Head-to-head with Zeeshan Akhtar, CEO and Founder of Scout Health

We spoke to Zeeshan Akhtar, CEO and Founder of Scout Health, a brilliant new app that links you directly with a health advisor.

Scout Health is launching an app that as Zee says “puts a health advisor in your pocket.” It’s a simple idea that could have far reaching consequences in health prevention and relieve the pressure on our GP surgeries and hospitals. It works like this: you sign on to Scout Health, give them your basic information and a selfie to develop a profile and then you select the health team appropriate to you. It gives you access to a communications feed – a two-way system where you can contact a health professional and they can send you key information. It’s effectively a direct online link with a healthcare professional. How good is that? But Scout Health also stores your data so that they can track and monitor trends and give you access to diagnostics like simple blood tests when needed. Scout Health is the step that everyone should take before going to their GP.

Zee is a senior registrar with the OUH. He had one of those lightbulb moments when in a consultation with a patient. A 42-year old woman presented with abdominal pain. She was scanned and found to have ovarian cancer and tragically died a few weeks later. Zee realised that with correct monitoring this case could have been totally preventable. He tested his idea by renting an inflatable pod in the Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading and offered health assessments to passers-by. They were inundated. He quickly realised that the service couldn’t scale up if it was delivered face-to-face and that’s when he took the leap to digital.

At the moment, Zeeshan and his team of 10 and counting are delivering Scout Health via businesses like WeWork. Companies pay a subscription for their staff who get access to the health ecosystem as part of their benefits package. Staff win as they get help to stay healthy and employers win as they have a fit workforce. As Zee says, “About ninety five percent of people on our books have something we are actively helping with whether it be mental health issues like anxiety, depression or issues like high cholesterol, diabetes, anaemia and thyroid dysfunction”. Scout Health practitioners work with patients to overcome these issues and help them lead healthier lives.

The Scout team have big ideas: Zeeshan says he’d like to see the app go public. That’s good as it ties in with the Government’s ‘Prevention is better than Cure” vision, published by the new Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, in November 2018. It says that prevention will be at the heart of the NHS’s long-term plan and will use new approaches like predictive prevention, which will explore how digital technology can be used to offer individuals precise and targeted health advice.

Zeeshan’s biggest challenge is “convincing people that investment in long-term health is important.” But as Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England said, “Investing in prevention is the smartest thing we can do.”

As an alumni of the University of Oxford, Zeeshan won help from the Oxford Foundry accelerator programme LEV8, designed to support and nurture early-stage start-ups which is where The Trust first spotted them. Now that the programme has come to an end, Scout Health will be moving to space in our Oxford Centre for Innovation (OCFI) and then in April to our new innovation centre, Wood Centre for Innovation (WCFI), at Stansfeld Park in Headington. That makes Scout Health the third company to sign up to take space at WCFI. Zeeshan is looking forward to the move and being part of a community of like-minded businesses. We are pleased to have Scout Health under our roof!

You can find out more and pre-register for the Scout Health app (iOS only) through the website: www.scout-health.com