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An idea with heart: The story of Helicon Health

An idea with heart: The story of Helicon Health

10 December 2015 Written by By Professor David Patterson Cardiologist and Co-founder, Helicon Health

Helicon Health is one of 10 startups currently taking part in the final stages of MedTechSouthEast: our accelerator programme offering fast tracked access into the NHS. Helicon's Co-founder David Patterson is documenting his experience of the programme and the impact it has on his business. In this first instalment, David discusses the origins of their winning idea and how they got into shape during the Medtech design bootcamp.

What am I doing here? I thought as I looked at the pile of post-it notes and felt tip pens surrounding me in the bright and cheerful meeting room at the Design Council HQ in Islington. I'm a cardiologist at Whittington Health, not a designer. So how did I get here..?

Helicon Health

The answer lies in Helicon Health. A while ago my colleagues and I created a system of shared care for the community in North London. It would service patients with irregular heart rhythms and hopefully reduce their risk of stroke. We set up a web-based electronic health record and a decision support system. We have since been asked to help support interdisciplinary care teams who look after elderly people in their homes.

In order to roll our idea out across the NHS and beyond, my colleague Mark Leaning and I founded Helicon Health. Through Helicon, we have developed Helicon LiveLong to help these teams prevent or slow down the development of frailty in elderly people - allowing them to live at home longer and avoid unexpected hospital visits. 


One of my colleagues put me and Helicon LiveLong up for the Design Council MedTechSouthEast Award for "Promoting independent living through innovative technology". Our pitch, a mere two minutes in which we had to impart the value of our service and impress the panel, was a success and we were one of the lucky ones to win the award.

Design Bootcamp

So here we are. At the Design Council  for day one of our design bootcamp. We would now be working with experienced designers, in particular Design Associate Rowena Vestey, to learn how to apply design methods to our business strategy and plans for LiveLong. I'd no idea what to expect – was it about the look of our product? The brand? 

In fact it was about so much more. Tackling the issue of how to succinctly explain our service and pinpoint our target market was just the start - and that alone was no mean feat. Our service is socio-technical in nature and there are several very distinct audiences that we need to engage.

Getting to the essence of our offering and how to explain it is exactly what we need, and the gentle introduction of a design-led approach of how to bring it to market, well that was very comforting. A means to reconcile all, or at least some of the differing dimensions of our offering.

We're looking forward to the next stage of MedTechSouthEast.

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