Survive or Thrive? Our path to 1m jabs
As for many, 2021 started out as a big dollop of hope, with an extra large side order of anxiety and uncertainty. At the start of 2021, Eva Health Technologies was emerging as a new brand in the healthtech space with its new Cloud-based software platform still cooking in the kitchen, so to speak. We had an outline design, and a lot of ambition and drive, but a lot of uncertainty too. Could we really bring a new product to market and scale it in the NHS fast enough to earn the trust of the NHS and have an impact?
Our focus in the dark months of January and February was on building a software platform to meet the urgent need of the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme in England. NHS Digital had put out a call to arms in December 2020 and we were one of the few companies that took up the challenge. Our initial prototype was demoed to NHS Digital staff in the week of Christmas 2020 and the team were working around the clock to turn the prototype into a scalable, reliable platform. As anyone in software will know, moving from prototype to actual software is much harder and longer than you initially anticipate.
Fast forward to April (nb, it really didn’t feel fast at the time!) and the team had built a brand new AWS-native medical records platform, deployed for a specific clinical protocol for Covid vaccinations, to a specification that changed every fortnight, and had been assured by our own clinical team and NHS Digital’s too. Our pilot launched in May, and wider roll out of eVacc started in June.
I am so proud of this. From the first line of code, to assured and in use in the NHS in less than 6 months. Kudos to the whole Eva team, and to the NHS Digital officials too, for getting something innovative and new to market so quickly.
We didn’t stop there though. Next we ran headlong into the summer building functionality for Flu vaccinations, with the inevitability that everyone in the NHS understands “winter is coming”. Meanwhile ramping up a marketing and sales effort to convert NHS clinics from the no-longer-mandatory incumbent system. We encountered the usual challenges – disbelief that there was a choice available, time-starved administrators and clinicians with not enough headspace to evaluate choices let alone contemplate the extra burden of switching, and a lack of a ‘purchasing moment’ when the software is free to use. We could have certainly scaled faster, but we did the best we could from a standing start. We have now scaled to over 50 NHS Local Vaccination Sites run by PCNs in less than 6 months. That’s pretty good going by anyone’s standards!
There has been constant development on the eVacc platform with changes to match the fast pace of change within the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme – we’ve kept pace with every change of age-group warning, change of drug name, change in dosing options, and change of dose schedules (including last week to support the announcement from PM Boris due to Omicron). In total, we have done 29 releases in 8 months. All this to get to a historic milestone of the one million jabs recorded in eVacc which we hit this week.
As well as all that, more recently we have channeled our creative energy into extending out the platform to realise its destiny of becoming the best care data platform. Again we have entered an uncertain period, yet this time we have the benefit of trust in ourselves as a team, and goodwill from our customers and friends in the sector who are willing us to succeed.
We started this year trying to simply survive; in the end, it has been more a story of hitting our stride. Eva starts 2022 from a position of strength that we have earned together. With endless thanks to our amazing customers and NHS officials who trusted us, to our incredible team of creative, diverse and extremely talented people, and to our friends and families who support and encourage us each and every day – Thank You, Happy Holidays and Bring On 2022!