The importance of global and equitable access to healthcare has never been more acute, yet standards and accessibility vary hugely across the world. That’s why we’re incredibly excited to announce our investment in MedAll.
On the investment, our partner, Tom Wilson, comments: “What the MedAll team is building has the potential to be truly transformational to the training of healthcare professionals and to connecting the global community. They’re exactly the sort of passionate mission-driven team that we love to back and we feel privileged to have the opportunity to lead their pre-seed round”.
We sat down with founder, Dr. Phil McElnay, off-the-back of MedAll’s recent, and world-first, online health conference attended by over 300 delegates from across the world and brought to life using portfolio company, Hopin, to discuss what they’re building in more detail.
What led you to create MedAll and why do you think there’s a specific need for it now?
Healthcare training is inequitable around the world. Ultimately that means care is inequitable too. We were compelled that we needed to make excellent healthcare training more accessible, more fair and within reach of every healthcare organisation around the world. We are otherwise careering towards a global healthcare catastrophe. The World Health Organisation forecasts that we will need an additional 18 million healthcare professionals by 2030. To provide high quality training at that scale – in addition to managing the glaring crisis we otherwise face- the world needs a paradigm shift in how medical education is delivered. We plan to make the best-in-class medical training technology within reach of every healthcare organisation around the world.
[Background: In high income countries a significant amount of money is spent on digital technology that healthcare professionals use to regularly demonstrate and evidence their competencies throughout their training and professional practice. It means patients can trust those who are treating them, and they receive comparable care across. It’s at the cornerstone of most medical training programmes in high income countries. However, if the costs of administering this software could be reduced we could channel more of our precious healthcare resources back to frontline care.
In low and many middle income countries the sort of technology is challenging to implement- some of the countries can’t afford to deploy the bespoke systems used in high income countries. It means the best in class training technology is not available where it is often needed most. We have built a tool that makes it possible for every healthcare organisation to build and implement that technology themselves- without touching a line of code. It means it is accessible, it means healthcare professionals get high quality training and it means patients around the world are a step closer to equitable care.
What were you doing before you started MedAll?
I am a medic by training. Prior to jumping into startup life, I was a National Institute for Health Research Academic Clinical Fellow in Cardiothoracic surgery – or in non-medical lingo – a doctor in heart and lung surgery. I was a proud member of the Association of Surgeons in Training Executive and subsequently a medical director in the Rare Disease Unit at GlaxoSmithKline where I got to work with world experts on finding therapies for rare diseases. Whilst getting MedAll off the ground I was fortunate enough to maintain part-time clinical practice as a General Practice Registrar in Northern Ireland.
MedAll was recently hailed for launching a world-first in medical conferences. Can you tell us where the idea came from and how you went about turning it into a reality>?
Medics disseminate their latest research findings at medical conferences. As coronavirus took hold in early March 2020, we watched as conference after conference was cancelled. This was undoubtedly the right thing to do but was going to have a huge impact on rapid research dissemination. Now, more than ever, we needed to sharing, debating and discussing the latest medical research, but we needed to think creatively and responsibly. We sprung into action and put out a rallying call to the medical community. In under 6 weeks a small team of 20 medics from the MedAll community organised the “MedAll International Virtual Medical Conference” – an online medical conference on a scale that was hailed as a “world-first.”
On 23rd May 2020, alongside our friends at Hopin, we hosted 200+ presenters, speakers, workshop leads and keynote speakers at an all-day virtual conference with a main stage and 18 virtual breakout rooms. There were 50+ oral research presentations across every medical specialty, 100+ virtual research poster presentations, four wonderful keynote speakers including the Director of Public Health for the New Zealand Ministry of Health, Time Magazine and Forbes featured surgeon Prof Shafi Ahmed, Medical Advisor to Medecins Sans Frontieres and the Associate Dean for Anaesthesia for Scotland. Over 300 delegates joined from every continent, other than Antarctica.
What brought you to Seedcamp?
I was impressed with the mission that Seedcamp held in helping founders solve big, global problems. The diversity of the startups you had backed – in both their company domains and founder experience – also opened up a diverse network of talented people on the same journey. Within the healthcare portfolio, I could see talented people doing incredible things in a whole range of settings around the world- like Elephant Healthcare, Viz.ai and doctorly.
Any portfolio companies you’re already using/a customer of?
Where do I start? We’re big users of multiple companies across the Seedcamp portfolio and have already benefited from using Transferwise, SeedLegals, Hopin and Stotles, all of which are incredible. We used Hopin as the platform for our medical conference.
What’s next on the horizon?
We are radically focused on improving global medical training. The MedAll community of healthcare professionals is central to that and we plan to support our colleagues in healthcare in two ways over the next number of months.
Firstly, we’ll be running another – even more exciting – MedAll IVMC (International Virtual Medical Conference) in September and will be making some big announcements over the next few weeks – check out MedAll.org/conference or our twitter feed @MedAllApp for more details.
Secondly, we are excited to be working with some of the world’s largest medical NGOs to build out the organisational functionality on MedAll that will see the true transformation of medical training in many countries around the world.
Anything you’d like to add about the healthcare space and where innovation is needed?
Historically implementation has been slow in healthcare. Quite rightly the space has to be regulated and great care has to be taken to ensure safe introduction of new technologies. However, what we are seeing right now is the acceleration of innovation in healthcare at a pace that we could never have imagined- and much of it being done safely and with patients at the centre.
Outside of all of the technological innovations happening in healthcare right now- VR, AR, AI, big data, nanotech- one of the biggest global challenges to healthcare is actually less technological and more sociological- we need to help our healthcare professionals to keep the current pace of innovation. We need to see the introduction of systems that support our healthcare professionals to use their clinical understanding to problem-solve, design, innovate, test and implement innovations.
Healthcare is a community. And when that community collectively strives for better we truly achieve incredible things.