Curtains for healthcare inefficiency with Draper and Dash
Draper and Dash offers off-the-shelf analytics modules for healthcare providers, helping them to optimise waiting times and bed capacity among other issues. Orlando Agrippa is the founder and chief executive of the company that has now worked with over 60 hospitals in the UK, USA and Australia.
Draper and Dash has three main offerings. The first is a platform that offers off-the-shelf analytics solutions with built-in algorithms.
Agrippa described it as connecting the “data vertebrae” in a hospital that enables all departments that a patient passes through - from admittance to discharge - to access easily the necessary data about them. “All we do is connect to their data and the solution comes to life and it is all on their premises or can be cloud-based. Think of it as [web development platform] Wix or [ecommerce platform] Shopify for healthcare analytics,” he said.
The second solution collects publicly-available data on healthcare onto one big data platform, allowing Draper and Dash to compare hospitals on everything from performance to finance to outcomes.
The third solution is a mobile analytics platform that lets doctors access analytics when they are on their feet and do not have immediate access to a computer.
Draper and Dash also has a team of data scientists and machine learning and AI experts who solely look at their clients’ data, identifying problems and trying to solve them with advanced technology. There is also an improvement team, populated with former healthcare professionals, that exists to ensure that they can support and streamline processes with a human touch.
"What excites me is how we can leverage the masses of data really to help you live better."
The analytics company worked with one hospital that was taking 70 minutes to assess patients once they had been admitted to the emergency department. After deploying analytics and working with the staff, that figure was brought down drastically to between 11 and 15 minutes. Agrippa added that, with the time saved, the hospital would be able to see 40,000 more people per year.
“I believe we’ve got the basis of a great business, one that can really add value. What excites me is how we can leverage the masses of data really to help you to live better and manage your condition in a more informed way,” said Agrippa.
Having analysed healthcare data since he was a teenager, Agrippa has built up a wealth of experience in the way hospitals handle patient information. He worked his way up from being a data scientist to a senior analyst, then performance director and head of BI, before becoming “the youngest associate director, period, back then” and finally a turnaround director.
"I can either continue to go from hospital to hospital, or I can figure out a way to use technology to scale it."
Over the years, he came to a few realisations, including firstly that he was really excited by analytics and thought it should be integrating with the healthcare business. Secondly, hospitals around the world all admit patients in four ways: GP referral, emergency department, hospital transfer, or entry through a rare disease pathway.
Thirdly, all hospitals need to capture the same data on their patients: name, date of birth, gender, primary diagnosis, secondary diagnosis. And fourthly, all hospitals have problems with quality, efficiency and waiting times.
He went to work in hospitals from Essex to Australia solving these problems, including a year working in Dundee, commuting weekly from City Airport in London. At the time, he remembered thinking: “I can either continue to go from hospital to hospital to help deal with these problems, because I’ve amassed these skills by luck, or I can figure out a way to use technology to scale it.”
So, on a napkin on the way back from Scotland, he started sketching analytics modules. He had made a bit of money over the years and in 2011 got together a group of developers and explained to them what they would be building. In 2013, they built their first suite of analytics solutions under a freemium model and wrote to every chief executive in the NHS asking if they would like to collaborate on solving the patient data problem. Twenty responded positively.
Agrippa and his team began to develop and improve the solution and, at the start of 2014, launched a paid version - in the first three months, they sold more than £700,000 in software.
Draper and Dash’s expansion to Australia and USA was serendipitous. “We had a number of expats in Australia reach out to say, 'this stuff is really cool. We want it'.” And that’s how they got our first eight customers in Australia. He said in the first year, the company did £1.2 million without a sales or delivery team.
Over in the US, the co-founder of a consultancy firm to customers of healthcare software company Epic, sold it and then decided that he liked what Draper and Dash were doing and got Agrippa his first stateside customers.
It is somewhat surprising that, despite the achievements and expertise of his company, Agrippa puts a lot of the success down to luck - from getting his first summer job in a mental health hospital through an acquaintance of his mother, to expanding overseas thanks to reputation and good will, to attracting the power board that he is working with. “A lot of it is luck. I’m not stupid, but I’m not that clever to engineer all of this,” he demurred.
"It's not the easiest market to get into but if we can't do it, well, I don't know who can."
Agrippa is backed by an experienced team. The chairman and lead investor is the founder of Classic FM. One of the executive advisors built a £120 million healthcare business and number of NHS CEOs are on the board. Therefore, he said Draper and Dash is more likely to succeed where others have failed.
“It’s not the easiest market to get into, lots of companies have tried and failed. But we believe if we can’t do it with the team we’ve had join us and the leaders we're having support us, well, I don’t know who can,” he said.
"If we were to sell in five years' time and I were to leave with £1, I'd be OK."
The five-year plan for Draper and Dash is to raise more capital as part of its growth strategy with the aim of being the dominant player that provides advanced data, insight and analytics-driven improvement solutions to hospitals and healthcare providers. Curiously, Agrippa isn’t driven by a desire to cash in, but rather by making lasting change in healthcare.
“If we were to sell in five years’ time and I were to leave with £1, I’d be OK. I wouldn’t be OK if in five years’ time we didn’t make a difference and our investors didn't leave with significant returns,” he said.