NHS Junior Doctors raise $3.9m to transform healthcare communication

Forward Health, the app working to reinvent healthcare communication, has today announced a $3.9m seed funding-round led by Stride.VC, with additional backing from Albion Capital.

Forward was founded in 2016 by UK doctors Barney Gilbert and Lydia Yarlott, alongside serial entrepreneur Philip Mundy. Their mission is to connect healthcare systems around the world, making communication secure, transparent and flexible for healthcare professionals and patients.

Forward’s initial offering has been a clinical messaging app for UK-based clinicians. Over the past year, Forward has piloted this tech in a community of 5,000 doctors across five partner hospitals. Their technology allows staff to avoid the NHS’ inefficient network of pagers and landlines, and reduces reliance on insecure apps such as WhatsApp. Use of the Forward platform has saved their community members crucial time, allowing them to focus on patient delivery and to reduce waiting times.

Following this round, the team will leverage the insights of their early adopters to expand the app’s offering and create a platform that can facilitate seamless communication across every part of the healthcare landscape, both in hospitals and in the community.

Co-founder Dr Barney Gilbert comments: “We started Forward to solve a huge problem: broken communication in healthcare. It’s arguably the biggest barrier to caring for patients properly and so we’re building a platform that is going to transform the way healthcare professionals can do their jobs; empowering them to provide care in a truly connected way. We’re designing and rolling out Forward from the grassroots, based on frequent testing and gathering feedback from our extraordinary community of health professionals. Already, we’re saving them time and improving the quality of care they can offer to patients. And this is only the beginning of what our platform is set to provide. We’re delighted to be joined by investors that so passionately support our vision for the future of healthcare.”

Co-founder Philip Mundy adds: “Healthcare is experiencing an accelerated tech revolution and Forward is at the very heart of it. We feel privileged to have this opportunity to further scale our offering and are delighted to welcome such a fantastic group of investors to the team. Together we’re building something vital for the future of health. The next phase of evolution is about deepening our impact in the NHS and further empowering our community so we can continue to create technology that allows them to help more people, more effectively.”

Co-founder Dr Lydia Yarlott adds:“Forward was created because we needed it to do our jobs as doctors, but we’re now discovering that it’s so much more than a messaging tool – it’s already changing the way hospitals work. As a paediatrician working in the NHS, I am impatient for change for my patients and their families; healthcare in the UK is world class, but we could do so much more with the right innovations spearheaded from the grassroots upwards. Forward is already proving to be transformative and I am excited to see how, working in tandem with our incredible community of clinicians, our technology will evolve in the months and years ahead.”

The past year has also seen Forward join the DigitalHealth.London and GovStart accelerators.