When choosing to build and launch a new product, there is a trade-off in deciding the sort of opportunity to target. There’s a trade-off between picking something stable and boring, but where the market need is predictable and will be the same broadly when you start building, and when you launch the product; or picking a dynamic, fast-changing market where new entrants could make a difference quickly but the requirements often change and get more and more demanding. The risks and rewards can be very different.
Whether we were conscious of it at the time or not, Eva certainly picked the latter. Back in December 2020, we were already on a journey to build a new Medical Record software platform that would be fit for the future of healthcare. As we looked for our first product to launch on this new Cloud platform, an opportunity came up that we had to jump on: supporting England’s Covid-19 vaccination programme. It sounded like a perfect fit for our platform – it needed to be Cloud, accessible securely over the internet, and scalable to handle high daily volumes. Moreover, we all felt that we could make a big difference to help the vaccination programme save lives.
We worked fast to build what was needed and hit every assurance milestone first. We got out on site to understand how the clinics worked, and what the clinicians and administrators needed in the real world. We worked to build and test 5 data integrations to national systems working with other healthtech partners. We had a fantastic pilot site – The Crumbles Vaccination Service, run by South Downs Health & Care – to whom we are deeply thankful for boldly trying out something new. After months of focused effort, we completed NHS Digital’s assurance and were available to GPs a full 4 months ahead of our nearest competitor. In all, we really jumped on it.
I’m proud that my team at Eva are now able to meaningfully support the Covid, and also Flu, vaccination efforts across the country. I’m proud that we have the newest Medical Record software in use in the NHS, that is NHS Digital assured, fully Cloud-native and scalable, and free for GPs to use.
I’m also proud that NHS Digital’s Primary Care team saw the potential to bring choice and resilience into the vaccination programme and did not resign themselves to continue with a one-size-fits-all legacy tech offer to the hard-working staff at the NHS vaccination sites. As NHS Digital looks to foster innovation within the NHS, especially Primary Care, this was a bold policy decision that was certainly the right one from a taxpayer, patient and clinician perspective.
There is a cliche that it takes a village to raise a child. In our case, it has taken a ‘village’ of designers, developers, testers, trainers, support analysts, GP advisors, a Data Protection Officer, a Clinical Safety Officer, staff at NHS Digital, NHSx, NHS England, Graphnet, NHS Business Services Authority, and South Downs Health & Care to make this opportunity a reality. Thank you to everyone who helped and continues to help bring better tech to the NHS. I’m proud that Eva is part of this NHS HealthTech ‘village’.