue we’ll get up close and personal with an innovator asking them to share their thoughts and experience from their journey into the world of health and care innovation. In our latest edition, we spoke to Dr Nicholas Andreou, Co-Founder of Locums Nest, a staff bank management app; connecting healthcare professionals to temporary work.

Pictured above r-l: Dr Nicholas Andreou with fellow Co-Founder of Locums Nest, Ahmed Shahrabanian.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

Locums Nest bridges the gap between hospitals and doctors. Making staff vacancies easier and simpler to fill, without the expensive agency middle man.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Working as junior doctors in the NHS and experiencing first-hand the frustrations and inefficiencies of filling gaps in the rota.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  • Be tenacious- don’t take no for an answer, have thick skin
  • Hire people with purpose who believe in your message
  • Be kind to everyone you meet.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Trying to positively change an established institution, with large long-standing incumbents. Challenging the status quo.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

With our help, a Trust managed to staff a winter pressures ward without going to an agency. This meant they saved £1.6m in the first 10 months.

Best part of your job now?

Meeting different people in different environments; realising the NHS is enriched with experience and expertise from a vast range of backgrounds.

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

Open up the barriers to meeting the right people in the system to support innovation.

A typical day for you would include..

There’s no such thing! One day I could be travelling across the country for meetings, in the office for a full day product meeting or spending the day supporting our NHS clients.

Contact us

W: locumsnest.co.uk

T: @locumsnest

Meet the Innovator

Meet the Innovator

In our latest edition, we spoke to Mike Hurley, creator of ESCAPE-pain – a rehabilitation programme for people with chronic joint pain. Mike is currently a Professor of Rehabilitation Sciences at St George’s University of London & Kingston University as well as Clinical Director for the Musculoskeletal theme at Health Innovation Network.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

ESCAPE-pain “does exactly what is says on the tin”, it’s a rehabilitation programme for older people with chronic knee or hip pain (often called osteoarthritis) that helps participants understand why they have pain, what they can do to help themselves cope with it, and guides them through an exercise programme that helps them realise the benefits that can be attained from being more physically active.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Not sure it was a lightbulb moment, it was more like one of the low energy lights slowly coming on! But there were two turning points that have led to ESCAPE-pain.

The first was realising the impact of pain on people’s everyday physical and psychosocial function was as important to them as the sensation of pain itself, and that addressing these impacts is as important as minimising pain.

The second was realising the importance muscle plays in causing joint pain and joint damage. We used to think joint pain was caused by damage to joints that resulted in pain, this stopped people doing their regular activities, which caused muscle weakness and makes the joint susceptible to further damage. However, we highlighted muscles are very important for protecting our joints from abnormal movement and suggested impaired muscle function that occurs as we get older may initiate joint damage. Thus, muscle is a cause rather than simply a consequence of joint damage. If that’s true then maintaining well-conditioned muscles through exercise-based rehabilitation programmes, we might prevent or reduce joint pain and damage, and improve people’s quality of life.

Coupling the first light bulb moment – addressing the psychosocial impact of pain – with the second light bulb moment – experience and understanding of the value of exercise – gives us ESCAPE-pain.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Prove your innovation works – if people aren’t convinced it is useful to them why would they use it?
  2. Surround yourself with a team of clever, hardworking people who believe in you and the innovation.
  3. Keep your eyes on the prize – wide implementation – and be prepared for lots of ups and downs and hard work convincing the multitude of non-believers that your innovation works.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Some of the conversations we had with commissioners would have been laughable if they weren’t so depressing. Financial pressures mean people delivering the programme continually want to reduce the number of sessions, but we know doing that reduces its effectiveness. And even though commissioners were often convinced about the need for the programme and wanted to do the right thing, the requirement to focus on short term benefits meant that anything taking more than a year to show benefits, whether health or cost, was of little interest. Many felt unable to invest in services where the benefits are felt by other parts of the health system, for example taking the pressure off primary care. Often commissioners could hear the madness of what they were saying even as they articulated it, but that didn’t change anything. It was tough and these issues really do slow the spread of innovation.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

Getting the unwavering backing of the HIN. In late 2012, I was about to give up on getting ESCAPE-pain adopted clinically, because there were no channels for innovative healthcare interventions to spread across the NHS and beyond. Then I answered an email enquiring about local MSK research in south London from its newly founded Academic Health Science Network, met with the Managing Director and frankly my professional life took a new, exciting and very fulfilling turn for the better.

Best part of your job now?

There are two:

Working with the MSK team is terrific and fun. They work so hard to make it everything work. It’s a privilege to work with such a lovely group of people.

The second great thing is the kick the whole team gets from the positive feedback we get from ESCAPE-pain participants. It never ceases to make me feel very humble and honoured to be able to help people.

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

I’d start “NICE Innovations”, a body that would screen potential (digital, models of care and service) innovations, pick the most promising, work with innovators and the health systems to find out what works (or not), why (not), and then actively promote and incentivise the health and social care systems to adopt or adapt effective innovations. Its kind of happening at the moment but feels fragmented, so it needs to be brought together to make it more effectual and “given teeth”.

A typical day for you would include..

