Company of the Month: Kinseed
Kinseed are a digital technology company, focused on revolutionising and simplifying the use of data and technology in healthcare. Their SwiftCare platform is already being used in hospitals across the UK to improve patient outcomes and put the control of clinical data firmly in the hands of frontline staff.
We spoke to Kinseed’s core leadership team – Pal Bhusate, Chief Executive Officer; Bob Hundal, Chief Technology Officer and Architectural/Product Lead for the SwiftCare Suite; and Josh Knight, Design and User Experience – about what makes their approach so disruptive and the impact they’ve had so far.
How the journey started
‘Kinseed was born in 2013 because we wanted to use our background in digital transformation to make an impact in healthcare’, says CEO Pal Bhusate.
For her it’s deeply personal. She left a senior job at Vodafone to found the company and says the team are ‘passionate about doing what is right, in terms of people, process and technology in the NHS’.
‘My son was born with two holes in his heart, so I’ve spent a lot of time in an intensive care environment. The clinical teams did an amazing job back then looking after him, but I watched some of the legacy systems they used to access the data and I said to myself, one day, I’m going to do something to help here. It’s the clinician’s dream we’ve brought to life through SwiftCare.’
Solving problems in paediatric care
The team started to develop their SwiftCare platform when they were asked to help digitise some of the clinical pathways at Great Ormond Street Hospital. The hospital’s Children’s Acute Transfer Team relays sick children to or from critical care services around the country. Kinseed worked with them to solve two main problems:
‘A lot of their records were still on paper or old-fashioned databases, and on long journeys getting specialist support for patients was only possible by calling the hospital switchboard using a mobile! It seemed ridiculous. You can track your takeaway delivery, but doctors couldn’t see a patient’s vitals while they were on the move’, says Pal.
First, the team digitised the referral management system, automating previously manual steps and saving the team precious time. Then they developed new applications to help with remote patient monitoring. Their solutions connect up the mobile monitors used to track a patient’s vital signs during transit and display this data in real time on a remote dashboard which can be viewed by a specialist wherever they are.
This new approach has saved money and time, and improved the handover process, because the team receiving the patient knows exactly what to expect before the patient arrives.
Connecting the disconnected
Since that initial project with Great Ormond Street Hospital, Kinseed now have around 40 hospitals using their products to streamline a range of clinical pathways. Although SwiftCare has made a name for itself within paediatrics, the platform works for any organisation – regardless of size or specialty. It’s cloud-based, mobile-ready and can be customised without coding knowledge or expensive consultancy fees.
Core applications developed so far include:
- MediLog: Helps build any workflow, process or database with native medically focused field types and controls.
- MediVue: A central hub for remotely monitoring clinical instruments and devices like patient monitors.
- MediConnect: Smart-enables legacy clinical apparatus without the need for expensive refits and equipment purchases
- MediTrack: Easily tracks and manages availability of resources and staff across multiple locations, organisations or departments.
A disruptive model
Empowering clinicians to create their own systems is a core part of the model that has fuelled Kinseed’s success so far.
‘SwiftCare is very much a platform to be used by frontline staff to create their own solutions without the need for specialist input’, explains Bob.
‘It’s a tool born out of frustration about an unmet need within healthcare, where either you have to use expensive software and largescale IT projects to get what you need, or you’re relying on local spreadsheets. What we’ve done is develop something that is cloud-native, locally scalable, and easy to use, but that can build very complex solutions.’
The advantages of this became even more evident when the pandemic hit and health services had to adapt quickly.
‘We were already preparing for the move to codeless solutions before the pandemic hit’, says Bob. ‘It’s really all about empowering the decision makers and end users in controlling the way they work – putting the power to change and be agile back in their hands… and nobody else has done that in such a domain-specific way before.’
The other disruptive thing about SwiftCare is its commercial model. You don’t have to invest in a huge new piece of software, you just buy however many licences you need.
‘I can get my laptop out, put in a credit card number, and start using the most amazing technology on the planet in seconds,’ says Josh. ‘and yet, that’s not possible for something as critical as healthcare. So, we made our solution cloud-based and scalable, so anyone in healthcare can use it. A doctor or small team can pick up a couple of licenses, or we can turn on a whole hospital instantly – and we’re ready to scale both up and down when things change like we saw with COVID.’
Navigating the system
The team say that by working in this way, they have learnt a lot about how to navigate the system and get round some of the challenges which traditionally make it difficult to roll out innovation in the NHS.
Everything the company does is developed in partnership with the clinicians who will be using the solutions. ‘We have never really marketed ourselves’, says Pal. ‘The clinicians we’ve worked with have been our ambassadors in terms of promoting what we do.’
This organic growth has worked well for the company and they haven’t needed to find major investment in order to develop their product so far. And demand driven direct by the clinical teams helped ease some of the more rigid technology procurement processes and other structural and cultural barriers that can make breakthrough hard in the NHS. ‘Clinical teams are hungry for the change so we have their full buy in’, says Pal.
So what advice would the team give to other innovators just starting to navigate these issues? Pal says it’s important to take advantage of the support and guidance that’s out there.
‘We first encountered MedCity at a DigitalHealth.London session a couple of years ago. The relationship has really helped guide us over time, suggesting things we could consider from a business case point of view, and which partners it might be worth engaging with.
‘MedCity is great at supporting small to medium sized enterprises to really understand their complete value proposition and they’ve helped us navigate a very complex healthcare system.’
Pal says her main advice is to get the product right by working closely with clinical teams to identify an unmet need and then ‘designing a solution that’s easy to use and provides an integrated experience’ to access the right data at the right time for effective decision support and patient care.
‘It is not an easy sector to break into’, says Bob. ‘Positioning yourself can be extremely difficult without initial sponsorship around a particular use case. Without that, some of the greatest ideas in the world fall by the wayside.’
Looking to the future
The team are developing their SwiftCare platform all the time, with a customer base that continues to grow.
Bob says the company are excited to start embracing some of the work that NHSx and NHS Digital are doing to publish APIs.
‘That’s critical because it allows us to liberate data from existing systems’, says Bob. ‘It really does feel like an exciting time with this new approach to open standards creating many new opportunities to accelerate change.’
Looking forward the team have global aspirations for their product, which is already attracting attention in other healthcare systems.
‘The work we’ve done, particularly in paediatric care here in the UK, is now becoming visible globally. We’re speaking to consultants in the US and Canada who see us as leading the way in this area. Often the UK adopts innovation out of the US / EU, but this time it’s a British company leading the way with agile disruptive solutions to support the healthcare system, and that’s great!’