Dag Larsson and Mr Ratz founded Doccla which now provides ‘virtual wards’ to NHS Trusts across the country, helping hundreds of patients recuperate at home and opening up plenty of hospital beds during the pandemic. In only four months the business has experienced three years’ worth of growth and secured a £2.4million investment. Mr Ratz explained exclusively to Express.co.uk how finding the right niche at the right moment fuelled this instant success.
Doccla enables patients to recover at home as soon as possible after a hospital stay, allowing more patients to be treated quickly and makes recovery more personal to each patient, ensuring a far better overall experience than lying in a ward surrounded by strangers for days on end.
The business has filled a large gap in the market and its financial success proves how valuable this new innovation is, despite its rather traumatic origins.
“The trauma of my unexpected heart attack in 2017 left me with a personal experience of the hospital stay and the lack of aftercare patients are left with. Although I had been deeply engaged with the European healthcare sector for over 15 years, up until that moment I had never been the patient. I soon came to realise what public care providers had been saying – how can we keep patients away from the hospital,” Mr Ratz explained.
“One insight I gained at the hospital was that you are monitored in a very outdated way. Once you leave the hospital, you have no protection at all – even though there are great technological tools available. This just needed to be done better to minimise readmissions and better the patient experience.
“The idea was to build a better future for hospital care and make technology the enabler – a virtual hospital. I was introduced to a fellow tech entrepreneur, Dag Larsson, who had first-hand experience of exceptional growth in a different industry and how a change in distribution can drive far-reaching disruption and make things better for the end-user.”
The pair, in essence, created a virtual hospital ward, using remote medical monitoring technology that would not be available to the public otherwise.
The technology allows health care practitioners to administer safe and effective care remotely, an innovation that was in desperate demand during the pandemic.
Mr Ratz continued: “Through Doccla, we are helping hospitals alleviate the pressure on resources, enabling the early discharge of patients while remaining under the care of clinicians.
“We are thrilled with the way our business is contributing to the future of the NHS. We began this journey in late 2019 with a research project with Northampton Clinical Commissioning Group and Northampton General Hospital NHS trust.
“Then the pandemic hit and we were catapulted forward in the most unexpected way. We were able to step up quickly to support hospitals overwhelmed by the first and second covid waves while running the research project in parallel.
“We were able to quickly scale virtual wards across Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and West Essex to serve overwhelmed hospitals as well as recovering Covid patients and chronic respiratory and heart patients.”
These quick adaptations have seen Doccla providing 20 different clinical pathways, offering a wide range of patients, all with different needs, with the correct quality care they deserve whilst helping the NHS and hospitals across the UK.
“Our virtual ward platform is helping alleviate the time pressures felt by NHS staff and frees up valuable clinical resources by enabling the early discharge of patients while remaining under the care of clinicians. Through our work we have already saved thousands of bed days for the NHS and achieved a 29 percent reduction in Emergency Admissions and a 20 percent reduction in A&E attendance.”
Doccla, although incredibly unique in its offerings, was not Mr Ratz’ first entrepreneurial adventure: “I’ve been an entrepreneur for nearly 20 years, primarily in the healthcare industry.
“It’s deeply rewarding to grow ‘something from nothing’ – turn an idea into an enterprise with passionate colleagues and happy clients. Being part of transforming healthcare through technology is a genuine privilege.”
He also added that it was not just his own team that endeavoured for the success of Doccla but also their clients in the NHS who happily embraced the service that they had never before experienced.
“We are all driven to make the NHS work better for all involved.
“We also are reliant on best-in-class medical technology. We are tech-agnostic as we want patients to be using the very best innovative medical technology that helps us get the valuable patient data clinicians need to see.”
The future appears bright for Doccla and its founders as the general population has a new appreciation for medical technology and practitioners following the peak of the pandemic.
“In the near future we know winter is going to be tough for the NHS and we will be there to provide support. This is why we are expanding clinical capacity to support NHS Trusts’ staffing rota, particularly out of hours. We are also looking at how Doccla can help hospitals combat long waiting lists, including in pre- and post-op procedures. Our services are dictated by the demands of NHS hospitals.
“We have also just closed a £2.4milion investment round which we will use to invest in our technology, including predictive analytics tools and integrations with the latest medical wearables and journal record systems. There is also the ambition to take our learning from the UK operation to fuel Doccla’s expansion into new European markets,” he concluded.