Prime Minister Boris Johnson put healthcare at the heart of his multi-billion pound spending plan last week. That does not just mean building more hospitals, but also using technology to help them work more effectively.
Induction Healthcare and Diaceutics are at the forefront of these efforts.
Every year, the NHS loses around £1billion from outpatients missing their appointments. Some cancel at short notice. Others simply fail to show up.
First in the queue: Induction’s app allows patients to book, cancel and postpone appointments easily
Hospitals are desperate to reduce those losses, now more than ever. Coronavirus has left their coffers depleted and created a massive backlog of appointments that need to be rescheduled, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Induction Healthcare is a business whose technology helps to solve this problem. Founded by two entrepreneurs with a history of success, it is growing fast, the shares are at 99p and should increase materially in the next two to three years.
Billions of pounds have been squandered over the years on grandiose software schemes that were supposed to transform the health service, but actually turned into white elephants.
Induction takes a more considered approach, focusing on specific technology that is both reasonably priced and can make a palpable difference to patients, doctors and nurses.
The group provides an easy-to-use app, for example, that allows patients to book, cancel or postpone appointments on their mobile phone. Patients can also attend video consultations via the app, and request calls with nurses.
They can view past healthcare correspondence and even store copies of their own records.
The service has already been taken up by 18 hospitals, including five in London
The service has already been taken up by 18 hospitals, including five in London run by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which is at the forefront of Covid-19 research, and St Thomas’, where the Prime Minister was admitted earlier this year.
Hundreds of thousands of patients have used the app, and NHS staff have been downloading it to book coronavirus antibody tests.
Interest has picked up considerably over recent months, as hospitals look for ways to manage their outpatient backlog and become more efficient, while patients seek reassurance that they have not been forgotten. Induction offers two other app-based services as well, designed for doctors, nurses and other professionals.
The first app, called Induction, allows medics to communicate directly with each other, rather than going through busy hospital switchboards, saving time at crucial moments throughout the day.
The second app, MicroGuide, provides up-to-the-minute information about the best drugs and treatments for conditions ranging from diabetes to coronavirus.
Both apps have seen a surge in use over recent months, as doctors and other NHS workers have turned to digital tools to help them cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. MicroGuide is used by 80 per cent of NHS trusts. The Induction app is used by most hospital doctors.
Looking ahead, the company should be able to use these firm foundations to deliver strong growth.
Founders Hugo Stephenson and Ibs Mahmood have worked together for years. They set up technology firm DrugDev in 2011, selling the business six years later for more than £160million.
This time round, they are hoping to do even better. Having started with the Induction app, they acquired the MicroGuide service late last year, and in May of this year, snapped up Zesty, the business behind the patient app.
All three of these services are now set to expand, both in the UK and overseas.
Midas verdict: The NHS, like many other health services, has been slow to respond to the digital revolution. This is expected to change – and fast – as the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of technology on and off the ward. Induction Healthcare is a young business and probably not for the most cautious investor. But at 99p, the shares are worth a punt for longer-term, more seasoned investors. Those wanting to help the NHS become even better than it is already may also want to snap up some stock.
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