Doctor-staffing startups boom in usage as healthcare systems scramble to respond to the pandemic
Locum's Nest cofounders Dr Nicholas Andreou and Dr Ahmed Shahrabani
- Health tech startups that help healthcare workers find shifts have boomed as the UK rallies medical professionals to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
- Locum's Nest, a UK app that helps connect physicians to work, has seen a 37% month-to-month spike due to COVID-19.
- "Tech is breaking down the silos that exist in the medical profession and we are encouraging transparency and accountability," Dr Ahmed Shahrabani, CEO and cofounder of Locum's Nest told Business Insider in an interview.
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Health tech startups that help locum healthcare workers find shifts have seen a big uptick in usage as the UK rallies medical professionals to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
Some 20,000 former NHS staff have agreed to return to help the UK's public health system from being overwhelmed by cases of COVID-19. The UK has reported 22,141 coronavirus cases and 1,408 deaths linked to the virus.
Locum's Nest, which connects locum clinicians to available shifts, has launched a dashboard to help NHS trusts allocate staff where they are needed most. The company says it has seen a 38% month-to-month spike.
Traditional locum agencies usually help specific hospital trusts fill shifts in the UK, but have tended to be less digitized and efficient than their tech counterparts.
Apart from Locum's Nest, other UK startups include Patchwork Health and Lantum. All three have reported spikes in usage in recent weeks as NHS trusts upload specific COVID-19 shifts.
"We've seen a significant increase in COVID-19 shifts coming up week-on-week, at every trust in the country which has meant a 38% increase in shift demand month-on-month," Dr Ahmed Shahrabani, CEO and cofounder of Locum's Nest told Business Insider. "Tech is breaking down the silos that exist in the medical profession and we are encouraging transparency and accountability."
It's thought that as much as a quarter of staff working COVID-19 shifts will need to self-isolate due to coming into close proximity with patients, often without protective equipment. Locum's Nest is offering its services to the NHS for free during this period.
The startup has set up a 'digital collaborative bank', an online network comprised of eight separate NHS trusts within its platform. Locum's Nest claims that the greatest fill rates of shifts have occurred within this network, which contains some 5,000 doctors who are able to work where demand for coronavirus shifts is highest.
Lantum, meanwhile, claimed a 20% spike in shifts matched in the past week among its network of 21,000 doctors.
Patchwork Health claimed a 100% increase in app downloads by clinicians.
"As healthcare workers ourselves, we are acutely aware of the strain that this pandemic is placing on NHS staffing systems," Dr Anas Nader, CEO of Patchwork Health told Business Insider. "Over the past month, we've seen a huge spike in demand from both trusts advertising roles and clinicians looking to book shifts across the UK health network. The need at each trust is varying daily."
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