Decoding #healthtech
7 September 2020

What if healthcare wasn’t a lottery, but about getting help when and where you need it?

Visionable is the first video collaboration platform designed for healthcare team’s adept at handling the differing advanced clinical needs of the healthcare profession. Visionable was founded by Alan Lowe and Lord Victor Adebowale, CBE in 2015.

Maddyness spoke to Alan Lowe about his journey so far and why Visionable is the way forward in future health tech with its digital-first perspective. Healthcare is a rapidly changing industry worth a great deal of money.

It is imperative that people like Lowe, people who put care and the patient before dollar signs, are involved in what is or should become, essentially a redesigning of the NHS and its hospital pathways. If Visionable can focus on specialist versus generalist doctoring, then I believe we are on our way to a healthier future. 

Visionable is a startup with a digital focus that has invested heavily in innovation and as Corona Virus has made us all acutely aware of the need to go digital and use video as a way of treating and diagnosing individuals.

“Visionable brings healthcare to the patient, it’s about equity. No matter where you are in the world you have the same access to healthcare.”

In the four weeks post lockdown Visionable had facilitated 4,200 hours of patient consultations and onboarded 16,000 NHS staff in the video streaming technology. They raised £9.1M in series A and a further £6M in May 2020. They are a trusted partner of the NHS and believe it or not they are not after a sales pitch, they have key, strong values and understanding of how to communicate with investors, hospitals and staff as well as the general public.

The idea is that they want to deliver the best doctor to the person in need via technology. Of course, this is a big ask, but through their work with stroke victims were of course time is of the essence, they have shown that having a stroke doctor online to visually beam into the situation and make the assessment can save lives and also not send anyone to the hospital who does not need to be there.

For example, if you have a stroke in London, there are a number of big hospitals well-staffed and ready to help, but if you have a stroke in Anglea, Wales, or anywhere more remote this would not be the case. Visionable would allow all healthcare professionals to be on a par with each other, irrespective of location. A simple, yet effective plan. 

Alan Lowe is a former NHS Manager and nationally recognized innovator. Although not a doctor, he was responsible for transforming hospitals to run more effectively by creating pathways that would always put the patient and their care at the forefront of the situation, whilst also balancing the budgets. Lowe’s front-line hospital work in operational services led him into Service Improvement for Westminster council asking questions like:

“How do you make things better? How do you change behaviour? How do you change the process?”

Lowe was keen for his team to think outside the box and came up with the idea of texting patients their results.

Realising that technology could play a significant part in aiding patient care and letting doctors do more doctoring was of paramount importance. He had a way of getting people to work together and knew instinctively how to get the best out of each member of his team and how to get results.

With this knowledge, he went to work in multi-nationals and corporate business. He is keen to try anything once and pivot if it isn’t successful. Proving that he was always pretty acclimated to the startup way of life! Lowe also never fails to put the patient first, which, in the medical profession is of paramount importance. 

Visionable is working at the moment with Verizon and o2 on separate projects, one of which is the connected ambulance. They are also working on a global scale, which due to time zones means there would be potential to always have a top specialist on call at the touch of a button. Visionable is an advanced video platform that can extrapolate data and information from a great many different means; CCTV, mobile, ambulance cameras etc and also allows them to send complex medical data like CT scans, blood reports etc across to doctors, however, just to clarify no data is stored on the platform.

If you were re-designing hospitals now from scratch what would you build the pathways like? Most hospitals and pathways were created before the technology we have today was invented so it makes logical sense that hospitals might need to be updated in their processes and pathways.

Technology and a wide-ranging video platform would give patients access to the best care, but it may mean that the old ways of doing things have to be left to the past. With COVID-19 we are living in an infection control world, so this approach has never been more needed. However, the way hospitals and funding is currently set up this is difficult to change in part, it would need an overhaul. 

Lowe goes into discussing the “negative value transfer, or rather “the handoffs are where the problems occur.” For example, you might have a number of different tests done on you by different departments, liver, bladder, blood tests, mental health assessments etc but there is no one looking at all the data collectively and putting the puzzle pieces together. There is no one at the head of your healthcare journey steering the ship so to speak. So, Lowe has created the idea of the multi-disciplined team clinic. If you have a number of differing health issues which need medications etc would it not be best to book the four doctor specialists online at the same time, to make sure that the drugs you need were right?

It may only take ten minutes but there would be a coordination of your health care and ultimately leave you knowing you were taking the right medications that wouldn’t interact. Those ten minutes might save you from a lot of anguish, mental health issues, stress, misdiagnosis and not to mention would save the NHS a lot of cash.

Simple yet effective pathways that would make the sick patients journey through the system easier. This is currently in its infancy, because the financial structure of how each department is assigned funding etc needs to be redirected and because in order to make the change they need to prove that it works.

In learning about Visionable and about Lowe, it is easy to see that he cares greatly about people and their care. Lowe is clear that the healthcare industry and system will indeed change greatly in the next 20 years, really it is about asking yourself how you want it to change and behave?

“Do you want to embrace the power that technology will have to make healthcare essentially better for all? Lowe does.”

He is also excited about precision medicine and getting the real expert for your condition. Specialism versus generalism. With the discussions about healthcare and the future of the NHS it makes sense to have people like Lowe and Visionable at the helm; people who fundamentally care about patients and their level of care and not private companies who only see profit and dollar signs rather than people in need. I know which horse I would be backing in this race, what about you?