Global AF Awareness Week 20-26 November 2017

Our CEO’s Blog…

Whilst out on a long walk in Richmond Park, a close friend asked me why I’ve become so involved – some would say fixated – on building and deploying at scale the world’s best digital platform for prevention of AF related strokes.

The lovely thing about a long walk is it gives you time and space to examine exactly what it is that drives you. In the following few short paragraphs, I will share with you what I discovered and beware this might come across as my being in the psychiatrist’s couch!

Being in my very early 60’s and with many of my friends either already retired or thinking about retirement, I can honestly say I get out of bed every working day feeling very fortunate to be so driven and to be working with such a great team to address the huge waste and the catastrophic consequences of an AF related stroke. I have witnessed this first hand as my late Dad was in a wonderful nursing home for nearly six years. In that time we got to know a lovely lady whose husband had suffered a catastrophic AF related stroke. His mind was intact but he was almost completely paralysed and couldn’t talk or communicate hardly at all. His bodily needs had to be taken care of 24 hours a day and his family were constantly on alert.

In my world of work I have always been at my best and most creative when I am personally deeply engaged and believe in the ability of my team to solve very big problems. I won’t go into all my experiences but believe me there have been many over the years.

In this instance, coming up for four years ago, I found myself invited to meet Prof David Patterson and Dr Mark Leaning and their small team at Helicon Health. I’d come out of a lumbering giant IT systems company and knew a lot about big IT systems, but I yearned to get back to pioneering in a small company with a great team and a massive opportunity and vision.

Helicon ticked all those boxes.

According to the WHO 80% of AF related strokes are the result of a set of well understood modifiable risk factors and are preventable.

So my I trotted out that somewhat hackneyed misquote “If you can measure it, you can manage it” I also came up with a few observations about the market that in hindsight were rather well informed.

However – as I said above, I hugely admired the team and the vision and could quite clearly see what needed to be done. The rest as they say is history and possibly the subject of a future blog.

But in short – faced with 15 m strokes each year and the catastrophic consequences leading to a disaster of global proportions I felt let me at it! I really believed that with this talented team we could make a difference to so many peoples lives. We could do that using the very latest digital technologies and make it affordable by all with a phone or access to the web.

We are on that journey and I’m more convinced than ever we are doing the right thing and are already making a difference and that will only accelerate.