Five minutes with Helen Williams at Vitaccess
We had five minutes with Helen Williams, Director of Operations, at Vitaccess – a pioneering digital healthcare consultancy. We interviewed Vitacess at the end of 2017. In the last three years the company has had an amazing growth story – see our 2020 update below.
The company partnered with Melanoma UK to launch their first patient-centric app. Available to download for free, the app records patients’ real-time experiences and brings the melanoma community together to further knowledge and improve care. The app took social media by storm with patients queuing up to become “Melambassadors” and celebs, such as Piers Morgan, tweeting its launch to over six million followers!
Vitaccess has two main strands of work: MyRealWorldTM and consultancy work. MyRealWorldTM uses digital technology to create a real-world evidence platform to record patients’ experience of a particular illness and the treatments that can be undertaken. This can be developed into a bespoke mobile app that tracks a patient’s wellbeing and reduces the burden of illness that affects their daily lives. It can be used in any language, for any country, and gives real-time access to data.
The Melanoma Digital Registry app is available on iOS/Android and is an intuitive and personalised app that helps patients to keep everything related to their condition to hand. Helen Williams, Vitaccess’s Director of Operations (top right), says, “It’s great as users can track how they are feeling, access up-to-date treatment info, connect with people going through a similar experience and prepare for consultations with customised checklists for their doctor.”
She goes on to explain: “We co-create our apps with patients because we really want to produce something that they will want to use again and again.”
Vitaccess’s philanthropic business model means it has close partnerships with patient advocacy groups as well as specialist doctors and nurses, enabling patients’ voices to be heard and giving them an active role in improving care. The company is self-funded and reinvests profits from the consultancy side of the business to develop the digital platform.
Vitaccess was founded in 2014 by Dr Mark Larkin. He has a BA, MA and PhD from the University of Cambridge and lives near Geneva. The company has offices in Switzerland but is mainly based in Oxford at OCFI. This means the team is now fully immersed in Oxford’s science and tech network, giving them access to investors and a pool of talented people. Helen says: “Oxford is a melting pot for what Vitaccess is doing and we envisage OCFI and the city remaining our home for a while yet.”
In the last three years Vitaccess has a fantastic growth story since they moved into our innovation centre at OCFI. The team has expanded from four employees – picture above – to 30 in 2020. They have now launched five digital studies, including MyRealWord, MyThalLog, Melanoma Digital Registry and CMT and Me in 13 countries and 17 languages and have presented at 14 conferences around the world. Their founder Mark Larkin was named Founder of the Year at the 2018 BMW i UK Tech Founder Awards and the company listed in the Top 10 UK Tech Start-ups at Tech Nation Rising Starts final in 2019. And, what’s more, they’ve donated £12,000 to charity – mainly to Melanoma UK. Another example of a successful and fast-growing company based in one of the Trust’s innovation centres. Happy third birthday, Vitaccess! We wish you the best of luck for the next three years!
For more information, go to: www.vitaccess.com