Interview Series: Liam King, Director of Commercial and Customer Experience, Healthcare Gateway

In the latest edition of our Interview Series, we spoke with Liam King from Healthcare Gateway, to talk about the past few months for the company and to hear about some of their customer projects.

Can you tell me about yourself and your organisation?

I’m Director of Commercial and Customer Experience for Healthcare Gateway and I’ve worked here for 6 years. I have 15 years’ experience working in the healthcare IT sector, working with health and care organisations across the sector including pharmacy, GP, hospital trusts, community, mental health, social care and other third-party healthcare organisations.

I have a passion for healthcare; I have had some fantastic experiences with loved ones going through the system, and also some bad, it’s these which makes me strive for improvements across the healthcare sector.

Healthcare Gateway are a health technology and service business, the technology the Medical Interoperability Gateway is widely recognised as the MIG and alongside that we provide a full managed service wrapper; in effect, the MIG is a technology and service solution combined which supports interoperability at the heart of the health and care space today.

Could you tell me about some of your customer projects?

We provide interoperability tools to a large proportion of England’s NHS today, and are a brokering technology of real-time patient data between any system and any setting. We are more than just a provider of GP data, the MIG shares data either as a HTML rendered view or in a structured format from a multitude of different health and care settings ranging through GP, community, mental health, acute, and social care.

An example is Kent and Medway, where the population exceeds 1.8m. The MIG is utilised to connect all GP practices within the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, sharing GP data into 15 separate NHS organisations, in addition providing real-time feeds of data from acute, community and mental health back into those endpoints and also back into the GP surgeries. Going forward it will also be supporting real-time feeds into the Kent Care Record (Graphnet).

Our work is often seen as ‘under the bonnet’ in that we supply our technology as part of a bigger service stack; for example, a lot of the local care records are supported by the MIG. Commonly it’s our technology that is being used to provide the care record with real-time patient data from a wide range of systems and settings.

Bristol’s ‘Connecting Care’ community portal is provided by Orion Health with the MIG at it’s core being used to populate real-time GP and community data. In addition, the MIG transfers clinical documentation from secondary to primary care across Bristol and surrounding areas.

In Birmingham, ‘Your Care Connected’ provides a regional shared care record between groups of disparate clinical systems which are connected by the MIG. It’s the MIG that provides GP data from all GPs in Birmingham in real-time into 14 different clinical systems and settings including all NHS trusts, hospices and the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS).

In effect the MIG can be used to provide data into a single front-end system accessed by all clinicians.

How has your organisation adapted to the COVID-19 crisis?

We were ready to have our staff work from home, and we did so with little fuss and no real issue; I have been really proud of our team and I think it has been the fact that they have embraced remote working which has meant we can run in a business as usual state.

The challenges that we are seeing are people related, there is a challenge with childcare; when schools and nurseries closed it was difficult for some colleagues to adjust their working day around childcare and we have also been aware of the challenge to peoples wellbeing in respect of isolation; in particular people that live at home alone who were having limited one on one contact.

We have not furloughed any of our team, and have been able to continue to run our business remotely. For those people with children, we have supported them in working less hours, reduction of tasks and re-direction to other team members whose workload may have reduced where appropriate. We have encouraged video calls, along with a monthly (no pub) pub quiz and tea and talk sessions have also been a great help.

What are you working on at the moment and what’s next post COVID-19?

We are committed to supporting the NHS during this critical time and as such our immediate workload involves switching on additional end points providing and consuming data along with supplementing our existing datasets with pertinent data to support with COVID-19.

Product strategy for the MIG, in line with NHS directives is to support a more standardised message using RESTful and FHIR. Further to this, making the sharing of data more intuitive and intelligent.

Historically, we’ve used our own proprietary messaging in the absence of any national standards, however we wish to support the NHS directive moving forward. We will be enhancing our offering to include the sharing of a view of documents between any clinical system and settings.

Our aim is to continue to add to our suite of data providers (GP, community, mental health, acute and social care). In particular we aim to add more feeds from different healthcare settings to support the full patient journey, regardless of which organisations their treatment spans.

What is the best piece of career advice you’ve received?

Don’t be the smartest one in the room, surround yourself with smarter people that challenge ideas and bring new perspectives to help drive innovation. Finally never be afraid to ask the difficult question, often its these questions which ensure you don’t get dragged down a long and painful path.

What is your go to entertainment at the moment in lock down?

I feel as though I have ‘completed’ Netflix and Disney+ during lockdown, from documentaries to binge-worthy crime dramas, like many I have found myself watching far too much TV. I have found entertainment in going for walks, gardening and listening to music!’