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The Challenges of Digital Healthcare

An open and honest account on a totally unpredictable sector.

Philip Mundy

Everyday there is a new innovation, a new technological advance or a new piece of legislation that swings healthcare into another direction. It’s fast paced, unpredictable, but incredibly rewarding if you get it right. Many Health Tech companies stand atop a tightrope, balancing on the precipice of success and failure. One wrong step seeing them topple out of the limelight and into obscurity. With all the challenges that present themselves to take Digital Healthcare to the next level, is it worth it?

Who better than Philip Mundy, CEO of healthcare communication company Pando, to talk about the stresses and strains of succeeding in Healthcare.

How did you get into Digital Healthcare?

The short answer is that I fell in love with a doctor!

But there is also a longer answer. I’d been fortunate throughout my adult life not to have needed healthcare. To me, healthcare was a closed system. Something I didn’t understand. From the outside looking in, although I knew it was fraught with challenges, ultimately I always assumed it was just too broken, and too complicated a series of problems to solve.

So when I met Lydia, my now wife and a paediatrician, the quality of the way she communicated the challenges felt by healthcare professionals and the poignancy of this moment in time, inspired me to leave the startup I was building to build in Digital Healthcare instead.

But that isn’t to say it has been easy. Building any startup is incredibly difficult. Building a healthcare startup in the UK is an order of magnitude harder.

Why does Digital Healthcare matter?

Access to food, access to education, access to healthcare. Wherever there has been scarcity, we have always sought ways to scale that resource through technology to a point where more people can access what is needed. Our need for healthcare won’t go away, in some ways we’re defined by it; But we can transform access to it.

Digital Healthcare affords us an opportunity to scale the impact and enhance the efficacy of every healthcare professional. It also presents the chance for every patient to be empowered. It’s not about unlimited life, but about enhancing the quality of every life.

As a team we’re driven by the singular goal of making expert healthcare only a single click or tap away for those who need it. For anyone who has spent hours worrying, or months waiting to speak to the right clinical expert, we’re here to make that experience better. We’re here to make that experience instant.

What is the biggest challenge facing our Healthcare system?

I would argue the UK has the potential to be the most prolific digital healthcare accelerator in the world. We have a unified system, a passionate belief in the NHS, and a phenomenal tech sector. These factors mean that the UK, over perhaps any other healthcare system in the world, has a powerful opportunity to foster emerging Health Tech, help it reach maturity and export it at global scale.

So, what’s stopping us? In part the regulatory space is failing to keep up with the potential of progress. Healthcare is now in the information age and that means hospitals aren’t just bricks and mortar anymore; they’re on phones, in different timezones, and accessible in new ways. But it’s also about attitude. Healthcare is at it’s best when it looks forward. It’s about accepting the challenges to come, embracing the innovations that work, and understanding that for healthcare to meet the needs of future generations it needs to constantly evolve and reinvent.

What has been your greatest triumph in Healthcare?

For me it’s always about the very first user. The difficulty in winning the attention of a highly busy, highly expert healthcare professional, or of gaining the trust of a scared, lonely parent in the pursuit of medical advice for their family is impossible to overstate.

The early work that goes into putting a new tool into the hands of those who need it is always the greatest struggle, but it’s also the greatest triumph. This is the zero to one, and in healthcare that work is huge. Some might say that reaching just a single user is not a success. I could not disagree more!

Too many things stay broken because we don’t believe they can be fixed. By proving something can be changed we empower the next team or the next founder to build on what we have started. There is no ‘end’ or ‘finish line’ in healthcare. We run with the flame for as long as we can, then we pass it on.

Read more about Pando’s mission to connect healthcare for everyone here.