We need disruptive tech in healthcare – here’s why

Disruptive Tech in Healthcare

Disruptive tech, like any clichéd concept, is a cliché for good reason: it matters. It isn’t an understatement to say that it’s responsible for most of the biggest changes happening in our world.

But its value is sometimes misunderstood. Disruption without co-operation and compromise doesn’t work; and disruptive tech without smart, problem-solving people doesn’t work either. As a tech innovator in the healthcare workforce sector, we’ve learned this first-hand – especially while saving trusts millions through Direct Engagement (DE).

The NHS needs tech partners – not tech solutions

According to Accenture’s Disruptability Index, 63% of companies are experiencing disruption. That’s for good reason too – disruption means change, and change means progress.

Take NHS trusts, the primary partner for our own technology. They face unprecedented patient demands, funding decreases in real terms and mounting pressures to improve cost efficiencies – all at the same time. It doesn’t take an industry insider to tell you that this is a big problem – and a problem that can only be solved through significant change.

So the NHS needs solutions – a great example of which is DE. DE allows trusts to pay temporary workers more tax efficiently by directly engaging with them, rather than through an agency. This can save trusts up to 30% in VAT, and through DE we’ve helped to make more than £44 million in cashable savings for the NHS since 2015.

It’s a solution we provide through technology – our platform automates everything from ensuring payments are within relevant frameworks to managing IR35 compliance. But that is only half the story.

There are some misconceptions about DE which can make trusts uncomfortable about implementing it. Some trusts are concerned about compliance; others are worried about alienating non-DE workers. And our tech, in and of itself, can’t appease all of these apprehensions alone.

That’s where our people come in – and our partnership approach. Because they understand these misconceptions, they can address them in an entirely human way. Then, as DE is implemented, they remain, on-site and on-hand, to immediately address any issues coming from workers, agencies or the trust. This is why, within months of implementation, we normally have DE utilisation rates up to around 80-90%, without losing workers.

Our on-site teams are frequently mistaken for trust staff – and that’s what partnership looks like. In fact, our partners at Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust cited our partnership approach as the main reason they chose us.

Don’t forget the rest in the race for tech talent

In PWC’s Annual 22nd Global CEO Survey, 67% of tech company CEOs said it’s becoming more difficult to find tech talent in their industry. Another survey from KPMG found that 65% of major tech firms think tech talent shortages are ‘hurting their industry’.

Meanwhile, a major YouGov report suggested that just 6% of more than 1000 IT decision-makers across various sectors feel that UK companies are sufficiently digitally transformed.

All in all, these stats and more point to a clear conclusion: there is a huge demand for tech talent, and that is only going to increase. But it’s worth also considering the talent that has to be brought in to support them.

Again, our own experiences are the perfect illustration. We simply wouldn’t get past the trial phase with any partner if it wasn’t for the wide range of skills our various teams possess. Because of the nature of what we do, we not only hire ‘techies’ but people from recruitment and NHS backgrounds. And when it comes to implementing and testing our solutions, it’s a game-changer.

We have people who truly understand the NHS. They’ve seen the legacy systems that haven’t linked up well with new systems, and they know all about the financial pressure these trusts are under.

Meanwhile, they know healthcare recruitment inside-out too. From the jargon that makes sense only to HR professionals to the tricks and nuances of the trusts’ tier one agencies, they speak the language.

Ultimately, this means the support we offer isn’t a patronising helping hand – it’s knowledgeable, hands-on, sleeves-up, and entirely meaningful. Put simply, you have to find a balance between disruptive tech and supportive people.


Irina Buzdugan