Getting to Know You: Mike Sanders, CEO, Intouch with Health

Mike Sanders, CEO of Intouch with Health

Mike Sanders talks to us about how Intouch with Health helps NHS Trusts, hospitals and healthcare organisations

What do you currently do?

I am the CEO of Intouch with Health, a digital healthcare technology company based in Cirencester and operating across the UK and internationally.

Intouch with Health helps NHS Trusts, hospitals and healthcare organisations, both nationally and internationally, to deploy digital tools to manage the flow of patients around their outpatient departments more effectively. By helping hospitals take a digital approach to managing patient flow, we help them create a better patient experience, improved communication and information management, deliver cost reductions and achieve overall quality improvements.

We break down the patient journey into separate phases that in turn are managed using one of our digital modules to give hospital staff clear insight into the movements and location of a patient at any point during their visit as an outpatient, and we’ve developed our Electronic Outcomes module to ensure that hospital staff accurately record the result of each patient’s appointment to ensure the hospital trust is paid for the work it has carried out.

My role involves working closely with the board to define and deliver the company’s overall growth strategy, both nationally and internationally. Although some of the transformation projects we’ve delivered are in hospitals as far away as Australia, we are a relatively small team so I am regularly involved ‘on the ground’, working alongside my colleagues and our customers to manage projects from the design stage through to when the technology ‘goes live’ – and delivering ongoing support beyond.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

Our founders started the business in 1999 selling self check-in solutions to hospitals to help reduce check-in queues and alleviate pressure on receptionists. While we still offer that product, it’s only a small part of what has now become an end-to-end digital suite of solutions that enable hospitals to manage each patient’s journey from before they physically arrive at their appointment to the moment they leave.

What defines your way of doing business?

Upfront, open and honest. I work very closely with many senior NHS Trust stakeholders who appreciate a straight-talking approach to what Intouch can do for their organisation and why they should invest part of their limited budget into our products. If I’m not transparent about that, those relationships would struggle to get off the ground.

As a result of our collaborative approach, since the business was founded, we have built an extensive portfolio of senior NHS employees that have become product champions for Intouch, and will allow us to visit their hospital as a reference site, use their project for positive PR and marketing, or deliver keynote talks at our events.

We’re also very flexible as a business. We are accommodating of the fact that not every hospital has the same requirements, meaning we must design a solution that is bespoke to the requirements of the particular organisation we’re working with. It’s never a one-size-fits-all approach.

What do you admire?

The customers we work with. In the UK, the NHS is under constant strain and uncertainty when it comes to funding, yet the individuals we work with remain positive, driven and determined to improve the care and experience patients receive when they visit hospital. Our customers work with us because they want to make their organisation better, and the positivity and determination they display under pressured circumstances is admirable.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

Not necessarily. I believe that the decisions I’ve made on my business journey so far have been for the right reasons at the right time.

Intouch with Health continues to enjoy such rapid and successful growth that I haven’t had much time to reflect on what I might change; most of my time is spent thinking about what else we can do to grow while delivering the digital transformation projects we are renowned for.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Be determined and tenacious. In our industry, working alongside the NHS, it can take a long time to build relationships and open doors for new business opportunities as historically, the pace of change and adoption of new technology is quite slow. If you’re in it for a quick win, it’s probably not going to happen.