28. Vinehealth

Putting patients at the heart of its platform, Vinehealth is changing the healthcare sector with powerful data collection and an empathetic approach to cancer treatment.

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Founders: Rayna Patel, Georgina Kirby

Year founded: 2018
Website: vinehealth.ai

Cancer can be scary and confusing both for those living with the illness, and for their loved ones. Efforts to combat cancer have traditionally focused on episodic medical interventions such as chemo or radiotherapy. But – incredibly for an illness that will affect one-in-three of us – there is little data around how cancer patients experience their day-to-day care. 

This has a knock-on impact on patient quality of life, clinician work burdens, and the overall understanding by pharma companies as to how to improve patient outcomes. 

Vinehealth, led by founders Dr. Rayna Patel and Georgina Kirby, is setting out to address this mismatch. The platform provides innovative solutions to capture the continuous experience of patients battling cancer, and provide the support they need throughout. 

“As a doctor in the clinic, day after day, I saw patients unable to get the care they deserved due to resource constraints and the traditional way in which healthcare service provision is structured,” Rayna tells us.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that behaviours, lifestyles and daily decisions that patients are making about their health account for at least 50% of their outcomes from serious illnesses such as cancer.” 

It is becoming increasingly clear that behaviours, lifestyles and daily decisions that patients are making about their health account for at least 50% of their outcomes from serious illnesses such as cancer

Both Patel and her co-founder Kirby had experience of seeing loved ones go through the bewildering and complex process of cancer treatment. But, more rarely, they each understood the enormous potential of technology to support this problem. 

For patients, the all-in-one companion app helps them to effortlessly self-manage their condition. It lets them log their daily medication, mood or pain and discomfort levels, and it offers personalised resources tailored to the type of cancer they’re battling. It’s designed to benefit patients of all ages and backgrounds, thanks to an approachable emphasis on user experience, data privacy, and accessibility.

“Designing for accessibility means allowing people of all abilities to perceive, understand, and interact with the product,” Patel says. “This includes users with poor vision, limited hearing, cognitive and motor abilities, and low technical literacy. To make sure the Vinehealth app is accessible, we conduct extensive research to learn what issues are most important to address, and test prototypes with a wide selection of our users in various environments.”

The patient-centric approach is highly sensitive to the needs of users at an incredibly difficult time. However, the business also has a commercially-astute core of steel that will set it up for a hugely profitable future.

“On the commercial side, pharmaceutical companies find it impossible to collect the large-scale behavioural and quality of life data that is increasingly crucial to their drug development,” Patel says. 

To make sure the Vinehealth app is accessible, we conduct extensive research to learn what issues are most important to address

Huge regulatory changes over the past few years have made this even more challenging, but there is a vast commercial opportunity for a business that can handle customer data in an appropriate way, and make it available to pharmaceutical research powerhouses.

Vinehealth is already working with Royal Marsden, MacMillan and Cancer Research UK. It’s the only cancer-focused app that’s been chosen for rollout across the whole of the UK by NHS England, too.

By expanding outside of the UK, Vinehealth’s opportunity grows even further. In the next five years, it aims to generate the world's most extensive patient-reported dataset in oncology.

The business landed a huge £4.1m seed investment round in late 2021, to fuel its plans for growth in the US.  The business is already increasing its presence there, rapidly growing its footprint in the pharmaceutical industry.

However, the focus on patient support and positive outcomes for those struggling with cancer sets Vinehealth apart from so many businesses with their eyes on global expansion.

“Most drugs are developed only on survival data, and not on quality of life metrics,” Patel tells us. Vinehealth believes this situation isn’t good enough, and thanks to its user-friendly platform, patient-first mindset and savvy business strategy, we believe the business is well placed to shake up cancer care on a global scale.

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