Celebrating 75 years of the NHS

For the 75th anniversary of the NHS, we sat down with iPLATO’s founder and CEO, Tobias Alpsten, to discuss his personal and professional experience with the NHS over the years.

What was the first interaction you had with the NHS?

The first, and perhaps one of the most memorable interactions with the NHS was the birth of my eldest child. Although we encountered complications along the way I am grateful to say this experience was a positive one and my family were supported and cared for to the highest standard, making this moment a joyous one. This personal tie to the NHS sparked a lifelong passion to make healthcare accessible for all through supporting the NHS.

What inspired you to found iPLATO?

In the early 2000s, technology was evolving quickly. I had set up a consultancy and application developer to help other companies harness the use of these technological advancements. Having had personal interest in healthcare and positive interactions with the NHS over the years, I identified healthcare being a key sector that could utilise technology to simplify access to healthcare, for all.

What are some key highlights along the way for you?

In 2005, we launched the first patient facing pilot of iPLATO Patient Care Messaging integrated with EMIS. A more modern version exists now, but it remains to be the foundation of our services.

Another key moment for me was the establishment of iPLATO’s Population Health Service which combined communication tools and behavioral insights to improve uptake of cancer screening services. It has been a privilege to watch this service grow and produce groundbreaking outcomes. For example, our role in increasing cervical cancer screening, in partnership with NHS England and North of England CSU.  iPLATO’s ‘nudge’ to patients eligible for this service, increased screening by 6.3%, saving 706 lives.

Finally, becoming part of the Huma group in 2021 was pivotal for iPLATO. By combining expertise, iPLATO and Huma were able to create an ecosystem to enable proactive, predictive, and personalized care across primary and secondary care, all while supporting the NHS.

Do you have any hopes for the NHS in the next 75 years?

I have been grateful to have positive experiences with the NHS over the years, though I understand that unfortunately for some, this is not always the case. I hope the NHS will continue to grow and become more accessible for everyone, particularly those who tend to be less represented within the service. Our role as an innovation partner is to help the NHS predict and diagnose disease before symptoms occur and to support people though treatment and in managing their long term conditions. Ensuring digital adoption across primary and secondary care will result in better population health and a system that is more engaging and transforms healthy life expectancy for all.