Building bridges to redefine the future of medical care

9 April 2024

Leading the way in life sciences, it’s now been 2 years since Sweden and the UK signed the Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the collaboration in life sciences. We spoke to one of the initiator companies, Doctrin, and the Swedish Office of Science and Innovation at Embassy of Sweden in UK to get an update. 

Established in Sweden in 2016, SCC member Doctrin is an online consultation and care navigation platform aiming to transform how and where care is delivered. It incorporates primary, specialty, and dental care services, allowing patients to consult with their healthcare provider online. CEO Anna-Karin Edstedt Bonamy explains, “We help patients not only to access their provider easily but also to ensure a seamless journey within their provider’s network, whether they require the expertise of an advanced nurse practitioner or multiple professions along their care journey.” 

Recognising the risk of fragmented care systems, Doctrin introduced chat-based primary care in late 2018, streamlining patient triage and consultation procedures. Anna-Karin describes the process: “Instead of calling your primary care service, you submit your case, answer a few questions, and chat with the triage nurse, who then decides whether you should receive self-care advice, meet with your doctor online, or be scheduled for an appointment.”

Later, the need to prioritise care for patients with chronic illnesses became apparent, leading Doctrin to provide healthcare providers with proactive patient engagement tools. Recent innovations include simplified communication with up to a thousand patients and easy information exchange across healthcare networks.

Eyeing the UK
In 2020, Doctrin expanded into the UK market – a part of their initial plan. Anna-Karin notes, “The UK are in the forefront when it comes to digitalising. However, since the market already existed, there were more competitors with, of course, more knowledge than us about the market dynamics and more local. But I think, what made it possible for us to be a trustworthy player was the fact that we recruited a UK Country Manager with lots of experience in the digital field and within the NHS system. As we say in Sweden; we weren’t “kusinen från landet” (the cousin from the countryside) anymore” Anna-Karin says and smiles.

Two leading countries signs historic agreement
The UK and Sweden are the two leading countries when it comes life sciences. In May, our two countries mark the 2-year anniversary of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding life sciences, signed in 2022, aimed at strengthening academic research and commercial collaboration. 

“The fact that the two countries have an agreement in place is a great advantage and strength for any kind of advancement for collaboration” says Marika Amartey, Science and Innovation Councellor at the Embassy of Sweden in UK and continues; “Since the signing of the MoU we have established a Working Group and Steering Group with permanent seats from both countries to ensure that the MoU works as a dynamic and evolving bilateral platform, supporting life sciences collaboration in different formats. The Working Group has proven to be an excellent breeding ground for dialogue and collaboration and among us we have an outstanding network on both national and local level.”

Marika sees the clear winnings from the MoU. In addition, the UK and Sweden signed a bilateral Strategic Partnership Agreement in October 2023, in which Science and Innovation are prioritised areas of collaboration. The agreement will enhance the MoU for life sciences, in particular supporting research exchanges on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and financial modelling pilots.

As one of the initiator companies of the MoU, Doctrin witnesses the impact of the agreement. For them, leading to partnerships and certifications, including becoming the first Swedish company certified under a Nordic UK initiative for digital health solutions, NordDEC. Doctrin’s involvement in the UK procurement systems also highlighted valuable lessons for Sweden’s digital industry, emphasising the importance of open competition and innovation-friendly regulations. 

Through various engagements within the MoU, Doctrin actively shares insights to promote cross-border collaboration and enhance digital healthcare solutions. CEO Anna-Karin emphasises the collaborative potential of the MoU. And although we still might be at the early stages of its implementation, she sees it as a key factor with potential of enabling exceptional developments in the future of medical care.

“We’re still in the early stages of the MoU period. By creating forums and arenas, we can strengthen partnerships and redefine the future of medical care.” Anna-Karin says and state that the MoU might not change the care system tomorrow, but in 10 years the agreement might be the key for exceptional developments.

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