A Scottish healthtech startup is aiming to revolutionise the way patient waiting lists are managed and improve the utilisation of operating theatre capacity in the NHS.

Infix, which is commencing a trial phase with NHS Lanarkshire, one of Scotland’s largest NHS health boards, was founded by last September by Dr Matthew Freer, a consultant anaesthetist, to “develop an intuitive software product that enables NHS staff to improve efficiencies in patient pathways”.

Data from Audit Scotland for 2018/2019 revealed that only 72 per cent of patient operations were completed within 12 weeks compared with the national target of 100 per cent. With the onset of Covid-19 and the increased demand on NHS resources, the 2020/2021 figures are expected to drop significantly.

Dr Matthew Freer, Founder and CEO of Infix, said: “Inconsistent manual processes being used in scheduling are a key factor in our under-utilised operating theatres. Not only will Infix be able to improve theatre capacity but the patient database tool will allow us to prioritise cancer and other urgent patients. This a vitally important to improve patient outcomes in our current climate.”

Infix has developed a cloud-based patient database tool optimised to tackle waiting list backlogs that have been exacerbated by Covid-19, and the company recently secured over £300,000 from private investors and Innovate UK grant funding to develop its product in a clinical environment. 

Dr Matthew Freer added: “The trial with NHS Lanarkshire enables us to demonstrate the efficacy of Infix, before rolling the product out across other health boards in Scotland. The progress we’re making on the product roadmap front has also led to engagement with NHS health authorities in England and other health organisations outside the UK. Our primary focus at the moment is NHS Lanarkshire and the other Scottish health boards but we’ve also got an eye on UK and international expansion.”

Donald Wilson, Director of Information and Digital at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We are excited to be working with Infix, who have developed an innovative digital service to improve the management of waiting lists, theatre scheduling and utilisation.  There is huge potential behind this to improve patient care. With a secure cloud-based product, we have been able to move quickly and feel fortunate to be working with Matthew and his team as they have a strong desire to improve patient outcomes through digital innovation.”

Since its recent investment round, Infix has appointed Forrit founder and CEO Peter Proud and Tracedata founder and CEO Sorcha Lorimer to its board. Dr Freer said: “Getting Peter and Sorcha’s industry expertise on board is a big coup for us and we look forward to them helping to guide us through our next phase of growth.”

Sorcha Lorimer, Infix non-executive director, added: “Matthew combines a strong passion for the NHS with an unwavering dedication to the kind of digital transformation that will enable clinicians to work much more efficiently and patients who will benefit the most from vastly improved productivity levels.  Data and patient ethics are front and centre of Infix’s innovative approach and, with a clinician-led team, the company is set to go from strength to strength.”

Peter Proud, Infix non-executive director, said: “Across the world and in every sector we are seeing the pandemic force companies move more rapidly to the cloud, and it also enables early stage startups like Infix to go global much quicker.”

Having already attracted a high level of investor interest, Infix expects to step up its engagement with angel and venture capital firms during the first half of 2021. Dr Freer said: “Infix is well placed to further a self-funded model, but we’re not ruling out the right type of external investment if we feel it help to accelerate our growth.”