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01: How to create a new platform for pre-operative assessment – Dr Paul Upton

15 MWTD - Dr Paul Upton
In this episode, we’ve got Dr Paul Upton from Ultramed. I met Paul at a med-tech innovation conference in 2016, and loved the new pre-op assessment platform he has developed. Today, he shares his story so far and reveals some valuable tips on how he developed his product.

00:28 This episode’s guest Dr. Paul Upton is introduced.

00:54 Paul’s background started as a clinician in the NHS before he moved into the development of the Peninsula Medical School where he played a significant role including writing some of the curriculum and then he moved to medical management. He has now at the age of 55 retired from the NHS and is a co-founder of Ultramed.

1:57 He wishes he had set up his own company earlier as he has always enjoyed the management side of things.

2:38 Paul met his co-founder on an airplane of all places. The guy he sat next to – Alan was a creative designer. Together, they combined their NHS and creative design skills to solve the problems associated with pre-procedure assessment of patients. Their product is essentially an easy online system for patients to input their own data before assessment to streamline the whole pre-op system.

3:32 They have now expanded to include a cath-lab system, an endoscopy and a radiology system – in essence, a whole suite of tools.

3:55 During his time in the NHS, Paul saw the problems with getting people ready for these procedures and applied his knowledge to have one system to solve multiple problems.

4:20 The key problem is the way the data is collected from patients. We are all used to doing tax returns etc. online, so Paul and Alan have presented an attractive looking interface to avoid filling out reams of paper before each procedure.

5:05 Benefits of this method include a high level of interaction from the system to get in depth data and there is built in clinical support that suggests tests to the practitioners before the patient has his/her procedure.

5:52 The system also includes ICD10 integration to gather income data. ICD is the international classification of diseases. As a result, it helps the hospital as well as the patient.

7:23 The company is only just over 2 years old. The key to it being successful in a short space of time has been being able to get the concept conveyed quickly in front of actual people. Paul has found that not only secondary care, but tertiary care centres are also interested in his product.

8:38 Paul’s experience has enabled him to be able to speak to both clinicians and managers. Often, he has found that people trying to sell a product to the NHS have been more successful if they have passion and belief in what they are trying to sell – it creates a positive vibe.

9:48 His lightbulb moment came when he was about to go into theatre and realised that the sending out forms was so inefficient. At this point, he felt that surely there was a better way to do things, and within 2 months himself and his partner had incorporated the company.

10:47 Paul feels its all very well having an idea, but having somebody with design and technology background are crucial. The creative design and concept is important, but so is marketing – which is actually essential.

12:10 In terms of finding a partner, Paul feels there are lots of small software developers out there that are relatively easy to find to contribute to a project. A designer does need to be working in the computer end of things. He describes his partner’s contribution to the project.

13:27 Startup costs are an interesting phenomenon. Unlike working freelance in consultancy, you can’t bill anybody for your time, you need to factor these costs along with your product costs – and hopefully the end result is a viable company with a product.

14:38 Paul’s top tip to aspiring medical entrepreneurs is talk to somebody who has done it before and go in with your eyes wide open. He also discusses a seed investment scheme to help entrepreneurs with new high risk concepts.

16:27 More information about Paul’s system can be found on www.ultramed.co – his website. Twitter @Ultramed_LTD

Links:

Overview of MyPreOp:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4U5EQJwzcPI&feature=youtu.be

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