Jennie Smith recently joined Mtech Access as Director of our NHS Insight and Interaction team. In this interview, we learn about her career to date, her vision for the service and her experiences joining Mtech Access.
What led you to pursue a career in the healthcare sector?
Growing up, I was fortunate to have a grandmother who served as a district nurse during World War II. Her captivating stories of providing care amidst adversity left an indelible mark on my young mind. Her dedication, compassion, and resilience inspired me to explore the field of nursing and discover the profound impact I could have on individuals and communities.
At the age of 18, I embarked on nurse training and was immediately captivated by the technical side of healthcare. Witnessing the remarkable speed at which technology could aid in patient recovery, or even eliminate the need for in-person treatment, ignited a deep fascination within me. The transformative potential of technology in healthcare became a driving force behind my career aspirations.
Over the years, I worked my way up through various nursing roles, acquiring invaluable experience and expertise. However, it was during my transition into a commercial role outside the National Health Service (NHS) that I gained a fresh perspective. This opportunity provided me with a holistic view of healthcare. It allowed me to identify areas for improvement and challenge conventional practices.
Upon returning to the NHS, armed with my newfound insights, I delved into management roles focused on service re-design, transformation, and service management. Integrating commercial approaches into the NHS was no easy feat, but it allowed me to bridge the gap between traditional healthcare practices and innovative solutions. This experience reinforced the importance of aligning technology, efficiency, and patient care in a complex healthcare ecosystem.
A pivotal moment in my journey came when I had the chance to engage in pathway mapping with the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). This experience provided me with a unique commissioning and finance perspective, enabling me to comprehend the intricacies of healthcare delivery at a strategic level.
My desire to leverage technology for healthcare innovation led me to collaborate with O2. Here I played a key role in establishing healthcare communications and exploring the potential of telehealth. Despite being ahead of its time, my White Paper on utilising telehealth to support individuals in remote locations, such as the Outer Hebrides, became the foundation for my Masters in Business and Administration at the University of Leicester. This experience honed my analytical and strategic skills, solidifying my commitment to integrating technology and healthcare.
Most recently, I had the privilege of working with a groundbreaking start-up focused on providing technology to support primary care. My involvement spanned project management in GP surgeries, working directly with Healthcare Professionals at the forefront of patient care. This hands-on experience allowed me to bridge the gap between clinical needs and technological capabilities, resulting in the successful development of a registered medical device.
Each step of my career, from nursing to management, from telehealth to primary care technology, has enriched my understanding of the complex healthcare landscape. It is through these experiences that I continue to strive for innovation, combining the compassion inherited from my grandmother with the power of cutting-edge technology, all in the pursuit of delivering exceptional healthcare to those in need.
What motivated you to join Mtech Access?
One of the primary reasons I was keen to join Mtech Access is their increasing collaboration with the NHS. I am now actively involved in developing a proposition tailored specifically for the NHS. This presents an incredible opportunity for me to contribute my skills and expertise in improving patient pathways within the healthcare system.
Patient pathways play a crucial role in delivering effective and efficient healthcare services. By joining Mtech Access, I am confident that I can make a significant difference in optimising these pathways. Leveraging my experience in the digital health sector, I am eager to work alongside the team at Mtech Access to develop innovative solutions that enhance patient experiences, streamline care delivery, and drive positive outcomes.
During the interview process, I had the opportunity to interact with Phil Richardson (Chair & Chief Innovation officer), David Niziol (MD & Founder), and Adam Brown (Director – Market Access), and it was evident that they possess a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the healthcare industry. Their passion for making a difference in the NHS resonated with me, and I was inspired by their vision for the future. It became clear that working with this talented team would provide me with an exceptional learning environment, enabling me to further develop my skills while contributing to meaningful projects.
What stood out to me during the interview was the genuine sense of collaboration and openness demonstrated by the team at Mtech Access. The interview was not merely a one-sided evaluation but a conversation focused on our shared goals and what we could achieve together. This collaborative culture is something I greatly value and believe it fosters creativity, innovation, and the ability to deliver tangible results.
What are you most excited about?
In today's rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, the need for collaboration and knowledge sharing between the NHS and the industry has never been greater. The flow of information tends to be one-sided, with the industry benefiting from insights gained within the NHS. However, there is a significant gap where the NHS lacks awareness of the advancements and innovations happening in the industry. This is where my excitement lies – in being at the forefront of closing this gap and revolutionising the way the NHS and industry work together.
My mission is to empower the NHS by equipping it with the knowledge and expertise it needs to thrive in an ever-changing healthcare environment. I am driven by a desire to bring about positive change and create a mutually beneficial relationship between the NHS and industry.
At the core of my approach is a commitment to getting under the bonnet of key challenges faced by the NHS. I believe that understanding these challenges from an NHS perspective is crucial to finding effective solutions. By immersing ourselves in the intricacies of the NHS, we can gain invaluable insights that inform this approach and enable us to provide tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of the healthcare system.
I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. As we forge stronger connections between the NHS and industry, we anticipate groundbreaking advancements, transformative initiatives, and improved healthcare outcomes. Together, we can break down the barriers, champion innovation, and pave the way for a more integrated and collaborative healthcare ecosystem.
What have you been doing in your first few weeks with Mtech Access?
In the first few weeks at Mtech Access, I have found myself immersed in a whirlwind of activities, embracing new challenges, and forging meaningful connections within the pharmaceutical and healthcare landscape.
