BackTable / Innovation / Podcast / Episode #44
Automated Patient Follow-Up: Ufonia with Dr. Nick de Pennington
with Dr. Nick de Pennington
In this episode, Dr. Diana Velazquez-Pimentel interviews Dr. Nick de Pennington, former neurosurgeon of the National Health Service (NHS) and founder of Ufonia, an automated telemedicine platform that seeks to expedite delivery of routine, uncomplicated clinic visits.
BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2023, January 27). Ep. 44 – Automated Patient Follow-Up: Ufonia with Dr. Nick de Pennington [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.backtable.com
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Dr. Nick de Pennington
Dr. Nick de Pennington is a former neurosurgeon of the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom and the founder of Ufonia.
Dr. Diana Velazquez-Pimentel
Dr. Diana Velazquez-Pimentel is practicing physician and an NHS Clinical Entrepreneur in London.
Dr. de Pennington saw the clinical need for this product when he realized that clinicians were spending large amounts of time performing routine clinical activities instead of providing complex care where it is most needed. Automated routine visits for uncomplicated encounters could free up clinicians’ time, provide greater convenience to patients, and reduce the cost of healthcare services. Ufonia’s first product was focused on follow up appointments for cataract surgery, one of the most common, straightforward, and safe procedures in the world. The telemedicine system converses with patients, takes a relevant history, and then recommends the next steps of care for the patient. The system also captures feedback about the patient experience, which helps clinical teams identify areas of satisfaction and improvement.
From a flexibility standpoint, patients are able to call at any time and spend as much time as they would like on the call. Natural language processing allows the platform to process the patient’s audio into text, run it through a conversation engine to generate a response, and then feed it back to the patient in audio format. The system was tested with the target demographic of the elderly patients, who are the highest utilizers of healthcare services.
Dr. de Pennington also describes the process of this technology’s adoption by physicians. On one hand, they can see that this technology could help them reduce burnout-inducing activities. On the other hand, product implementation is extremely difficult if it requires physicians to change their clinical pathways. Therefore, Ufonia seeks to integrate into existing pathways, such as their goal to help triage the Two Week Wait appointment system that the NHS has implemented for patients with symptoms that might indicate cancer.
Finally, Dr. de Pennington gives advice to physician-entrepreneurs. He emphasizes the importance of focusing on specific skills, identifying paying customers, and networking outside of your usual clinician circles.
Getting it Right the First Time (GRIFT):
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