Takis Kotis, Founder, Cambridge Medical Academy
Disseminating the existing clinical knowledge and experiences is a very crucial aspect of healthcare. Exchange of knowledge and best practices between clinicians across the boundaries enable informed decision making, best possible patient care, and ultimately lead to improved global health. To facilitate this, Cambridge Medical Academy (CMA) was founded in 2014 by three industry veterans, Mr. Takis Kotis, a strategic healthcare business consultant, Dr. Toni Staykova, a specialist physician/geriatrician and innovation expert and Dr. Leonard Shapiro, a specialist interventional cardiologist and medical device innovator. The purpose of setting up the company was to provide a novel approach, which would leverage the impact of existing clinical knowledge & experiences, best practices, clinical innovation, and the use of available data to benefit healthcare improvement at scale across boundaries. “We believe in the power of accessible knowledge, collaboration, and co-creation, as well as integration of conventional and traditional medicine,” asserts Mr.Takis. The pioneering company focuses on two key domains— knowledge & experience sharing and clinical innovation.
Addressing the Skill Gap through Knowledge & Experience Sharing
During the extensive years of healthcare service in the NHS as well as Europe, USA, New Zealand, the three founders of CMA identified a significant unmet need of healthcare professionals across the globe. For instance, in the UK, there is a wealth of professional knowledge and experiences being delivered internally in each hospital, but that knowledge is not captured in a way that would allow it to be used for wider clinical audiences outside the specific organization. Though there are many journals and conferences / clinical and scientific meetings that publish new knowledge, their focus is mainly scientific and there is minimal review of how certain services function and what their good practices are. Moreover, only a few clinicians have the opportunity to be a visiting scholar to observe good practices and service delivery. However, the learning of those chosen few is insufficient to address the needs of the healthcare community and create an impact on healthcare improvement at wider scale. Hospitals can only host a small number of clinicians who would be interested to observe. Thus, to address this challenge, CMA has pioneered an approach via the provision of innovative UKeMED services. UKeMED, as part of its service, has deployed a knowledge-sharing platform that enables clinicians to exchange experiences across boundaries and communicate on an ongoing basis to learn from each other. The knowledge providers at CMA are top professionals from reputable healthcare organizations and universities across the UK, the EU and Asia. They share their best practices online as well as face-to-face, with the partner hospitals in China, and strive to learn from them as well. “The Cambridge Medical Academy model is unique in that it enables the entire staff of the partner hospitals to benefit from the exchange, rather than just a few selected clinicians. Considering the size of our partner hospitals in China in terms of beds and staff, effectively we managed to reach a client base of several thousand healthcare professionals already in the third year of our operations and since then we have rapidly been expanding, ”opines Mr. Takis.
Naturally, the knowledge-sharing exchanges via the UKeMED services also lead to the generation and discussion of new ideas and the development of new projects of mutual interest, which lead to collaborative research, visiting scholarships, and joint publications in reputable journals. As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for fast and effective international collaboration in healthcare, it has become clear that the UKeMED concept has been very well placed at this time. The pandemic has further boosted the already strong momentum of the UKeMED services despite the limitations imposed on travel for many months.
Accelerating Clinical Innovation
The three founders of the company have brought in their vast experience in clinical innovation, having set up and led numerous European-funded collaborative R&D projects before, as well as providing expertise to international innovation funding bodies and developing innovations themselves. For example, Dr. Len Shapiro, who is one of the most reputable interventional cardiologists in the UK as well as worldwide, has invented a device to unblock coronary arteries, which is now nearly at the marketing stage. Under the insightful leadership of such innovative leaders, CMA identifies the clinical needs and understands the real gaps and how they could be bridged with technological solutions.
“One of the key areas of CMA is to engage in R&D to leverage the use of existing data to improve service provision. CMA has been one of the grant recipients in the COVID-19Fast Response Call by INNOVATE UK with the innovative BACKLOG solution,” adds Mr. Takis.
BACKLOG: An Innovate Project in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the battle against the Coronavirus continues, it is affecting the footfall in hospital wards and waiting rooms, giving rise to large waiting lists that will take years to clear if services operate on a usual basis. BACKLOG solves this problem by injecting AI-driven geospatial analytics and techniques to help managers restructure and reconfigure services while simulating the effect on the waiting list. The main aim of the BACKLOG project is to aid the NHS and public health service providers to safely and effectively clear the backlog of outpatients and day case interventions by introducing geospatial intelligence into their ERP, appointment, and booking systems.
With an innovative set of tools, the BACKLOG platform helps waiting-list owners (e.g. pacemaker clinics, endoscopy services, any other investigations or procedures) to visualise their demand and the available resource across their geographical catchment area and to run simulations of resource allocation. These enable informed decision-making about the most effective deployment of resources and the time required to clear the lists. It also contributes to patient safety, avoiding further delays due to inefficient deployment of clinics and staff.
“To date, there are no geo-location supported BI tools deployed in waiting list management. The data used for BACKLOG are anonymised waiting list parameters, along with geographical maps and resource information – these are combined in an innovative way to leverage the information yield and gain demand& resource visibility,” affirms Mr. Takis. To further avoid any breach of data privacy, it uses UKCloud’s secure server, which has the highest marks for security by the NHS.
Continues Improving Global Health in Several Ways
Currently, CMA is focusing on the accelerating the integration of conventional (Western) medicine with established medical practices, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as complementary and alternative practices to achieve a truly holistic approach. For this purpose, CMA has formulated its own initiative named ONE HEALTH ONE ROADTM which has already set foot in the cities of Chongqing, Chengdu, Kunming, Changzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin (CMA Office), and Guangzhou.
The company takes social responsibility at heart and enables the inclusion of members from socioeconomically deprived countries to participate in the activities at no cost. In addition to providing them access to know-how, it plans to organize visits by experts to help with service development, operations, and other needs, such as telemedicine for areas that lack resources. Finally, the company aspires to achieve overall behavioral change in healthcare collaborations across borders, by bridging current fragmentation, leveraging the use of precious knowledge resources, and fostering the use of collective intelligence to develop and implement innovations in healthcare provision for the benefit of the patients.