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Chris Rushworth

Head of Product, Doctor Care Anywhere

Digital Transformation in Healthcare

Could you give us an insight into your background and current role?

I started my career working in an operational role in the NHS implementing patient choice which involved a lot of digital transformation. This led me to work on national systems for the NHS and then I went on to spend 16 years in various product roles working across both primary care and secondary care to understand what product success looks like.

This led me to my current role of Head of Product at Doctor Care Anywhere which is a digital health and wellness platform for virtual consultations available 24/7. We’re all about supporting the patients journey and we do everything from the initial consultation with the GP, all the way through to diagnostics. Making a difference and innovation is really important to me. 

What were your motivations when choosing to study the Digital Transformation in Healthcare programme and why in particular did you choose Alliance Manchester Business School.

At the time I had spent 15 years in the same company and covered quite a lot of different healthcare products and gained a lot of experience, but there were also aspects of digital healthcare that I hadn’t touched yet. I hadn’t done many external courses in a long time and I wanted to invest my learning and development. I’m actually doing a MBA at the moment so I’m now constantly learning and I think it has been really good for me! I also wanted to identify any gaps in my skills and experience so that I could understand what I needed to improve on, and this programme seemed like the right place to do that!

What was your favourite part of the programme?

The programme included a module all about blockchain, and as a cryptocurrency holder myself, I was really interested to find out how I could apply this to healthcare. When I wrote my assignment, I talked about how to use it as a useful network for patient demographics, and I thought about all the different ways to use blockchain in that context which I’d never thought about before.

What impact has the Digital Transformation in Healthcare Programme had on you?

The course has helped me to stay in the loop with all the latest updates within the healthcare industry. I’ve already started thinking about how I can ensure that everything I’ve learnt on the programme stays at the forefront of my mind. The fact that the programme content talked a lot about data silos helped me think about the huge problems that they cause, and even though I was very aware of them, it’s helped me think about what I can do with the data in my organisation moving forward.

How do you think the healthcare landscape has changed in the last five years, and what do you predict is going to happen in the next five - ten years?

Around eight years ago I presenting a strategy to a large NHS Trust and the attitude was still very against implementing online patient portals where patients could access their records and book appointments, even though it was already something that was happening in the US. It’s great to think back and reflect that now eight years on, this is actually now the norm with tools like the NHS app which are so accessible. I think we still have a long way to go though, and to move forward I’d like to start seeing patient pathways with fewer gaps, so that patients don’t have to go to different places for different aspects of their healthcare journey.

How did you find working full time alongside studying the course?

It definitely was beneficial for me being able to continue doing my day job at the same time as studying. In this day and age, I know many people working in healthcare struggle to find time to do anything, especially going to the doctors (that’s actually how I found Doctor Care Anywhere!) , but studying also comes under that category too. Being able to complete the programme remotely, whether that be for an hour in the morning before work or during my lunch break was really beneficial, and I found that the programme was really easy to fit around my lifestyle.

What’s next for you at Doctor Care Anywhere?

We’ve got a few exciting projects coming up, some of which I can’t talk about yet, but we’re going to be making Advance Nurse Practitioners available through our platform, so for people with certain conditions they can speak to them as well as GPs. I think this will be a huge benefit as it increases capacity for people to have conversations through the platform according to their specific care needs.

What advice would you give to someone considering joining the Digital Transformation in Healthcare Programme?

As I mentioned earlier, before I completed this programme I felt that I hadn’t really grown a lot in my career in terms of learning and development, and the programme helped me to understand aspects of my job that I felt I didn’t understand enough. It’s helped me to continue to grow and develop and also influence my team to grow and develop too. Once you do the course, it helps you to remember why you do what you do, and it also helps you think about aspects of your career from a different perspective so that you can bring new ideas back to your organisation.

Find out more about our 7-week, online Digital Transformation in Healthcare programme.