One of the focal points of my initial weeks was gaining a comprehensive understanding of the various facets of the NHS landscape. Mtech Access’ collaboration with Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) played a vital role in this endeavour. These newfound connections have allowed me to explore uncharted territories, offering insights into how Mtech Access’ solutions can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the NHS and other sectors.
Adapting to the demands of the healthcare industry is an ongoing process. During this period, I have been actively involved in examining how Mtech Access can mould and develop its solutions to effectively address the evolving challenges faced by the NHS, Industry and Medtech sectors. This forward-thinking approach demonstrates Mtech Access' commitment to staying ahead of the curve and ensuring the delivery of innovative solutions that drive positive change.
A highlight of my initial weeks at Mtech Access has been the open and constructive conversations I have had with existing Pharma and Medtech clients. The transparency and trust exhibited during these interactions have left a profound impact. The positive feedback received from clients underscores Mtech Access' exceptional reputation within the industry, a reputation I now take great pride in. Coming from a background in the NHS, this new-found awareness of Mtech Access' industry standing has solidified my confidence in the organisation's values and achievements.
What are your hopes and ambitions for the NHS Insight and Interaction service at Mtech Access?
The NHS Insight and Interaction service is currently in the midst of a dynamic business planning phase, aiming to capitalise on team knowledge and explore new horizons. With a strong focus on collaboration and innovation, the service aspires to further support the NHS, Pharma and Medtech in its mission to provide quality healthcare to all.
By encouraging open communication and cross-functional collaboration, the service can develop a comprehensive understanding of the healthcare landscape, enabling it to provide targeted support where it is most needed.
A critical component of the service's ambitions lies in working closely with the Mtech Access innovation team. By forging a strong partnership, the NHS Insight and Interaction service can identify areas where it can best contribute to supporting the NHS's goals. This collaboration opens doors to exploring new frontiers in healthcare, fostering the development and implementation of cutting-edge technologies, methodologies, and processes. By embracing innovation, the service can enhance its ability to drive positive change and positively impact patient care.
What truly sets us apart from other consultancies is our dedication to working hand-in-hand with the NHS, Pharma and Medtech clients. We go beyond providing mere recommendations; instead, we collaborate closely with project teams, ensuring they have the necessary support to implement and see through the changes required. This approach not only fosters a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the NHS but also helps keep the focus on achieving tangible and sustainable outcomes.
By bridging the divide between the NHS and industry, we strive to create a two-way flow of information, knowledge, and expertise. We aim to empower the NHS with industry insights, enabling it to leverage the latest advancements in healthcare technology, research, and best practices. Simultaneously, we facilitate the industry's understanding of the NHS's unique requirements, ensuring that innovative solutions are developed with the healthcare system's specific needs in mind.
Through this collaborative approach, we envision a future where the NHS and industry work synergistically, fostering innovation, improving patient care, and driving positive change. By creating a culture of knowledge sharing, we can unlock the full potential of both sectors, ultimately benefiting patients, healthcare providers, and society as a whole.
As the NHS Insight and Interaction service expands, grows and evolves both with regard to it’s internal team and Associates working in the NHS, its ambitions for the future remain high, striving to transform the way healthcare is delivered and experienced, ultimately benefiting patients and healthcare professionals alike.
What has most surprised you about Mtech Access?
One of the most surprising revelations about Mtech Access is the unparalleled reputation it holds within the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries. The company's reputation is exemplified by the significant number of clients who approach Mtech Access directly, solely based on recommendations. This speaks volumes about the trust and credibility that the company has built over time. The ability to attract clients through word-of-mouth signifies that Mtech Access consistently delivers exceptional results and exceeds expectations.
Across the entire organisation, Mtech Access showcases an extraordinary level of proficiency and competence. The service leads, in particular, stand out for their exceptional knowledge and hands-on approach. They possess a deep understanding of the industry's nuances and are consistently engaged at the coalface of their respective fields. The dedication and expertise exhibited by these individuals reflect Mtech Access' commitment to excellence and its ability to provide clients with unrivalled support and guidance.
The inclusive and collaborative nature of Mtech Access is not limited to policies on paper; it permeates every interaction within the organisation. Employees at all levels actively contribute to a culture of collaboration, where ideas are openly shared and respected. This collaborative approach creates an environment that nurtures innovation and teamwork, enabling Mtech Access to consistently deliver exceptional results. The company's dedication to fostering collaboration not only benefits its employees but also translates into better outcomes for clients.
If you could swap your expertise and role with a colleague from another team, who would you swap with?
If I were to swap my expertise and role with a colleague from another team, I would eagerly choose Clare Foy, the inspiring leader of our global market access team. Clare's profound knowledge of global healthcare and her ability to drive change at a massive scale fascinates me.
In swapping roles with Clare, it would be fantastic to gain a deeper understanding of global healthcare dynamics, contribute to the well-being of individuals across the world, and foster a lasting impact on the future of healthcare.
When you are not at work, what do you like to do?
I have a daughter who has just started her GCSE years, so she keeps me pretty busy. I also have a 2 year old cockerpoo named Willow, who is still in her loopy phase and demands a lot of attention.
Away from home, I am also a volunteer pitlane marshal for the British Superbikes, World Superbikes and MotoGP, travelling to many circuits across the UK to keep the sport alive and the riders safe.
If you’d like to hear Jennie expand on some of these topics further, register now for our June webinar. Jennie will be joining Phil Richardson (Chair & Chief Innovation Officer) for an in-depth exploration of how industry and the NHS can learn from each other in key areas such as commercialisation, service design, partnership and innovation.
If you are interested in joining our team at Mtech Access, please visit our careers page for details of our current vacancies.