Our entrepreneurs: Garikai Kungwengwe

In our latest #OurEntrepreneurs profile we meet cohort 7 Clinical Entrepreneur Garikai Kungwengwe, Plastic Surgery Themed CT1. 

Tell us a bit about yourself 

I am currently a Core Surgical Trainee (CT1) in Plastic Surgery with a keen interest in Healthcare Innovation and EdTech. Over the recent months, our team has been involved in the development of FlowSurg – A surgical patient flow monitoring application designed to optimize operating department efficiency and, ultimately, alleviate the current NHS surgical backlog crisis. This innovation will form the basis and focus for all of my learning and development needs during the course of the NHS Clinical Entrepreneurship Programme.

Furthermore, I am also the founder of ‘ThinkSmart CST’; an AI-generated audio-visual online learning resource for prospective surgical trainees. With over 150 active users, I am excited to see this initiative grow to provide a broad range of preparatory resources across a multitude of medical and surgical specialties.

Name: Garikai Kungwengwe, Cohort 7.

Occupation: Plastic Surgery Themed CT1.

Organisation: Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, London.

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

I discovered the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme through professional networks and healthcare innovation forums. The NHS CEP offers a wealth of resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities that I believe are invaluable to the growth and development of FlowSurg. I am looking forward to leveraging the wealth of industry expertise and mentorship within the programme to refine our solution and scale it effectively within the NHS framework.

Additionally, the NHS CEP offers a platform to engage with potential investors, paving the way for future funding opportunities. This is crucial for our innovation as it will help us sustain development, enhance features, and facilitate the wide-scale deployment of FlowSurg across NHS institutions.

Tell us about your innovation  

FlowSurg is a transformative application engineered to optimise operating department efficiency, with end-to-end visibility of the surgical patient journey for clinical and senior management teams. Born from extensive stakeholder research across London Hospitals, it addresses three crucial issues: insufficient patient flow visibility, delayed communication, and uncoordinated task management1.

Our innovation facilitates real-time patient tracking across multiple surgical departments, facilitates real-time communication, and offers oversight of time-critical tasks. We aim to shift the surgical department’s mindset from reactive to proactive efficiency management, utilising continuous data collection and analysis to drive actionable insights through Clinical, Operational, and Financial KPIs.

Impressively, FlowSurg has been recognised at multiple events and awarded over £10,000 in grants from respected institutions like the Royal Free Hospital, Amazon Web Services, PLASTA, and the London Business School’s HealthTech Challenge.

According to the most recent national data2, there have been roughly 80,000 last-minute cancellations of NHS Elective Surgery, with an estimated total lost value of £400,000,000 as a result3. Furthermore, over 2.3 million patients are currently still awaiting surgery, most for life-threatening and life-altering conditions4.

With FlowSurg, we aim to revolutionise the surgical patient pathway, making it more streamlined, efficient, and transparent. We hope to facilitate smoother patient transitions, enhance team collaboration, and proactively address bottlenecks. In doing so, our vision is to drastically reduce surgical delays and cancellations, enhance patient outcomes and satisfaction, and mitigate stress for clinical teams. Moreover, by delivering continuous, actionable data insights, we aim to empower healthcare institutions to make informed decisions, optimise resource allocation, and improve their overall performance. Ultimately, we strive to create an environment where quality patient care and operational efficiency coexist seamlessly.

What motivates you? 

Primarily, I am motivated by the desire to improve healthcare outcomes and enhance the patient experience. As a clinical professional, I have witnessed first-hand the bottlenecks and inefficiencies that can impede the delivery of optimal care. With FlowSurg, I see a tangible solution to these challenges and an opportunity to truly make a difference.

Moreover, I am driven by the potential of technology to transform healthcare. By creating solutions that streamline processes and promote real-time, data-driven decision-making, we can set a new standard for healthcare efficiency and quality. The validation from respected institutions through the awarded grants reinforces my conviction and fuels my motivation to push forward with our innovation.

What are your ambitions for the next year?

In the next year, we have several ambitions for FlowSurg. First, we aim to expand our pilot programme to additional NHS hospitals, gathering more comprehensive data on how our application influences workflow efficiency and patient outcomes. We want to refine our product based on this real-world feedback and make it an indispensable tool for surgical departments across the UK.

Secondly, we want to continue enhancing our product features, guided by the evolving needs of our users – clinicians, healthcare workers, and hospital administrators. This includes adding more sophisticated data analysis features to support informed decision-making and resource optimisation.

Finally, we aim to solidify partnerships with key stakeholders, whether they are investors, technology providers, or healthcare institutions. By forging these alliances, we hope to ensure the longevity of FlowSurg and its ability to contribute to improved healthcare delivery in the long run.

Why do you think innovation is important in healthcare?

As an NHS Clinical Entrepreneur, I firmly believe that clinical innovation is paramount. For patients, it brings improved outcomes and personalised care. For healthcare workers and clinicians, it enhances efficiency and job satisfaction, fostering a culture of continuous learning. Institutions reap benefits in service delivery, research capabilities, and financial viability. Finally, for the national economy, healthcare innovation boosts productivity, stimulates economic growth, and ensures sustainability. In essence, it’s not just about transforming healthcare today, it’s about catalysing a healthier, stronger tomorrow.

How can we find out more?

Please visit my social media channels for more information.