Following the NHS Executive Strategy Summit on 7th November, Distilled Post spoke to Paul Tambeau, the CEO of Induction Healthcare. Induction were a key vendor at this year’s event, and specialise in providing technology solutions that transform interactions between patients and clinicians, with a video consultation platform, the Zesty patient portal and a bespoke platform to assist in the creation and publication of local guidance for medical organisations. Paul has previously worked with Induction as their COO and Chief Growth Officer, and previous to this he was the Chief Commercial Officer for Doctor Care Anywhere.

Paul began by reflecting on the Summit, which he attended earlier in November.  He saw the benefit of the event in simple but striking terms: the space the Summit provided for “just listening, and hearing.” While he is well-versed in conversing with customers, “having that intimate setting where you can really talk through issues in a space place - it’s just really helpful, hearing experiences and what are the pain points and potential opportunities”. Traditionally, Induction Healthcare have been more focused on the acute sector, and Paul was impressed by the strong presence from other areas such as mental health - Claire Murdoch (the Director of Mental Health for NHS England) was one of the keynote speakers. Paul was able to speak to a number of executives from community mental health Trusts and was excited by the prospect of opening up new areas where Induction might be able to support the NHS. 

Support is a buzzword surrounding the NHS in the present moment as the seasonal surges and pressures brought on by winter begin to take their toll. Paul was well apprised of the challenges facing the Health Service: “Waiting lists for elective procedures are growing to possibly north of 8 million patients next year… Labour actions over the summer are just compounded by the usual winter pressures.” The Summit aimed to generate collaborative solutions, but as Paul put it, “There’s no single silver bullet that’s going to solve any of these problems. What there is is lots of different partners and providers coming together and playing a supporting role”. Induction have been working to alleviate pressure by supporting the NHS with wait list validation. Often patients on waiting lists either find that their condition improves or opt for private treatment in the interim, and by mass contacting those on waiting lists to validate that they still require an appointment, “We’re able to take 5, 10% of those people off a waiting list, and prioritise those who actually need this kind of support in the shorter term.” 

Induction is further optimising waiting lists through their Zesty patient portal, which places appointment details in patients’ hands, with the ability for patients to cancel, reschedule or validate their appointments. Paul referenced Induction’s Attend Anywhere platform, which further empowers patients by allowing them to access treatment remotely via a video consultation (often sparing patients long distances to travel). From a clinical perspective, the advantages are clearly apparent: “you get to see more patients, in a more timely way”. The discussion of remote consultations led to a wider conversation surrounding the role of care in the community. Paul was adamant that in many cases attendance at a hospital or medical organisation is a necessity, but observed that from a capacity perspective there were certain scenarios - perhaps a pre-surgery check-in - where bringing people into hospital might be an unnecessary burden on capacity that digital consultations can alleviate. “It supports the creation of efficiencies in how care is delivered.” And the Attend Anywhere platform is flexible in its uses: a group consultation function allows for numerous possibilities, including holding clinics or education sessions, or perhaps group counselling sessions within Mental Health Trusts. Remote consultations also hold significant advantages for those living in isolated or rural areas. Paul concluded by reiterating that the benefits of video consultations, and more widely the implementation of technology in healthcare settings, are clear to see for patients and clinicians alike.