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Start-up Cievert’s quest to improve the lives of cancer patients

Pfizer Healthcare Hub:London interviewed David Birchmore of Cievert to find out how the company is helping to reduce the time NHS cancer patients have to wait for appointments. What makes the company stand out is the impact the technology is having on patients and the teams of health professionals who work with Cievert alike, not only financially but also emotionally.

What inspired you to start Cievert?

Cievert was actually born out of the NHS; originally an in-house solution. Chris Kennelly, a former radiographer, came up with the idea of Casper when he experienced first-hand the delays and inaccuracies that occurred when patients were referred on paper based forms during their cancer treatment process. These inefficiencies were having a huge impact on patients – the stress of waiting for appointments or the emotional turmoil when something goes wrong – and Cievert believed we could help improve the patient’s well-being, whilst making it easier for healthcare teams to focus on delivering their expertise to patients instead of managing paper trails.

So what does Cievert actually do?

Cievert’s web-based Casper platform manages the registration and referral process for all radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment – from the point of first contact with a patient – through to completion of their treatment.

The platform gives oncologists the ability to refer patients from any outlying clinic, to a specific cancer treatment centre. It reduces patient waiting times, and creates efficiency savings for the referring centre and cancer treatment centres.

What impact does this have on patients?

In real terms, this gives patients peace of mind that their appointments are being handled; it’s a weight off their mind during what could potentially be one of the most stressful times of their lives. In some instances, patients have even been informed of appointments before they arrive home from their consultation, which removes the stress of the unknown. By automating the referral process, we’re also reducing the number of errors in the system.

To date, over 30,000 patients across the UK have benefitted from our solution, and this is set to increase rapidly over the coming year.

As a start-up, how are you currently working with the NHS?

We’ve been lucky to be supported by both Newcastle Science City and the Academic Health Science Network for North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC).

We currently provide Casper to approximately 15% of all radiotherapy centres in the UK, including the entirety of Northern Ireland and Casper is currently managing nearly 20% of all radiotherapy referrals in the country.

What’s next for Cievert?

Cievert continues to grow and develop with new customers at Norfolk and Norwich University Trust as well as Derby Teaching Hospitals.

We are also developing our platform to tackle more complex pathways for chemotherapy, nuclear medicine and other areas where streamlining administrative processes can help improve the patient experience through safer, effective and timely care systems.

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Investors Dr Vijay Barathan and Dr Gareth King have seen it all in the boardroom. From a two-hour pitch that made little sense to ridiculous valuations and claims. They’ve witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly.