Jul 182013

HANDI were delighted that two of our founders were nominated for this prestigious award, but conflicted because we could not possibly have campaigned for one over the other. Rob Dyke was disappointed not to make it on the Health Service Journal’s list of the 50 most inspirational women in healthcare as the other HANDI candidate for IT Champion Sarah Amani did (he’d agree to dress as required) but he is the one to have been shortlisted for IT Champion so congratulation to Sarah for gaining well deserved recognition as one of the most inspirational women in healthcare and we can now say without fear or favour “Vote for Rob for IT Champion”

It would be great to have one of HANDI’s founders win this award so we urge you all to vote for him in the final round. There are some other worthy candidates but Rob stands out, as while the others are being recognised for doing the paid day job well, Rob’s contribution primarily to HANDI,  and NHS Hack Day has not just been unpaid but supported further out of his own pocket.

Voting is open now and closes at 16.00 next Friday the 26th July


Jul 052013


I’m off to “Entrepreneur's Day with NHS England”  being organised by Cambridge Health Networks where I expect to see a lot of HANDI members and be able to recruit some new ones.

I’ve been a serial, if not always successful, commercial and social entrepreneur since I was 13 and through my work with HANDI I have spoken  literally many hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs in the digital health and care space, most of who are a lot closer to 13 than I am today.  So from my own experience and that of others I hope I know what entrepreneurs want.

Well , like all of us, they want some mixture of money, glory, power and sex and are driven to achieve this by a heady mixture of love and fear. But, to be more specific about what they want in the digital health and care world I think this falls in to three areas in this order:

A route to market

They want to understand which business models will enable them to deliver sustainable products and service and achieve the commercial and/or social return they seek. This means:

  • Help in getting an enterprise of the ground in particular investment and mentorship (although too many young entrepreneurs don’t recognise their need for the later)
  • Guidance on business models and in particular support for novel business models that have the potential to provide a better way to buy and sell than traditional ones.
  • If the target payer is the public sector, help through the procurement jungle and public procurement channels that are accessible to start-ups and micro-enterprises.
  • A sales channel. Many entrepreneurs have neither the capacity nor inclination to do the required selling and would find the assistance of a appropriately configured sales organisation really helpful.

Help with quality and regulation

This is a fraught area for entrepreneurs in health and care. They recognise the need for regulation where poor quality can cause serious harm, want to comply with regulatory requirements and recognise the value of being able to demonstrate they meet appropriate quality standards, but they don’t want to be mired in onerous bureaucratic processes. They want:

  • Clarity with regard to legal requirements so they can properly address their compliance and risk management.  Today, it can be near impossible to get such clarity from regulators like the MHRA.
  • Access to independent quality assurance services which can provide meaningful but lightweight quality and safety accreditation that allows those who invest in quality and safety to distinguish their products and services from those who don’t. There are too many “snake oil” salesmen in the health and care apps market.
  • Help and guidance in meeting those quality and safety requirements that are required or useful to them.

Help to play nicely together

Delivering the real promise of digital tools requires that individual products and service from different, maybe competing, suppliers can work together orchestrated so they provide a unified experience to user, sharing data where appropriate with access to the common services they need to achieve this. This means:

  • Help and guidance with regard to interfaces, standards, software orchestration and interoperability.
  • Meaningful access to open interfaces (APIs) on relevant third party systems.
  • Access to a digital health ecosystem that provides the infrastructure and services required to support interoperability, orchestration and playing nicely together.

HANDI can help with all of these things. I look forward to hear how NHS England can help.