DrDoctor turns 8- the year we grew up
Topics: Behind the scenes
It’s a warm and sunny day in Waterloo, London. You can hear the sirens from our neighbours GSTT and see paramedics on their lunch break relaxing in the park across from our HQ. The only thing missing is the DrDoctor team. The lockdown caused by the ongoing pandemic has meant that our growing team is working away together but apart across the country, the globe even.
This time last year we were celebrating our birthday together in the office, surrounded by our clients, friends and family (and a bunch of farm animals; which you’ll know if you joined us at our Summer party 😉) but this year DrDoctor turns 8 years old without the singing and dancing. If it wasn’t for Covid we’d be knees deep in cake and festivities but today a socially distanced cup of tea via Zoom will have to do. How very grown up!
Last year to celebrate our growth, I sat down with the founders Tom, Perran & Rinesh, to chat about the birth of DrDoctor (you can read about it here). Today to commemorate our special day I decided to focus our remote interview on the journey so far.
This year has undoubtedly been challenging for everyone; for our company it has been the year we grew up. Our solution has spread like wildfire, we’ve built 7 new products and hired a bunch of new people. And the business has slowly spread its wings out of the start-up cocoon.
I asked the founders:
How has the NHS changed in the past 8 years?
Rinesh: Slower than I would have liked, but in (mostly) better ways than I expected.
Perran: When we started DrDoctor 8 years ago, the ideas we had seemed farfetched - to give the patients access to their data and control in their care. Now every hospital or GP expects to provide a digital portal for patients and the questions are how can we make the most out of it.
Tom: The NHS of today is very different. The biggest change has been the rhetoric around technology as an enabler, not an end to itself, and embracing SMEs and Agile. It's very different to when we started 8 years ago, and the industry was still centred around a few big players. The health Service recognises it needs to innovate, and the biggest issue is adoption of tech, not the technology itself.
What issues involving healthcare has DrDoctor resolved so far and what pain points still remain?
Tom: I think we've knocked down lots of the IG and risk blockers, thanks to the great work of Dame Fiona Caldicott. There is a widespread understanding now that involving the patient early and giving them agency leads to better outcomes - which is very different from a few years ago, when the thought of giving too much control to patients was considered very risky. There is now very strong clinical drive for new models and more patient involvement, which obviously Covid has accelerated.
Rinesh: The change in attitude - it's no longer that technology is only about saving money but actually about patients and clinical teams being able to deliver better outcomes for individuals and the system as whole. Not sure we've “solved it” but perhaps we've had some influence on attitudes in a small way.
Perran: Interoperability has improved massively, particularly with new standards such as FHIR. Still a long way to go for all systems to have API access but the movement has begun which is fantastic!
What is unique about the team at DrDoctor?
Perran: The spark that runs through everyone to make a difference and solve the problems that healthcare is facing. It has been tough times the last few months but knowing they are improving things for patients has kept the teams going during the long hours
Rinesh: A universal and genuine MO (to do good for patients and the service at large) and the attitude to deliver this.
Tom: The absolute passion which everyone goes about the day to day, and a deep rooted unflappablity! The world has thrown a lot of challenges at all of us over the last year, I'm deeply proud of the way the team have stepped up to deal with these with a smile. Eight years in we're still at the start of the journey - and I know we're all driven to make an impact on the way.
I echo our ethos which is that we are huge advocates for celebrating success. Hopefully as the world recovers, we will be in a better place to put together one of our famous parties this time next year.
In the meanwhile, we will keep growing bigger and stronger and expanding our solution to reach more of the NHS behind the scenes. To ensure that ultimately every patient gets the care they need at the right time and via the most appropriate route, enabled by the right tech.
We thank you for all your support so far!