Our entrepreneurs: Mary Tondo

In our latest #OurEntrepreneurs profile we meet cohort 7 Clinical Entrepreneur Mary Tondo, Speech and Language Therapist.    

Tell us a bit about yourself 

I have over 23 years of progressive experience in the field of Speech and Language Therapy and Special and Inclusive Education.  My experience spans a wide range of cases, both paediatric and adult. I have served the NHS, as well as private and the third sector. 

Name: Mary Tondo, Cohort 7.

Occupation: Speech and Language Therapist.

Organisation: Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

I have trained Special Education teachers, MDT teams, support workers and families through seminar-workshops. At present, I also run a small private practice. With my research and development skills, I seek to improve evaluation, treatment, prevention, monitoring and counselling procedures in the field of Speech and Language Therapy.

Why did you apply to the programme and what are you looking forward to?

I found out about the programme from looking at opportunities within NHS Improvement and NHS England / Health Education England.          

I hope that the programme can support me with the early stages of my innovation, all the way to scaling up for use in the whole of the NHS and beyond.  I hope to learn commercial skills like applying for funding, networking, influencing, procurement, and project management as well as research and development, use of digital technologies, and leadership.

Tell us about your innovation  

My idea aims for equality amongst the learning disabilities, mental health, and autism populations. I’m passionate when it comes to addressing health inequalities and championing our most vulnerable patients. I feel compassion for them, especially as they are more at risk of developing aspiration pneumonia if and when their eating, drinking, and swallowing problems (dysphagia) are not treated or diagnosed in a timely manner.

My innovation aims to improve service delivery to individuals with dysphagia to make way for positive outcomes for our patients with the ultimate goal of saving lives and enhance quality of life.          

What motivates you? 

Making a difference to my patients’ and colleagues’ lives motivates me. Being innovative and pioneering as well, looking at service redesign to be more effective and efficient.

What are your ambitions for the next year?

By next year, I am aiming to collaborate with my local AHSN and receive awards and grants for product development. I hope to have contracts for pilot studies with innovative trusts and have had the first cohort of paying customers. I would also like to gather preliminary data to demonstrate the many positive outcomes from using my app.

Why do you think innovation is important in healthcare?

Innovation is important because the healthcare needs of the public change over time. With every generation, different priorities ensue in terms of what diseases take more toll on us. We also need to be innovative to keep up with technological advancements and deliver excellent care and treatments whilst simultaneously combatting climate change.        

How can we find out more?

Please visit my social media channels for more information.