Swedish medical models come to the UK

From the management of their economy to their environmental approach, the Swedes generally adopt a sensible approach to most things. 

As a nation, the Swedish tend to worry about the things they care about. In part this is the reason why so many people are pleased to have their children cared for by Swedish au pairs. The Swedish approach to medicine is also no exception. The medical approach has most recently been illustrated by their 'no lockdown' COVID-19 policy, which contrary to all the international criticism has resulted in only just under six thousand deaths and the preservation of normal business, the economy and their health system. The outcome will need to be confirmed, but it is likely that the overall physical and mental health benefit (including lives saved in the longer term), will be better than other countries where lockdown has been implemented.

As a sign that Sweden seems to be leading the new over-arching perceived wisdom on healthcare, their head of pandemic policy, Johan Giesecke, has been given a senior position at the World Health Organisation (WHO). This internationally acknowledged endorsement will give him significant influence over the future strategy to contain the pandemic. The appointment of Johan Giesecke was headed by Professor Heymann, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and Head of the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House.

The apparent meeting of minds means that UN policy on pandemic is now headed via an Anglo-Swedish alliance.

Swedish digital medical management

The UK saw a sudden adoption of digital, remote and virtual health systems as a direct result of lockdown. However, well before the pandemic, Sweden were already implementing wide digital medical operating environments. Back in 2018 the medical group - Capio Ringen became the first of Capio’s 104 primary care units to implement a 'digital point of entry for patients' through their website. The need to change their way of working was driven by huge demand and bottle-necks in the traditional methods of service delivery. Since implementation of a new system produced by the IT medical specialists Doctrin, the following outcomes have been reported:

  • The number of patients who receiving a same-day call back has increased from 73 to 95 percent (Sweden has a goal of 100 percent same-day call back),
  • The waiting time for planned face to face doctor consultations has reduced from 4-6 weeks to 1-3 days,
  • Continuity has improved with most patients now seeing the same doctor, and 
  • Productivity has increased with capacity for an additional 33 percent more patients being treated. 

Using the new system, the healthcare team also confirm that the working environment is no longer stressful, but has become far more "calm and structured". 

It is probably against this backdrop that Doctrin now seek to expand their "proven" service globally.

Doctrin UK launch

Under the local leadership of Craig Oates, Doctrin say they are now bringing the same "tried and tested" system to "radically improve healthcare to the UK market".

Their innovative solution enables healthcare providers to intelligently digitalise the patient journey to create, "a more accessible, efficient, and integrated healthcare system". Since launch four years ago, Doctrin is already Sweden’s leading platform for digital healthcare servicing a quarter of its population, with 2.3 million people now having access to the platform. Having established this position they say, "Doctrin is now ready to present their digi-physical solution to patients and physicians all over the world, starting this autumn with launching in the UK September 1".

Craig Oates says, “Doctrin is transforming how healthcare is delivered, moving to digital consultations that demonstrably improves patient care as well as the experience and efficiency for clinicians. This holistic view on digitalising the healthcare system is already proving its value in Sweden and the Czech Republic, showing game changing benefits which I look forward to sharing with our UK customers.”

Huge synergies with healthcare in Sweden and the UK

Anna-Karin Edstedt Bonamy, CEO Doctrin says, “Doctrin’s mission is to radically improve healthcare, which we believe is done by smart digitalisation that positively affects every part of the healthcare system and everyone in it. Now we have clear results showing that we are on the right path and the readiness to present the digi-physical method at a bigger scale. We see huge synergies with healthcare in Sweden and the UK, which is why this is a natural step in our growth”.

There are a large number of new digital systems entering the UK market including the much vaunted Babylon and eConsult, which now has a 50 percent share of the NHS market. Doctrin are quick to point out that the sensitive nature of these systems means that there are inherent dangers in trying to implement new products too quickly. They emphasis the fact that they now have a proven solution with the necessary track record of effectiveness and safety.

For any digital health company one of the biggest technical challenges is the ability to 'interoperate' with and store integrated information from the different medical divisions such as imaging, the patient electronic health records (EHR) and clinical laboratory testing results. Doctrin say that they have the basic HL7 standards in place to allow the required interoperability, but it is not fully operational yet. However, pictures, images and video access is available as an interim measure. Where the system is really excelling is with the ability to tailor questioning approaches to the different types of scenario and to concurrently join multiple disciplines  - effectively allowing real-time MDT meetings.

Doctrin’s platform is used by Sweden's largest private healthcare providers and handles a million patient cases on a yearly basis. The company was founded in 2016 by Magnus Liungman and Ashkan Labaf. The company has 52 employees based in Stockholm and Poland, and is now expanding to the UK.

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