This week we had a chat with Kirsten Lord, Founder and CEO of PhysioMedics about setting up the business, developing the ‘PhysioWizard’ software, and her vision of helping thousands of people secure the right healthcare treatment and advice.
Can you tell me about your background and what has lead you to where you are today?
Coming from Australia I settled in Edinburgh twenty-six years ago and founded the Physio Centres based in Edinburgh and Glasgow. In 2010 I’d noticed an increasing number of patients using Dr Google to find information on their conditions before they came to the clinic. There was often a significant time lag before they came to the clinic too, many people didn’t know who they should see for treatment. Patients want two things, to find relevant self-help information and to get the most effective treatment for their condition quickly. With this in mind I began to develop software which matches patients with the most appropriate clinician on day 1 (this is known as triage) and provides personalised self-help.
What challenges did you face setting this up?
With a background as a clinician, it was about creating clinical pathways which we developed into algorithms. I was able to use computer programs in existence to develop those but turning this into a tool which patients could use and captured data was a major challenge.
I made some mistakes and finally learnt how to get around the IT challenges, and we created a beta prototype which we clinically tested and CE Marked, but there were a lot of stages within that where we came up against brick walls. My goal was to launch the software with large organisations but I needed to prove the business case and recruit other people on my journey. We received funding through Archangels in December 2016 and along with their help and support, things really began to move.
So how do you work with other businesses using this software?
The PhysioWizard helps companies to manage patients and employees with muscle and joint issues. It’s a business-to-business package, so we sell licenses for the use of this software to health insurance or occupational health organisations. We started with a lower back tool, the most complex area of the body and have just started field testing the lower limb product, due for release later this year. Our next release is for neck, upper back and head followed by the upper limb to complete full body triage. The software is designed for patients to use and takes them through a questionnaire of clinically validated algorithms leading referral to the right treatment provider as well as self help information which enables patients to manage their condition.
In what other ways does it help the individual suffering from these issues?
Many people spend hours reading the wrong information on Dr Google and often think the worst, and this can lead to conditions such as anxiety, depression and chronic pain. You’ll look up site after site to try to match this information with your symptoms, but it’s difficult to diagnose yourself accurately. The PhysioWizard software guides sufferers through the maze and backed by clinical trials, gives reassurance and answers.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
It’s an exciting time, at the moment we’re gearing to launch with a global organisation, scale up, take on more staff, and expand a lot over the coming year. At the moment I wear a lot of hats but my focus is on developing the product. I’m working with some exceptional people with complementary skills (commercial, sales, clinical and software) and looking forward to developing the team further.
What do you find most rewarding about this work?
Being a physio you can help one person at a time but with software of this kind you can help thousands. We’re gaining a lot of traction in the market place which is especially rewarding and I’m looking forward to expanding the company globally once we’ve secured our foot-hold in the UK.
Interested in what Kirsten and her team have to offer? Check out Physio WIzard and keep up to date with their latest news on LinkedIn and Twitter.