Meet the startup that wants to bring real-time smarts to the NHS

18 May, 2016

The UK’s National Health Service is nowhere near as data-savvy as it could be, but one company wants to change that by giving hospitals the ability to see just how efficient they really are.

Converging Data, founded by two Yorkshiremen, is harnessing a standard data format to track patients’ progress and identify where holdups are.

Co-founders Neil Murphy and Stuart Hirst met while working in the NHS. Their careers both happened to take them to Australia where they spotted the potential for using big data platform Splunk to build products for the financial services and healthcare industries. Thus Converging Data was born.

After expanding the Australian team based in Sydney from two to 20 people in the space of 18 months, Murphy is back in the North of England to build out a UK operation. With his eyes trained on NHS hospitals, he’s currently taking part in the Dotforge Health + Data accelerator in Leeds.

How it works

HL7 is a set of data standards used to send information about patient care between different computer systems. What Converging Data does is take all this information from the systems in a hospital and feeds them through Splunk to create dashboards that can be configured to display information that helps staff do their jobs better.

Converging Data graphic
How Converging Data explains what it does

So, for example, an accident and emergency ward could track things like how many people have been admitted, how many are likely to breach waiting time limits, and how many beds are available on inpatient wards.

“It’s data that already exists but we’re doing more with it,” says Murphy. Converging Data puts it all in one place and updates it in real-time. Hospital staff can also look back on historical data to spot trends and identify problems that might need solving.

If this talk of a startup processing sensitive healthcare data gets your privacy alarm bells ringing, Murphy is keen to point out that the data isn’t handled in the cloud – it stays on-site at healthcare facilities.

Murphy says that the company is in talks with a number of hospitals to discuss trials of the technology. It also plans to hire a UK team – after all, Sydney and Leeds are about as far apart as a company’s two offices could possibly be.

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