Talk review – 'Can startups save the NHS'

I attended a talk last night at Second Home excellently hosted by Soheb Panja from Courier which asked the question 'Can start-ups save the NHS'. It was an interesting insight into how start up's are trying to penetrate such a huge organisation which is governed by bureaucracy and complex work systems. There were many comments which stuck with me including a quote by Mahiben Maruthappu who said 'Digital has a big piece to play on preventable health problems'. I wholeheartedly agree and believe the more we own our own health the more we can prevent and help others in turn. Being reactive is how our local healthcare works now, and we should be striving for a predictive state where we, as individuals know the state and potential future state of our health.

Since I have been undertaking this project, I have finally considered being a blood donor - something of which I never considered before due to my fear of needles, and lack of consideration - I literally didn't think to do it. I have began to overcome the needle fear in the past few years - oddly by having a few tattoos I have faced up to this fear. But my main reason to want to donate is because I learned (through obtaining my health records) my blood type is one of the most common and ideal for donation. This is not something I would have thought about previously due to the lack of understanding but now I feel I can make a difference and want to take this forward. 

Some more frustrating comments were around how startups can work with the NHS and if you want to pitch a product it needs to solve the clinicians problems there and then - how you can save them time and money. Which to me is approaching the problem from the wrong angle, we should be looking to solve the patients problems which in turn looks to solve the issues around the NHS complex and impenetrable systems. This is from my own naive (non business focused) point of view, however if they switch this they might find better, longer term and more relevant solutions. Learn from patients not from backlogs of technical and UX dept.

The spokesman from uMotif made a relevant comment on how this can work - that the patients need to go to doctors and say 'we want this' rather than doctors/hospital's telling patients what they think they need. This has buoyed my enthusiasm to carry on with this project and see where it goes.

Check out this piece on Courier for a more in-depth business focused take on the subject.