Thinking about the current state of the British healthcare sector brings some issues to mind; overworked staff, budget cuts, obsolete treatment and severe waiting times. These issues have caused the NHS to become deeply accustomed to being scorned by the media and exploited as a scapegoat or bargaining chip in political clashes. It has been at crisis point for the last year but as any entrepreneur would tell you; behind any problem is an opportunity for innovation.
Once again startups are turning to digitisation to help solve our shortcomings. Digitisation has been the key driver in accelerating the transformation of almost all industries into areas once deemed unattainable. What this means to the industrial players is automation and subsequently dramatically reducing diminishing returns to scale (to almost zero).
One entrepreneur is convinced digitisation is also a judicious answer to our healthcare woes, in the same way it has been for so many other sectors.
Luke Heron, an entrepreneur and member of Launch22, has spotted opportunities in many different themes, from children’s book illustrations, rare wines and whisky to South African mineral exploration. He believes his experience in the digital landscape and direct to consumer supply provide him with the connections and skills required to drive healthcare into our homes with TestCard Diagnostics.
TestCard is a seriously smart UK based medical technology company that has been set up to relieve some of the pressure on the NHS by providing medical grade testing in the privacy of your own home. They have embedded a urine test kit into a postcard which is designed to be used alongside their mobile application which turns the phone’s camera into a clinical grade scanner. This enables users to read the UTI and pregnancy results instantly, and thus dramatically reducing the need to send off samples, consult doctors and fill up waiting rooms.
The startup has just formed a partnership agreement with the NHS that will see their mobile app technology trialled in hospitals. Having recently opened an EIS-qualifying £1.5m funding round at a pre-money valuation of £3.5m, TestCard is expecting to expand this partnership in scope and geography with prostate health, STI and ovulation optimisation test cards in the pipeline.
This growing battle with the NHS has started to create a trend in industry behaviour and government policy to shift the responsibility of healthcare back onto the individual. Testcard is a startup that epitomises this trend, and champions it.
However, the revolution in healthcare is still not complete, far from it in fact. Over the next few years it is clear that we will begin to see a complete overhaul of the way that we approach the healthcare system, with startups like TestCard seizing the opportunities in areas of insufficiency and strain.
So if you have a pioneering technology or approach in line with the changing trend of healthcare responsibility, right now might be your time to get in touch with Launch22 to see how we can help you follow in Luke’s footsteps and develop an inspiring startup.