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26 January, 2012 - 12:57 By Tony Quested

Dawson King, CEO of Cambridge Healthcare Ltd

Cambridge Healthcare CEO, Dawson King

Dawson King is CEO of pioneering healthcare startup, Cambridge Healthcare Ltd. The company is working in partnership with the NHS and Connecting for Health to develop howareyou.com, an e-Health portal for patients and healthcare professionals. The portal will integrate with the NHS IT infrastructure and provide the platform for an unlimited number of healthcare applications.

As well as providing an electronic personal health plan for patients, CHL will create the first ever healthcare application store, encouraging third parties – including medical technology companies and healthcare providers –to design an unlimited range of innovative, useful and high-quality applications.

Cambridge Healthcare Ltd (CHL) has secured a partnership agreement with Microsoft HealthVault that will enable the storage of health information from many sources in one online location.

1. What was the catalyst for starting Cambridge Healthcare Ltd?The increasing number of people living with long-term conditions presents a major challenge for health, social care, community and third sector organisations. Cambridge Healthcare, in partnership with NHS Midlands and East, developed the website howareyou.com in direct response to the Department of Health’s commitments made in the ‘Our Health, Our Care, Our Say’ White Paper – from the desire to deliver better outcomes and an enhanced experience of care for people living with long-term conditions.

2. What were your greatest challenges at the very outset and how did you overcome them?The greatest challenge is enabling not an information revolution, but a mindset revolution; that’s going to take time and require measurable outcomes – evidence that healthcare technology and changes in practice are providing actual benefit, rather than ‘one more thing to do.’

3. How was the formative business funded?The founders and a small number of private equity investors.

4. Did your business plan allow for global expansion?Cambridge Healthcare was inspired to be a multinational healthcare company and we have been successful in that aspiration. We are motivated both financially and strategically towards international expansion. Our vision of an integrated care system is literal and not limited to our own health service.

5. Has your progress to date tallied with your original ambitions?Yes, with the Government’s agenda to create a revolution for patients – “putting patients first” – giving people more information and control and greater choice about their care – we couldn’t have asked for more political and workforce support to put this information revolution into effect.We’re also grateful to have been chosen from 420 entries from 27 countries to win the 2011 Institution of Engineering and Technology Global Innovation Award for best IT Technology.

6. How would you interpret the long-term potential for the business?We’re seeing a lot of international interest from both Asia, which is faced with the world’s fastest ageing population, as well as America, which spends hugely more than most nations and has its own health crises. I think every country is now under enormous pressure to cut costs and improve care and I believe we’re going to be central to making that happen, both nationally and internationally.

7. Are you likely to need further funding going forward and will that be angel or VC-led or a combination?Strategic investment will be sought to support our global expansion strategy.

8. Is there headroom in your company’s technology – will we see more innovation from Cambridge Healthcare Ltd?I believe you will continue to see innovation from us. We are committed to enabling policy-makers, clinicians and managers to achieve closer integration of care within the NHS, improving quality of care for patients and reducing costs through the use of technology to support more joined-up and efficient services. We are building a sustainable national infrastructure for connected care at no cost to the taxpayer. Everything we do is innovative, from our technologies to our approach to implementation and adoption.

9. How would you assess the way the UK embraces and utilises new healthcare technology compared to other countries around the globe?The National Programme for IT, Connecting for Health and HealthSpace are evidence that although not fully realised, healthcare information technology is being embraced here in the United Kingdom. If one looks to the white paper, ‘Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS’ the Department of Health’s vision to make the NHS a truly world class healthcare service is clear. It’s even clearer that an information revolution is not only required to make this happen, but is a huge part of the manifesto and a pre-requisite for one of its major patient support themes: “no decisions about me without me.” The NHS is the largest publicly funded health system in the world. The Department of Health is looking at how the NHS can best represent itself on the international stage and to explore how we can best promote the world-class innovation and reputation of our healthcare system to help bring additional benefits to our patients, and to promote what we do best internationally to the UK’s advantage through NHS Global.

10. The trend is to give people more responsibility for their healthcare, yet anecdotal evidence suggests they are appalling at taking their tablets on time and so on. Are we putting lives in danger by giving patients more responsibility?I honestly think the subject is confused. Self care is not about forcing people to self-manage. It is about supporting people, where necessary, to be able to have the amount of control and responsibility they want for their long-term condition; to help people to adapt to life with their conditions and to take control of their care. People with long-term conditions consistently tell us they want to have more control over their conditions and over the care they receive. They also want to have more support in being able to care for themselves (‘self-management’).

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