With 2.3 million patient cases per year in Sweden, and the Norwegian Directorate of Health procuring its platform to use nationwide, Swedish health tech company Doctrin is now expanding its digi-physical solution to patients and physicians all over the world. Almost 10 months into its
UK venture, we sat down with UK & Ireland Managing Director Craig Oates to discuss Doctrin’s
journey so far and how the support from the DIT and the SCC has been invaluable in the process.
Doctrin, founded in 2016 by Magnus Ljungman and Ashkan Labaf, is a health tech company with an innovative platform solution that reduces the administrative burden and helps the healthcare provider to free up resources, so that doctors and healthcare professionals can spend more time on patient care. At the same time the patient gets to be more involved.
With only four years on the market, Doctrin is already Sweden’s leading B2B-platform for digital healthcare with a quarter of its population, 2.3 million people, having access to the platform on a yearly basis. Its innovative tools are used by some of the largest healthcare providers in the country and the results have reported shorter waiting-times, better quality of care, reduced costs, happier healthcare staff and satisfied patients.
For the healthcare provider, Doctrin’s platform makes it easier to meet, treat and follow up with patients in one place for a more efficient and integrated healthcare system.
As an example, with the help of advanced medical content, a report can be created with information needed to make a qualified assessment. These forms also create an opportunity for the patient to express what is important to them in the contact, contributing to the patients becoming more involved in their care. This makes it possible for the care staff to quickly make an initial assessment of how the case should be handled further and to know which cases they need to prioritise to make a deeper assessment.
The Doctrin Network tool also allows the patient to see all new, ongoing, and old cases, regardless of which healthcare unit is managing that episode of care. Health and care professionals can invite additional care professionals from separate units or guide the patient directly through digital referrals.
A natural step in the company’s growth
It has been a busy but successful couple of years for this fast-growing company that is now 10 months into its expansion in the UK. Craig Oates is Doctrin’s Managing Director for the UK and Ireland. With more than 30 years of healthcare experience, both as a respected senior leader in the NHS and with some of the world’s leading digital health firms, he has taken the lead on the company’s mission on how to radically improve healthcare to the UK market and at the same time driving Doctrin’s growth in the UK and internationally.
“This has been a really exciting time joining Doctrin and launching our new UK business. Doctrin is transforming how UK healthcare is delivered, moving to digital consultations that demonstrably improve patient care as well as the experience and efficiency for clinicians,” he says.
We asked Craig what made the UK the market of choice as the first big step on the international market. “First of all, it is one of the biggest markets in the world, also we see huge synergies between being a company operating in both Sweden and the UK, which is why this is a natural step in our growth.”
He explains how both countries are very close in how systems operate and tells us that inefficient business and clinical processes, combined with long lead times in healthcare, are partly due to the lack of tools for effective collaboration and information-sharing between different care units. “This is true for both countries and something we have in common. I also think the UK acknowledges that Sweden is a centre of excellence in health. Sweden is somewhere we look for innovation and for quality,” he adds.
First UK – then the world
Doctrin is using the UK as its international launch pad. The combination of being a company from both the Swedish and the UK markets weighs heavily internationally. The size of the UK market combined with the opportunity to have the NHS badge as part of their portfolio, along with Karolinska Sjukhuset and other Blue Ribbon international brands is important moving forward.
The UK is the only geography where the company has decided to set up another entity. We asked Craig to explain the strategy behind this: “If you are going to come into the UK, you need a UK business. There are many challenges we would have to face if we were not a UK company with a registration at Companies House,” Craig answers. “Especially now after Brexit. Even getting a bank account here would be utterly complex. And when you are in health, cyber security penetration testing must be done by a UK company. So that kind of commercial entity presence is key.”
Supporting the process
Coming to the UK, Craig has had solid support from the SCC: “There is a lot you need to do in the process and therefore having the Swedish Chamber of Commerce at hand has been very important. For the continuous journey, the DIT has been really helpful with their embassy-based staff,” he adds.
"Having the DIT on hand really helped me from making mistakes while bringing Doctrin here. The DIT did so much of utter importance and still keep introducing me to specialists and contacts in the UK."
He explains how the wraparound the DIT has given Doctrin as a new entity is inestimable in value, especially if you do not have experience in starting up a company from another country in the UK. “Having the DIT on hand really helped me from making mistakes while bringing Doctrin here. The DIT did so much of utter importance and still keep introducing me to specialists and contacts in the UK. I cannot praise my DIT partner Michelle Cooper highly enough. It has been brilliant.”
Be Swedish and proud
Before wrapping up, we asked Craig if he has any tips to share with other Swedish businesses that are considering an expansion to the UK. “Some basic ones. Do your homework, understand the market, understand what you must do and get your head around Government and Public Procurement. You are in a whole world of pain in the UK if you have not got your head around registration regulation. Keep your vision very broad. Another one is: Do not be afraid to be proud about Sweden. It is an absolute asset.”
“Just get your head around the whole regulatory system, the rules and what you need to do here in the UK. It is a little bit like the game ‘Whack A Mole’: you bash one certification today and next week, three more pop up. Just accept it. It is the way it is. I guess my final line is: Welcome to the UK!”
Year of establishment
Sweden: 2016 / UK: 2020
Number of employees
Around 70 in total