NHS GP Partner Dr. Anshumen Bhagat watched his childhood friends develop successful apps, hence took the plunge by entering the market with GPDQ, an online platform / application which states they can deliver a GP to your home within 60 minutes.
Not only have they entered the market at a competitive rate, working as one of their GPs provides flexibility, educational support and a real sense of community – he tells us why…
1. IS GPDQ SEEN AS A DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION? IF SO, WHY?
Definitely. Private healthcare has been around for centuries, long before we had a National Health Service – offering private GPs is nothing new. However, what we are providing is far more affordable and convenient access to private GP consultations.
The idea originally took shape for me after trying to arrange a home visit for one of my patients when I was unavailable – it took 5 hours to get a private GP to her and cost her over £400.
There had to be a better way and that’s the GPDQ vision; delivering convenient, affordable, quality healthcare using technology.
Now for a much lower fee and with just a few clicks on their phone, patients can get an unrushed, high quality GP consultation, face-to-face, within an average of 90 minutes and at a location of their choice.
2. HOW DOES THIS CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THE DELIVERY OF HEALTHCARE AS A WHOLE?
What we are providing is another choice. A more affordable, more accessible private healthcare choice that will in turn hopefully reduce some of the burden on NHS surgeries and A&E departments. It allows those who make the choice and can pay to access our services and not utilise other state funded systems.
3. WHAT WERE THE KEY ACTIONS / DECISIONS YOU MADE IN BUILDING THE RIGHT TEAM TO ENSURE GPDQ WAS A SUCCESS?
Firstly, not to start with a layer of executives, but to have people around us with roles specific to the requirements of the business. We assembled a great team that brought a tonne of relevant experience with them to their roles.
Generalists are undervalued. In the early stages, we needed people who can do many things, who can brainstorm outside of their function and see how their roles affect others.
Don’t hire people just like you. We sought out people with diverse experiences and skillsets.
Finally, look for failures. People who have failed and recovered are better than people who have never failed.
Failure is a great source of insight, but more than that, people who are not hobbled by failure and can figure out how to rise again have the right personality for a startup.
4. WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO CONTINUE WORKING IN YOUR NHS ROLE, AND ONLY RECRUITING DOCTORS WHO STILL CONTINUE NHS WORK?
We are incredibly fortunate to have the NHS and I am committed to my role within it.
There will always be a place for private healthcare; but alongside the NHS, not instead of it.
GPDQ was started to offer more choice to patients and to doctors, at a time when many of our NHS doctors are deciding to leave the country or the profession. We do not want to take doctors away from the NHS, we want to make the profession more appealing. That’s why we only accept GPs that are doing at least 2 sessions each week within the NHS. I also have a lot of respect for the ongoing training and high standards demanded of doctors working within the NHS, and want to ensure that that level of quality is maintained within our own team.
6. WHAT METHODS DO YOU USE TO ENCOURAGE COMMUNITY AND INNOVATION AMONGST THE TEAM WORKING FOR YOU?
We are a very close knit team and while everyone has their own area to focus on, we make the key decisions together. If we are considering whether to implement a new feature or service, the whole team, from customer service to marketing to development, is involved in that discussion. Not only does this create a more engaged and driven team, but it allows the business to benefit from a variety of perspectives and ideas.
This does not stop with the GPDQ staff either; we bring the GPs on our platform into the conversation as well. With a team of highly experienced, diverse and forward thinking doctors at our fingertips, we would be foolish not to. This also ensures that we continue to build a platform and service that works for our doctors as much as our patients.
Also, a little shindig now and again is always helpful in team bonding!
7. WHICH IDEA ON THE ‘IDEA WALL’ YOU HAVE IN THE OFFICE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO PURSUE AND WHY?
A key next step for us is an Electronic Health Records solution to provide easy digital access to a patient’s medical history for both the patient and their doctor. This will allow patients to take a more proactive role in their own health and further contributes to our goal of a seamless, 360 degree healthcare provision.
8. ANY FURTHER ADVICE FOR DOCTORS IN CAREER CHANGE?
Being a doctor is the most amazing thing I have done in my life and the rewards are phenomenal. However, as doctors we have highly transferable skills, so do not be afraid to look for opportunities off the beaten track. Using our skillset to enjoy medicine and other areas can provide welcome variety and keep us alive, so to say!