Healthcare startups

Great! You’ve just had a great idea for a health business that can both make a difference and make a profit. But whether it’s a social enterprise or a ‘for profit’ venture, how do you get your plan from drawing board to board room?

There’s a lot to be done, as you might imagine, and the list can seem a bit daunting:

• Assess regulatory requirements and understand registration processes
• Choose legal structure and governance arrangements
• Win contracts
• Attract clinicians and other staff
• Understand pensions
• Deal with data protection.

…and that’s not even including drawing up your business plan and potentially seeking investment!

If you’re aiming for an online business then there’s even more to think about – app design, website terms and conditions, privacy policies, use of cookies, and so on. Each of these things can have their own complications. For instance, anyone providing healthcare services in England needs to be regulated by, and registered with, the Care Quality Commission. You therefore need to factor in the time needed to complete their application process into your overall timelines and proposed ‘go live’ date. When you have a legal structure, you will often need to prepare bespoke governing documents to make sure that it does what you need it to, especially if you are going down the social enterprise route, and there’s also the time and process needed to register with Companies House and the CIC Regulator, where applicable.

Any processing of personal data means that you need to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office and ensure that you understand the “do’s and don’ts” of dealing with data. One approach to all this would be to go and hide under the duvet for a bit in the hope that all this goes away, but entrepreneurs tend not to be beaten down by such adversity, so the other option is to go and look for some expert help.

It’s also good to get some encouragement from others who have trodden the same path and are still here to tell the tale. SH:24 CIC, for example, is a provider of an innovative online service that allows people access to free and confidential STI testing without the need to go to a sexual health clinic or to the GP. The current work covers Southwark and Lambeth but the aim is to grow in the next phase.

Another example is DKMS – the German Bone Marrow Donor Center – which we are helping to establish its operations in the UK, including its application for Human Tissue Authority licences and advice on CQC registration requirements. In a different context again, we are advising General Practitioners across the country on transforming primary care by setting up over 50 GP provider organisations or federations to extend primary and out of hospital care services. Together, these organisations represent a patient population in excess of 12 million and include Iceni Healthcare with 174 practices across Norfolk and Waveney, Somerset Primary Care (94 practices) and BIG Practice (Birmingham Integrated General Practice) of over 100 practices.

Or, taking advantage of new tech, NHS Northern England Strategic Clinical Networks have developed the Deciding Right app for making care decisions. In a similar vein, there’s also the Health Help Now app from NHS South East Commissioning Support Unit which is designed to enable users to find the right service for their health needs.

As a firm that’s been supporting the health sector for 125 years, we’ve got plenty of experience on issues which affect those providing health services of one sort or another. That’s why, to help those who are either starting from scratch or who have something successful in another country that they would like to develop in the UK, we have developed both a simple ‘Startup Guide’ as well as a series of Detailed Help reports. More details on these are available here.

Click here to read our newsbrief in full.

Full articles:

Seven day working: but will it really ‘work’?; Client spotlight: Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust; Integrated care models: the consequences for the provider trust estateNew care models: the workforce issues.