In March, NHSX launched TechForce19 in partnership with PUBLIC, AHSN and the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government. A month later, 18 companies were announced as winners of the TechForce19 program and began testing their digital solutions across the UK. In this interview we spoke to Elina Naydenova, Founder of TechForce19 winner Feebris, to hear more about the company’s TechForce19 journey deploying their mobile app in care homes to help carers conduct regular check ups as part of virtual ward rounds.

1. What does Feebris do and why did you embark on this venture?

Feebris exists to improve access to healthcare for the most vulnerable patients. Our mobile-based software platform helps users detect and monitor complex health conditions; it connects to medical sensors and uses AI algorithms to ensure high quality measurements are captured and automatically evaluated to detect health issues early.

When I was working at the WHO in 2014, I became obsessed with solving a wicked problem in global health – childhood pneumonia, the number one killer of children under 5. I started Feebris to develop technology that will help the early diagnosis of this and other life-threatening but treatable conditions that take millions of lives every year.

2. How does your solution help the vulnerable and isolated?

Our mobile app has been used in care homes, where it helps carers conduct regular check-ups as part of virtual ward rounds. The app communicates to a number of sensors, including a pulse oximeter and a digital stethoscope, which capture a holistic health check-up. The information can be evaluated by a remote GP, either as part of a proactive monitoring routine or in response to any detected warning signs. The benefits are three-fold: (1) streamlining the capture of clinical information in care homes; (2) increasing the precision of remote GP consultations; (3) introducing personalised & proactive monitoring to reduce avoidable complications and utilisation of hospital services. For vulnerable patients in care homes this unlocks higher quality healthcare in their community, protecting them from the stress and health risks of hospitals.

3. How has your company adapted to tackle Covid-19 related challenges?

As a result of winning TechForce19, we were able to quickly mobilise to deploy our technology across care homes in East London. We have developed a fully digital rapid deployment process, which allows us to get a care home equipped with the technology and remotely trained in 7 days. We have been working closely with the GP community to ensure that our technology helps them deliver high quality healthcare even if they are unable to visit the care home in person.

4. Have you learned any valuable lessons during this period of change and uncertainty?

The pandemic disrupted healthcare and care environments, creating opportunities for rapid change. However, for these changes to deliver long-lasting positive transformation, they need to be delivered in an integrated fashion. Equipping care homes with technology for health monitoring is an important step forward; however, this transition is only truly possible if care home staff are supported on their journey of upskilling staff and integrating new work flows.

5. Advice for GovTech founders?

Think of yourselves as problem-solvers, not technology developers. You exist to deliver change in a very complex system, which is far more likely to happen through evolution than disruption. Energy and perseverance conquer all things.

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