COVID-19 and the Future of Healthcare Delivery in Europe: The UK Edition

Frontline Ventures
May 20, 2020 · 5 min read

This blog post was written by @helena_6251 and is part one of a two-part collaboration between Frontline & Speedinvest. Part 1 examines the impacts of Covid-19 on Telemedicine in the UK. Part 2 will cover DACH. In both blogs we cover respective governmental strategies, overall trends and local startups in each geographical area.

The UK Government Response to COVID

Public sector pressures have given rise to the private healthcare system in the UK.

Increasingly, people are demanding a better, smoother experience with their healthcare provider: out of office visiting hours, delivered prescriptions, shorter waiting times etc. A great example of these shifting market dynamics is Babylon, the British poster child for healthcare tech. Babylon is effectively replacing physical NHS clinics with its private-sector solution. After the opening of Babylon’s London clinic, an enormous influx of patients followed. The clinic attracted 10x more patients than the NHS clinic it replaced.

Then came COVID-19. Suddenly, the NHS found itself under the additional pressure of a global and unprecedented pandemic. The necessity to adapt has placed immense pressure on the UK healthcare system and in turn, led to the emergence of new — and lasting — trends.

Remote Communication

Additionally, remote communication makes it easier for patients to follow through with treatments. In the UK, almost 50% of prescriptions aren’t taken as recommended due to forgetfulness. Pharmaceutical waste is another contributing factor. Addressing the issue would be an important step towards a preventative (vs reactive) healthcare system. Echo is a good example of a solution here.

Remote Elderly Care

This population segment is likely to need physical therapy as well as help completing everyday tasks, which means services that match carers/patients could be essential (ex:Cera or Birdie). IoT devices connected to software that track vitals/accidents could also prove important (ex: Current Health and Testcard).

In the longer term, consumer behavior may shift towards broader remote management of illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, heart conditions, Parkinson’s etc.

Hospital and Clinic Logistics

Workflow management tools that track beds, tasks and patients create visibility and accountability across staff to optimise patient flow. For ex: Frontline portfolio company, Tracworx, a wifi-based patient tracking system that allows hospitals to collect real-time data and generate reports on patient journeys throughout their facilities, to optimize efficiencies and improve standards of care. Founded in Limerick (IRE), Tracworx has expanded operations into the UK and has plans to expand further into the European market in the near future.

Side note: Tracworx has recently launched a Covid-19 specific solution to assist hospitals and clinics geared at assisting with social distancing efforts and the tracing back of movements to identify potential patterns and hotspots.

Back in the “normal world” companies like Pando and Patchwork are introducing flexible work hours and logistics management. Let’s imagine a world where this is the new norm. Task trackers could change the way healthcare practitioners get paid-from hourly rates to a reward based system, resulting in a better incentivized workforce

Data Management and Analytics

Other useful data sources include: medical records, research reports and patient symptom data (ie: through communities like Raremark). NLP based software could potentially assist doctors in making more accurate diagnoses and prioritizing the right patients through the funnel (ie: sophisticated triaging).

It’s important to note that despite there being a wealth of healthcare data to analyze, information is not useful unless it’s centralized, sharable and secure. Therefore, next-generation data management software for clinicians and hospital staff could prove critical in enhancing the efficiency of the healthcare system. Examples include Umed and Patients Know Best.

Mental Health and Wellness

PART II: DACH COMING SOON

Be sure to check out Part 2 of this series (to be released next week). Frontline and Speedinvest look forward to continuing this discussion.

About Frontline
Frontline is the venture firm for globally ambitious B2B businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. Frontline Seed strengthens and speeds up ideas at inception across Europe. FrontlineX is a go-to-market first, capital-second fund, for fast and frictionless US-to-Europe expansion

About Speedinvest
Speedinvest is a European venture capital fund with €400M+ AUM and more than 40 investment professionals working from Berlin, London, Munich, Paris, Vienna and San Francisco.

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