MedCity CEO on the Health-Tech Podcast
The Health-Tech Podcast from Dr James Somauroo covers the latest in health and technology through interviews with disruptive health-tech start-ups and leaders. Aimed at a broad audience of patients, founders, investors or anyone interested in health-tech, the podcast has listeners in 122 countries and publishes new episodes twice a week.
How do you go from being a biomedical graduate to advising cross-collaborative groups from industry, the NHS and the public sector on how to enable innovation? Listen to this episode of James Somauroo’s popular podcast for a fascinating insight into the evolution of MedCity CEO Neelam Patel’s career and our work supporting and convening across the ecosystem.
Read a short taster below or scroll down for the full episode.
The value of diverse experience across multiple players in a space
Neelam talks to James about her background, right down to her early years as a non-English speaking first-generation immigrant when her family first came to the UK when she was just five. She shares her experience of being the youngest of five girls with strict parents – whose father advised her: “whatever you do, go into science, that’s where the jobs are”. Taking her father’s advice, Neelam gave up her natural creative pull to the arts and did indeed chose science, going on to study a biomedical degree and land her first job as a bench researcher at Barts. Large pharma beckoned however, and she went on to get a diverse range of experience, first at UK-headquartered GSK, and then US-grown Lilly. This sowed the seeds for a diverse career path that would provide unique insight into cross-sector challenges.
From industry to grass-roots innovation barriers in the NHS
We hear about how a natural curiosity and fascination with the public sector led Neelam to become an industry representative on cross-collaborative groups, looking at the barriers companies and the country were facing in growing clinical research. Barriers that were many of the same hurdles we see with digital health adoption today – slow set-up, bureaucracy, inconsistent costing and inconsistent management on contracting across the country. That work led to the creation of real tools and guidance to establish processes that could attract more industry research.
Neelam then went on to lead a national programme at the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to streamline set-up processes within the NHS for clinical research. Being a lean six sigma green belt, it was an alluring opportunity to do some service improvement work across disciplines, and one she found hugely eye-opening. The work allowed her to hold a mirror up to the NIHR, shining light on the way industry was really doing things in practice and leading to important changes in supporting industry to deliver studies.
Armed with this uniquely diverse perspective and a drive to have more impact, Neelam went on to work for the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust charity. There she saw the real difficulties clinicians faced trying to innovate on the job, and some of the grass root issues in the NHS. As a natural problem solver, she realised the real way she could make an impact was in helping simplify the system, to make things easier and ultimately enable system-wide growth.
And that’s how she came to MedCity, and where our small team creates the most impact in the work we do across the ecosystem. Listen to the full podcast to hear the rest of their discussion!