Our entrepreneurs: Aisling Higham

In our latest #OurEntrepreneurs profile we meet cohort 7 Clinical Entrepreneur Aisling Higham, Ophthalmology ST7 trainee.

Tell us a bit about yourself 

I’m an Ophthalmology ST7 trainee in Thames Valley Deanery and also the Medical Director at Ufonia. My role at Ufonia is to design and run the evidence generation strategy to show the safety and efficiency that our technology, ‘Dora’ brings to hospitals.

Name: Aisling Higham, Cohort 7.

Occupation: Ophthalmology ST7 trainee.

Organisation: Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.

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

A number of my colleagues have been on the CEP and I was keen to apply to the programme to take advantage of all the opportunities offered, particularly networking with other clinical entrepreneurs and healthcare leaders.

Tell us about your innovation  

We have designed ‘Dora’, a UKCA marked autonomous, voice-based, natural-language clinical assistant, who can have a consultation with patients over the telephone in a similar way to a human clinician. Whilst the solution involves advanced technology, patients don’t require any digital literacy to use it. They simply receive a telephone call, meaning it is highly accessible to all patient demographics.

Dora can conduct a wide range of routine medical conversations, in multiple languages, reducing the need for human professionals to undertake high-volume low-complexity work.

As an automated system, there is no limit to the number of patients that can use Dora. The technology is already having a great impact in the UK, releasing capacity from human staff, and I hope it will have a similar impact on a global scale and provide healthcare access to all.    

What motivates you? 

I love working with people who have a shared vision in transforming healthcare delivery. I enjoy exploring challenges and working in teams to find solutions to complex problems.

What are your ambitions for the next year?

I’m excited to see our first live deployment of Dora outside the UK and understand how this can improve patient care outside the NHS.

Why do you think innovation is important in healthcare?

There are increasing pressures on healthcare globally, with demand outstripping capacity. I believe that innovation, particularly automation and digital innovation can help meet the expanding demand for healthcare globally. With automation we will then be able to deliver healthcare at an unlimited scale, and this can perhaps allow us to move more towards a proactive rather than reactive care model and dramatically improve health outcomes.

How can we find out more?

Please visit www.ufonia.com for more information.