The great thing about my work is that there is no typical day. I usually wake about six, make a cup of tea and listen to the news on the radio before heading into the new day. That could involve writing papers, grants, presenting at conferences, attending meetings at the HIN or St George’s, lecturing, mentoring students or clinicians, figuring out how to get our MSK work seen and adopted.

Find out more about ESCAPE-pain by visiting the website at www.escape-pain.org or following them on twitter @escape-pain

Contact us

W: chc2dst.com and ieg4.com (main company website).

T: @IEG4

Meet the Innovator

Meet the Innovator

In our latest edition of Meet the Innovator, we caught up with Simon Williams of CHC2DST, a cloud based digital solution for continuing healthcare assessments. Simon is currently the Healthcare Director at IEG4 Limited.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

CHC2DST supports the digital transformation of the Continuing Healthcare (CHC) Assessment process by digitising the forms used in the national framework and automating workflow processes to improve patient service, boost productivity and control CHC care package allocation.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

When we saw that a complex national process relied upon the copying and transmission of reams of paper across multiple stakeholders, it was clear that the process would be impossible to manage effectively and, that, through automation, efficiencies and service quality improvements could be realised.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Be sure the challenges you are solving are recognised within the NHS and then be prepared for a long gestation period
  2. Find some NHS body/bodies who become early adopters, with whom you can collaborate to prove the solution within the NHS
  3. Promote your innovation at multiple levels within NHS to gain ‘share of mind’.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Despite a direct call to action from Matthew Swindells and Jane Cummings in Summer 2017 to drive up performance against the 28 Day National Standard for decision turnaround, the biggest challenge is engaging with the CCGs who are struggling to run the existing paper-based process. From NHS England Quarterly Situation Reports for CHC, we can see that many London CCGs would benefit from digital transformation of the assessment process. We are keen to talk to the CCGs in South London. An hour invested in watching a webinar would bring the digital transformation benefits to life.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

When the alignment of NHS bodies came together effectively under the auspices of the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN to create a focussed, specific event targeted at an audience of CHC practitioners. NHS Strategic Improvement for CHC explained the importance of improving the area to NHS England. Cheshire and Wirral CCGs discussed their CHC transformation journey supported by our technology and through collaborative working with us. The result was a further take up of the innovation and an increased awareness amongst the 20-odd Y&H AHSN CCGs in attendance that an alternative to the status quo was available and proven to work.

Best part of your job now?

When people who are working very hard to manage and execute the existing assessment process see how our solution puts them in control of their workload.  The ‘lightbulbs’ go on during the demo and the feedback we receive is positive . It’s great to know that we are helping to making a contribution to improve ‘our NHS’ in this area.

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

For all service leads, make exploring and championing innovation part of the job description on which they are evaluated. Create a National Innovation Channel which holds approved content which can be accessed by NHS professionals to make it easier to find solutions in use in the NHS.

A typical day for you would include..

Reaching out to NHS stakeholders in AHSNs, CCGs, and NHS Executive Management to highlight CHC2DST’s capabilities to them and share results visible from NHS Quarterly Situation Reports for CHC. The data shows that CHC2DST helps to improve productivity by reducing unnecessary work activities, improves decision turnaround timeframes and improves CHC care package allocation.

IEG4 runs regular webinars to demonstrate CHC2DST to NHS Professionals working within the CHC area, without obligation. If it works for them, we help build stakeholder support and the case for change.

Contact us

W: chc2dst.com and ieg4.com (main company website).

T: @IEG4

Meet the Innovator

Meet the Innovator

In the first of our ‘Meet the Innovator’ series, we spoke to Asma Khalil, creator of the innovation ‘HaMpton’ (Home monitoring of hypertension in pregnancy). Asma currently works as a Consultant Obstetrician at St George’s NHS Foundation Trust.

Asma Khalil, creator of the innovation 'HaMpton' (Home monitoring of hypertension in pregnancy).

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence

New care pathway involving the use of an app for monitoring high blood pressure at home, empowering expectant mothers to be involved in their own care.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

I was having a dinner with my friend who had a heart attack and he showed me at the restaurant that he can monitor his heart rate using an App.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Do not give up
  2. Believe in yourself and your innovation
  3. Listen carefully for any feedback and think of it positively.

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

Finances. There are some small sources of funding that can make a big difference, like south London small grants, and I’d encourage people to take advantage of them. But finances are still the biggest challenge.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

2017 HSJ Innovation Award

NIA Fellowship

Finalist for the 2017 BMJ Innovation Award.

Best part of your job now?

The best part of any doctor’s job is when he/she helps someone who is suffering or could be going through a difficult/challenging time in their life.

When I come across a pregnant woman who used my innovation and hear her feedback (without knowing that it is me behind it).  I realise that I made a difference to this women’s life and her family. It makes me realise that my efforts are worthwhile.

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

I would ensure that the NHS Hospitals have innovations at the Heart of their practice and potentially link innovation with financial incentives. I would also ensure that innovations are integral part of the hospital review/rating.

A typical day for you would include..

Looking after my patients and trying my best to provide the safest and the best possible care that they deserve. It is very rewarding to be proud of what you do.

Find out more about HaMpton here.