DrDoctor believes in adapting current processes and adding incremental value so that healthcare works for everyone. In 20 years’ time, they want to see a new type of hospital – one that allows for better patient–clinic interaction, removes unnecessary admin and uses digital tools to manage risk.
DrDoctor founder Tom Whicher’s passion for digital transformation started in his parents’ house at the age of 13 when he learnt to code by using books from the library. He went on to study ship science at Southampton University and after navigating super yachts for a number of years, ended up working as a management consultant. Tom worked on varied projects, and within the healthcare industry soon noticed real problems in the NHS that he wanted to help solve. He became fascinated with how patients engage with the NHS.
Joined by two colleagues, Tom went on to set up DrDoctor – a digital health company transforming the way hospitals and patients communicate, by using pragmatic, common-sense technology. The DrDoctor team now work with 22 NHS hospitals to deliver technology that helps them day to day, and automates the routine tasks, so they can focus on patient care.
DrDoctor believes in adapting current processes and adding incremental value so that healthcare works for everyone. In 20 years’ time, they want to see a new type of hospital – one that allows for better patient–clinic interaction, removes unnecessary admin and uses digital tools to manage risk. It aims to drive a fundamental shift in the quality and cost of delivering healthcare and enable new, more patient-centric ways of working.
Tom’s team of 35 has a practical approach to working in the healthcare sector. “They get things done, yet in a way that is kind,” says Tom. “Creating change can be uncomfortable yet they approach their work with bravery and candour.” Tom gives them autonomy within a flat structure and believes the values of the team are absolutely key to their mission. Word of mouth and an ecosystem of contacts also play a crucial role, according to Tom.
Currently deployed in 22 major hospitals across the UK including Guy’s and St Thomas’ and Great Ormond Street, DrDoctor has improved over 3.6 million patient care journeys to date.
DrDoctor has saved the NHS millions of pounds and 3000 years’ worth of missed appointments. For example, just one partnership (with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust) delivered a patient appointment ‘Did Not Attend’ reduction of 17.2%, a £2.6 million financial benefit in the first year and a 91% patient recommendation rate. Twelve million people use DrDoctor each year.
DrDoctor is self-funded by the founders and through revenue from partner hospitals. Following support from Bethnal Green Ventures’ accelerator programme (of which Social Tech Trust is a founding partner), the organisation also received grants from Social Tech Trust of over £100k in 2014, and a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) grant of £120k in 2014. Annual turnover is £3 million.
“Financial support from Social Tech Trust came at a critical time for us,” says Tom. “We just had a proof of concept and some revenue but the funding allowed us to harden the product and create momentum. Without it we would not have made progress.”
Case study published May 2019