At Cinapsis, we are on a mission to tackle the NHS waiting list crisis and drive far-reaching improvements in patient care. With these goals in mind, we’ve built a suite of digital tools and services that streamline the referrals process from end to end.

Essentially, Cinapsis works to facilitate instant, barrier-free communication and information transfer between healthcare professionals at all levels. Using our intuitive app interface, Primary Care practitioners (including GPs, paramedics and community health workers) can obtain advice and support in selecting the most appropriate treatment pathway. This support might come from a conversation with a specialist, or from the system knowledge which is hardwired into the technology itself.

Democratizing access to knowledge and empowering clinicians in this way makes a real impact on the entire healthcare system. This is because patients are sent to the right place and the right person without delay, reducing unnecessary hospital attendances, cutting appointment wait times and lightening the burden on NHS services.

Since Cinapsis launched in 2019, thousands of doctors’ hours have been saved for the NHS. Pre-COVID, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust saw A&E referrals drop by 83% after partnering with Cinapsis, and since the coronavirus outbreak began, 32% of patients in Gloucestershire with COVID-19 have been cared for safely at home. On top of that, Cinapsis has made it possible for 70% of non-urgent referrals (such as dermatology) to be managed remotely.

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Owain Rhys Hughes: Before founding Cinapsis, I trained and worked as a surgeon in the NHS for 18 years. I found the career incredibly rewarding, but my first-hand experiences made me aware that the NHS patient referrals system is wholly unfit for purpose.

I saw patients waiting for unacceptable lengths of time to receive the right treatment, and I saw my colleagues struggling to manage their ever-increasing workload. There was so much expertise and knowledge collectively held by NHS doctors, but this just wasn’t flowing to the places where it was urgently needed. I decided to put my experience and expertise to good use, and began developing the technology which could help solve this problem.

Because I had worked within the system for so long, I had a really in-depth understanding of exactly what needed to change. I also knew what doctors really wanted, and which solutions would actually succeed at the grassroots level. My medical background still helps me every single day to make better decisions as Cinapsis CEO; having that body of knowledge behind has been truly invaluable as I’ve worked to scale the company and pursue new partnerships.

What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Owain Rhys Hughes: I think it’s essential that entrepreneurs are able to empathise with your customers and users. No product or service is ‘perfect’, the world is constantly and rapidly changing, and every customer is unique. This means that it’s so important to stay grounded, to listen to what your users are telling you, and to be prepared to constantly iterate and refine your offering.

At Cinapsis, we’ve invested in building a talented team with the capacity to work in close collaboration with every new Cinapsis partner. We tailor our technology and service package to speak to the exact pain points that the partner is experiencing, and we are always ready to act on their feedback and suggestions to improve our offering.

For the ambitious entrepreneur, taking an agile, reflexive approach not only ensures that your product is always the best it can be, but it also makes your partners and customers feel heard and valued. This is so important to the successful maintenance of long-standing client relationships, the sort of relationships which every entrepreneur should be seeking – and it also ensures that your product or service remains relevant as customers’ needs change.

I would also emphasise the importance of getting some ‘customer champions’ on board early on in your journey. These are users who have had really positive experiences with your product or service, and who are willing to work with you to encourage more customers on board. Respected customer champions are invaluable to lend credibility to, and build trust in, your offering.

What can we hope to see from Cinapsis in the future?

Owain Rhys Hughes: The innovation we’ve seen in the healthtech space this past year has been truly incredible – without a doubt this is a really exciting time to be growing a business in the sector. There’s so much that technology can do to transform how the NHS operates: improving efficiency, making better use of funding and clinicians’ time, and ultimately, improving care. Cinapsis is going to be playing a big part in delivering these improvements!

As well as continually working to refine our tech and to add more medical specialities to the platform, we are in the midst of two really exciting new Cinapsis roll-outs – in Norfolk and Waverly and in Liverpool. We’ll be focusing on growing these new networks in the coming months, whilst also setting our sites on further expansions and partnerships across the UK. Eventually, we want to see Cinapsis in the hands of every NHS staff member as the preferred communications tool.

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