The way healthcare is delivered is constantly changing and improving. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way healthcare services are provided in a multitude of ways.
Concentric Health is a technology start-up transforming the way we make decisions about our health, with a radical approach to patients' experience as they move through the system. The Cardiff-based firm wants to disrupt the health sector for the better. Here Dafydd Loughran, one of Concentric's co-founders, explains what the company does, where it's going and gives some pointers to others starting out on their business journey.
He also explains how being part of the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP) has helped their business. The AGP provides targeted support for ambitious growing firms. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
Tell us about Concentric Health.
Decision-making in healthcare is broken. Life-changing decisions are too often made for us, not with us.
In healthcare, consent is given by patients before any treatment or surgery. The process of sharing information and documenting consent is traditionally done using paper, often on carbon-copy forms. It's a poor experience for patients and clinicians alike, and as a paper-based process is increasingly incompatible with post-COVID healthcare.
Concentric Health’s mission is to transform how decisions are made about our health – decisions informed by patient outcomes and shared by patient and clinician. Our digital consent application makes it easy to share trusted, personalised information with patients, and give consent in person or remotely, leading to informed, shared decisions. We’re a clinically-led team with technical founders and experience in scaling impactful healthtech. I stepped sideways from surgical training in 2016 and founded Concentric with Edward St John a Consultant Surgeon at the Royal Marsden, and Martyn Loughran as Chief Technical Officer.
We've had support from Business Wales AGP and our relationship manager on the programme, Andrew Beer, to launch Concentric at pace globally, and is now in use at a number of leading healthcare organisations such as Imperial College Healthcare and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trusts, and here in Wales at Swansea Bay University Health Board.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for digital transformation in healthcare, with a particular focus on remote care pathways. Our remote consent functionality, which we developed with a Welsh Government COVID-response grant, has enabled patients and clinicians to have consent conversations regarding urgent treatment remotely. It’s meant thousands of patients have avoided risky face-to-face hospital visits prior to surgery, and is enabling organisations to streamline care pathways in order to accelerate the rectification of significantly increased waiting lists post-pandemic.
What are your proudest moments in business so far?
Having worked on the foundations for Concentric (alongside our clinical work) for many years, seeing the feedback from patients we are supporting to engage with, understand, and own decisions about their care brings us a tremendous amount of joy.
Innovating in healthcare is hard, and it's often a long road, but we're now really starting to make a difference to people's lives.
If you were starting again, what would you do differently?
Relax into how you want to run a business rather than fighting stereotypes. I’m not a classic business person, I’m a clinician at heart, I just happen to need to do some business-type things to ensure that as a group we have a positive impact on as many peoples’ lives as possible.
How has support from Business Wales AGP helped your business?
As well as a Welsh Government COVID-response grant to develop remote consent functionality, being part of Business Wales AGP has meant access to invaluable mentorship from David Rees of Izy Capital (David sadly passed away in August 2020). David’s input was invaluable in guiding us through negotiations for our international sales agreement with EMIS Health. Having access to experience such as David's meant we were able enter conversations with established firms well prepared and with confidence.
What advice and guidance would you give other businesses starting out?
● Seek advice and support - there's plenty out there. The assistance we've received from the Welsh Government through Business Wales AGP has been of significant benefit.
● Anyone can do it. We saw a challenge that no-one else was solving for us so worked out how to solve it ourselves. Requirements to succeed: Bravery to get started and the grit to persevere.
For more information on Concentric Health, visit here.
Further information on the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme