Words by Smiley Team
Two doctors have embarked on independent missions to tackle some of the biggest problems facing the NHS.
Dr Owain Rhys Hughes and Dr Anas Nader are both NHS doctors who have launched separate start-ups in response to the challenges they encountered and witnessed at work.
When people go to see their GP, they hope they'll quickly be given a solution: a hospital appointment, a prescription or simply some reassuring words. But pressures on the UK healthcare system mean fast solutions are becoming more difficult and costly to deliver.
Today, record-breaking wait times are becoming the norm and staff are buckling under unsustainable workloads, something that Owain wanted to prevent.
“On the hospital floor, I was struck by the glaring problems – from inefficiencies to delays – that were a direct result of outdated, siloed clinical communication systems," he tells Smiley News. "Doctors couldn’t share knowledge or collaborate on patient treatment. Paper-based referrals and headache-inducing email chains were getting in the way of care delivery, and patients were falling through the cracks.
“I knew that the NHS needed a better alternative, so, after finding out exactly what my colleagues needed, I set about creating one.”
The surgeon from Anglesey soon realised it wasn't just higher patient numbers and more complex conditions that were overloading the systems, it was the systems themselves that were not fit for purpose.
Owain set down his scrubs and went about building a new system, selecting the best new technologies and working in close collaboration with NHS clinicians.
The Cinapsis SmartReferrals platform built by Owain allows clinicians to request specialist advice, and securely share clinical images and expert knowledge in a matter of seconds. Colleagues can then work together to decide on the best course of treatment for an individual patient.
Since launching, Cinapsis has freed up appointments and clinicians’ time for patients who really need them, reducing stress for both patients and the clinicians themselves. Cinapsis is being used by several major NHS Trusts and is helping cut wait times for specialist advice from 50 weeks to just 48 hours.
Dr Anas Nader was equally concerned about the burnout and work-related stress that he was witnessing in his colleagues.
Determined to seek a solution, Anas co-founded Patchwork Health with his colleague, Dr Jing Ouyang. Together, they have built a team of over 100 people who really care about making NHS staffing work for NHS staff.
In 2017, they launched their first package of technology and services in partnership with a leading London NHS Trust, Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust.
“Patchwork Health’s end-to-end workforce solutions empower healthcare staff to work flexibly and in a way that prioritises their wellbeing and professional development," Anas tells Smiley News.
“As of 2022, we’ve enabled almost 3 million hours of NHS shifts to be sustainably staffed each year, and have saved the NHS an estimated £40 million pounds in temporary staffing fees. But most importantly, we’re really proud to have changed lives.”
Both doctors have invented solutions to break down the barriers that prevent staff from achieving their full potential, and hope to improve the wellbeing of today’s and tomorrow’s generation of NHS workers.
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