My PhD

Becoming a Digital Health Unicorn : A path from Hacker to Academic

A chasm exists between those with the technical expertise to build complex technology systems and those on the frontline of healthcare who understand the problems that need fixing and could benefit from new technology. Do you do your job thinking “if only there was some way to get technology to do this, my job would be so much easier”? Or do you have an amazing idea, but not know how to get started?

I was exactly in that position, I could see problems and solutions everyday, but was not sure how to get from where I was, a full-time General Practitioner, to a tech-savvy, Digital Health Unicorn, with real skills to build ideas and communicate across the chasm to experts in Computer Science. I want to share my story with those who may be in a similar position, who have solutions but don’t know how to start. Who are hacking away at answers, but feel that they need to know what to do next.

Let me share my journey from spare-time Hacker, to full-time Digital Health specialist.

In this series of posts I will describe how much of the new technologies in Health felt that they were designed away from the frontline of healthcare, how they were solving the wrong problems and making my job harder, not easier. There seemed to be no voice challenging this shift, so felt it was my chance to change this. It remains a problem still, if you feel the same way about this, comment below. Have an idea? reach out.

My pathway was unorthodox and I learnt many of the pitfalls along the way. I will share many of the things to avoid, when gathering the essential knowledge you need to communicate your work-problems and expertise to those in who are experts in digital technologies. No technological knowledge required to follow along, you are already an expert in your area; the only prerequisite is a passion to want to change what you do for the better. If this sounds like you, you will love this series.

So where am I now? I’m a GP Academic Training Fellow. This basically means my week consists of working as a GP, being a PhD student and teaching at Lancaster University. It is an awesome blend of work and getting here has required luck and skill, but I hope some of the things I have done will help others.

In the world of Marvel and DC, everyone has a story. If you want to read my origin story, read on. However, if you are looking for what’s new in Digital Health or my other projects this is probably what you are looking for.