In an increasingly digital age, consumers are looking for quick and efficient solutions to everyday problems. Meanwhile, it’s estimated that there are still around one million failed attempts to book a GP appointment every week, meaning that this digital efficiency hasn’t fully permeated into the health sector. Born from an NHS programme and built by NHS doctors, Q doctor allows NHS clinicians to see their patients digitally, empowering health organisations to allocate clinical workforce exactly where and when it’s needed most. We sat down with founder and CEO Chris Whittle to find out more.
What is Q Doctor’s vision, in your own words?
Having worked in the NHS system first hand as a doctor, my vision was achieving conjunction between NHS care and technology. Q doctor’s mission is to leverage technology in a way that aligns with the key national strategy, to connect clinicians and patients from booking their appointment to seeing their clinician. Our vision is to continue to operate at the forefront of digitisation of the NHS and deliver better experiences and outcomes for patients.
What about the current state of the industry makes it a good time for Q doctor to gain momentum?
NHS consultations are rapidly moving online, and we’re working with large parts of the country in executing that capability. Digital clinical interactions offer an opportunity to streamline NHS operations, which will, in turn, have a positive impact on the community pharmacy market and long term condition management. Our recent industry firsts in urgent care and secondary care open up large growth opportunities in synchronising care and providing an end to end solution for NHS patients.
It is a really key moment for healthcare digitisation; in terms of patient awareness, clinician acceptance, and national strategy. Both the NHS England National GP Contract Framework and the NHS Long Term Plan name video consultation as part of the future of the NHS, and Q doctor is right at the centre of this change.
What was one of the most exciting accomplishments for Q doctor thus far, and what will be the challenges going forward?
We’re currently partnered with over 280 practices. It’s so exciting for our team to be able to support more and more practices around the country in digitising their patients’ access. We’ve accomplished national firsts in both Urgent Care (bringing video consultation to 111 and Clinical Assessment Service settings) as well as in Secondary Care (bringing video consultation to specialist Cardiology outpatients setting).
The NHS patient experience can be disjointed, and this is the major challenge we’ve come to face. At present, the patient spends a lot of time ‘pinballing’ around the system until they get to see the right person with the right expertise and availability. The goal of our technology is to pull these elements together, but the greatest challenge is actually rolling out that change on the ground. It often requires change management and getting people really excited about the technology to make necessary changes to the way things are done.
We’re really excited that Nesta – the Innovation Foundation – have agreed to a conditional investment in our funding round. This round will allow us to hire additional engineering, business development and support staff to both deliver our newest NHS contracts and enhance our product as it expands across the healthcare ecosystem. There are a number of exciting opportunities for intelligent use of machine learning as we achieve scale – across GP practice work and in Urgent and Secondary Care – in order to further enhance the patient’s digital journey through the NHS.
Our investors in this crowdfunding round will get the opportunity to partake in the digitisation of their own health service! Some of our existing investors have already experienced the excitement when their own practice signs up, and they’re able to benefit from these digitisation services first hand.
If you could give any advice to new Founders building their businesses from the ground up, what would it be?
Fall in love with the problem you’re trying to solve, not your solution for it.
What’s one thing outside of work that gives you the most joy?
My children – both in day to day life, but also of course knowing that we’re improving the healthcare system access for them in the future.
To find out more, check out Q doctor’s pitch here.
When investing, your capital is at risk. This blog post has been approved as a financial promotion by Seedrs.