The pandemic has put enormous pressure on the NHS with millions of people waiting for hospital appointments. As part of our 2021 update on our Impact Journey, we caught up with our alumni venture, DrDoctor to find out more about how they’re providing new ways for patients to access the care they need, when they need it.
Q. Tell us about the change you want to see in the world
A. Our vision is a digital-first healthcare system where patients are seen based on needs not time or place. DrDoctor is an award-winning patient engagement platform that helps with care coordination, saves hospitals time, effort and money by helping patients digitally engage with their healthcare provider. Our platform makes an instant impact by shifting clinically-relevant patient interactions online. By digitising patient access to care, we help hospitals cut costs, see the right patients at the right time, and provide a better patient experience.
More than 35 NHS organisations use DrDoctor so that patients can manage their healthcare needs, clinicians can see more patients and hospitals can deliver more effective and sustainable care. Through simple and effective digital transformation, DrDoctor is supporting a sustainable NHS when the demand for care is outstripping supply.
Q. In your own words, describe what you do.
A. Our patient engagement platform helps patients and hospitals manage care online. Our 14 technology solutions can be divided into 4 categories; patient communications, appointment management, demand management and risk stratification / remote care.
Q. Tell us about your users and how have they been impacted by the pandemic?
A. We now serve more than 10 million NHS patients across the country with our patient engagement platform. We’ve facilitated more than 50 million appointments to date for our 37 partner Trusts and Health Boards in the NHS.
As a result of the pandemic the digital appetite of the NHS has increased resulting in positive growth for DrDoctor – expanding our product set from 9 to 14 solutions. We also built our integrated Video solution from scratch in just 5 weeks to respond to NHS needs to see patients remotely at the height of the pandemic. The DrDoctor team headcount has more than doubled in size going from 42 employees (March 2020) to the current team size of 94. At the start of the pandemic we decided to offer our bespoke Covid-19 toolkit free of charge to any NHS trust that needed it as it was time for us to truly practice what we preach which is that we love the NHS and we’re here to make it work better.
During the pandemic we made financial savings for the trusts we work with, increased the number of patients receiving care and reduced the patient backlog due to Covid.
Q. How have the broader social issues that you’re addressing changed?
A. Backlog recovery is now the biggest issue after healthcare workers have held the front line against the Covid-19 pandemic. With millions of people on waiting lists and only so many appointment slots and hospital rooms available, it will take years at our current rate to clear the backlog at a cost that is unsustainable. Providing new ways for patients to access the care they need when they need it is crucial.
A. What role do you think purpose-driven technology plays in shaping a better future?
A. It’s important to respond to critical needs as they arise, e.g. Covid. Employing tech for good and providing a digital first/remote first healthcare system is the only way to ensure the NHS remains sustainable and can look after future generations, especially with an ageing population with longer term needs. This means healthcare delivery needs to stop being reliant on time and space and instead move towards being needs based. That means we stop relying on buildings and time-slots to deliver care and create capacity by moving care online. By further employing AI and Machine Learning we can take this a step further to hyper personalising healthcare delivery and ensuring all patient and accessibility needs are met at a reduced cost.
Q. What’s next for DrDoctor?
A. Interoperability and working with others to create an integrated and sustainable ecosystem of expert solutions. We want to provide a digital front door that allows patients to access best in class healthcare solutions when they need it and wherever they are.
Find out more about DrDoctor via their website.
Published November 2021.