I created vital tech for the NHS and I'm giving it away for free

'I’ve made the technology free to every NHS doctor in the UK' 🎉

4/1/2020 5:30:00 PM

'I’ve made the technology free to every NHS doctor in the UK' 🎉

We’ll do anything we can to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak more efficiently and effectively - it’s very difficult for the NHS to run at pandemic speed.

The Nye phone is NHS compliant software which works on any device, and enables any clinician, to consult with any patient, from anywhere (Picture: Dr Alexander Finlayson)Three weeks ago, my team and I finally caught sight of how we could help NHS clinicians respond to the

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coronaviruspandemic.We were all staying in an AirBnB at the foot of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and began working around the clock to build some software that we subsequently called the Nye Phone.Read the latest updates:news liveThe two stages of the pandemic were foreseeable. The first would involve patients having to be treated from home; the second was likely to involve large swathes of doctors needing to self isolate and deliver NHS care remotely. So we began building the Nye phone to ensure care could still get to those who needed it.

As NHS compliant software, it works on any device, enabling any clinician to consult with any patient, from anywhere. I had been working steadily on the idea for this technology for about two years, but when it became apparent just how wide-spread and serious Covid-19 was, I redeployed our team of defence engineers, cybersecurity experts, doctors, data scientists, and designers to finally build it and scale it up so it could be used in the pandemic response.

AdvertisementAdvertisementNamed after NHS founder Nye Bevan, the phone stops patients from having to attend appointments in person and ensures GPs can work from home and stay safe. If doctors have to go home, which is increasingly happening, they can still talk to their patients and stay connected with their communities.

One big thing a lot of NHS workers are considering right now is that they are having to make some of their personal details public in order to stay in touch with patients. While I don’t think the vast majority would act any differently because they are a phenomenal group of people, it’s likely to have consequences further down the line.

However, the Nye phone helps combat this (and distinguishes itself from other, similar software) by integrating with existing NHS systems and protecting all the personal information of the doctor or nurse placing the call.It also speeds things up for the healthcare staff using it; each minute saved right now is critical.

I am continuing to see patients as a GP myself, but as Nye’s CEO, I’ve made the technology free to every NHS doctor in the UK.I have team members who are self-isolating but are still performing their job to an incredibly high standard (Picture: Nye)Meanwhile, specialists in epidemic response, digital health communications experts, cyber security, marketing and operations have been leaving their jobs and coming to work for Nye in droves. Companies haven’t charged or are reducing costs for us to deploy the tech we need in order to make it possible for the phone to be used for thousands of appointments across the UK.

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AdvertisementAdvertisementThere hasn’t been one person I’ve emailed, from any organisation around the world, who hasn’t replied to me simply saying: let me know what you need. It’s been extraordinary.Because of this, we were able to start delivering and improving very quickly so that the Nye phone was robust and resilient.

Although doctor-patient confidentiality prevents me from discussing individual cases, I can say that huge numbers of people with symptoms of Covid-19 are already being managed by their doctors using the Nye phone.We have been impacted by coronavirus ourselves. I have team members who are self-isolating but still performing their job to an incredibly high standard.

Things are difficult for people everywhere in all sorts of ways. People will feel isolated and lonely. People are losing their jobs – it’s very distressing. In my past life I worked in global health, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa and within that Somalia, so I was quite used to operating in unusual contexts – but Covid-19 beats even those.

Yet everyone – and especially those in the medical community – has each others’ backs, and it’s been magnificent to see.Amidst the difficult news that this outbreak has brought, we want to build a positive, collaborative narrative. We get stuck in our lives and we put up barriers. But I think humans are fundamentally good and kind.

Read more: Metro »

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