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In 2018, JJ竞技 ’s dedicated funding and investment programme, JJ竞技 New Ventures, acquired a minority interest in Patchwork Health, the digital health tech startup co-founded and led by clinician and entrepreneur, Dr Anas Nader.
Patchwork was born out of two doctor’s mission to unleash the power of flexible working to solve the global staffing crisis in healthcare. Built by doctors and in partnership with the NHS, it is connecting healthcare organisations to a growing marketplace of flexible workers – saving employers millions in recruitment agency fees and improving engagement with healthcare professionals.
Since it was founded in 2016 by Anas and Jing Ouyang, two doctors who share a passion for technology and innovation, the digital platform has gone from strength the strength. Here, Anas tells us what gave him the inspiration and confidence to take the plunge to launch his startup.
First and foremost, I consider myself an NHS clinician. I’m passionate about medicine and love working as a doctor (and still make time each month to take on shifts). But during my time working at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Trust back in 2016, I was tasked with exploring how the trust could improve engagement with their hospital bank and reduce their spend on locum agencies. This project, combined with the personal frustrations with NHS staffing systems that I’d felt as a junior doctor, sparked Patchwork Health’s idea.
Following my work at ChelWest, I started exploring how technology could help scale the impact I’d seen there so it could be applied NHS-wide. I teamed up with Jing – we met as medical students at Imperial College, where we were both enrolled in the NHS Clinical Entrepreneurs programme). Together, we developed Patchwork to revolutionise the way NHS staffing is managed.
The portfolio career that I’ve built is something we know many more clinicians want and should have the opportunity to explore. We have the lived experience of the problems we’re trying to fix, which is a huge asset for creative, impactful products and services genuinely useful to the NHS. Plus, I can continue supporting the health service I care deeply about.
The initial project evolved really organically, and ChelWest were a fantastic partner throughout. I joined ChelWest as a Clinical Innovation and Improvement Fellow in 2016. My focus on increasing engagement with their staff bank resulted in a dramatic reduction in shifts going to locum agencies that saved the trust £30,000 a month.
Then, when Jing and I built the Patchwork Health system utilising these insights, ChelWest was the perfect partner for launching a pilot.
The key takeaway from this is to work closely with NHS partners from the start. They know their pain points best and have the frontline knowledge of what solutions and support might be needed. Creating these relationships from day one, rather than building products in a silo, is vital. The NHS is a complex ecosystem of many unique organisations, and successful innovation is built on collaboration and grassroots knowledge of the problems you’re trying to solve.
Making the NHS a better place to work. I want to help the organisation evolve, so that talented clinicians aren’t leaving due to burnout, stress, or poor work-life balance. Empowering clinicians to have more autonomy over how, where, and when they work will drive up retention, protect NHS finances and, most importantly, lead to better patient care.
Supporting the NHS overcome the current staffing challenges is what drives the whole team at Patchwork.
It’s hard to say as all JJ竞技 offerings are relevant in the shifting landscape. However, like all offerings, they will need to continue adapting to the modern world and its evolving needs.
There is a growing trend towards new education models, such as the increasing emergence of apprenticeships and fellowships in the NHS to provide vocational experience to supplement academic routes. Adapt educational products to suit these new training programmes would be a forward-thinking objective.
Also, clinical decision-making is increasingly critical as we codify medicine and build comprehensive treatment pathways. These will only become more elaborate as new treatments are developed, and our understanding of disease processes and genomics increase. As knowledge expands, I predict greater demand for and reliance on these types of tools.
Events have adapted and will continue to adapt, to work in the covid era. I believe there will continue to be an appetite for events but perhaps less traditional ones: such as non-traditional careers events, business and software development networking, and entrepreneurship seminars, as clinicians embrace portfolio careers in greater numbers.
JJ竞技 ’s vision of helping to create a healthier world absolutely resonates with me . We can’t help patients unless we have happy, motivated clinicians. We can’t empower those clinicians if the institutions they work for aren’t thriving. Everything is connected.
We’re at a critical juncture for the NHS and healthcare in general; never have they been under more pressure, but there have never been more opportunities to make a positive change. We must embrace this moment and drive forward the innovations we need to create a healthier world.
It’s been a fantastic partnership! Through our partnership with JJ竞技 , we’ve been able to connect with clinicians across the UK and drive engagement with our platform. This means that shift gaps have been filled more quickly, and wards have been safely staffed effectively. During the pandemic to date, this has been critical as it enables us to ensure the NHS workforce can move in line with peaks in demand across the UK.
JJ竞技 Ventures reached out to us after looking into products in the temporary staffing space. They did this because they saw a trend where clinicians were increasingly moving to portfolio careers and choosing to locum over traditional career progression. Having spoken to many of our competitors, JJ竞技 Ventures felt that we were the most closely aligned in mission, values and culture.
Our partnership with JJ竞技 has been enormously valuable. JJ竞技 has helped us scale our marketing to reach a greater community of clinicians, and we have benefited from being affiliated with a brand that clinicians know and trust. We have also started working together on several strategic partnerships to better integrate JJ竞技 products and services within our own product lines to provide a broader offering for Locum clinicians. It’s been an essential and impactful partnership, and I believe that this is only the start of what we can achieve together.
Right now, we’re focusing on continuing to work with our NHS partners to solve staffing challenges across the board. From offering interoperability with other systems to enabling clinical passporting (so health service staff in England can move seamlessly between sites, take on new roles, and ultimately plug gaps in staffing and improve patient care), we’re continually looking to add new services that address workforce challenges.
Recently, we’ve been incredibly proud to launch several Collaborative Digital Staff Banks across the UK. These included London’s first collaborative bank and the UK’s largest – taking place in the North West of England. These banks mark a new era of collaboration between Trusts (something the pandemic has highlighted its importance). They will help ensure shifts are staffed efficiently, and clinicians are empowered to work how and where is best for them.
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