My Health Assistant: the entrepreneurs behind the Lancashire private healthcare app putting minds at ease
When health issues arise, it’s the uncertainty which can be most traumatic. It’s a scenario which Kate Wild, Stephanie Birchall, Kathryn Lang, and Mark Wild had all experienced, and so they decided to do something about it.
The result was My Health Assistant, a healthcare app which allows people to locate and access private healthcare services and treatment options, connecting everyday people concerned by long NHS waiting lists with a wide spectrum of quality-checked professionals, from psychotherapists and nutritionists to life coaches and physios.
“The four of us realised there’s Uber for transport, Match for dating, and Amazon for shopping, but I’d just spent days researching trying to get a diagnosis and specialist care for a family member during Covid,” explains Operations Director Kate. “All that time trawling through Google was just so time-consuming and daunting at a time when GPs were overrun.
“Not everyone can afford a private healthcare subscription, so people can use as-and-when for a diagnosis and even treatment,” adds Kate, 40, from Chorley where the app is based. “We’re not up against the NHS - the NHS is amazing and I have a lot of friends who work in it and they all work tremendously hard. We’re just trying to help make accessing healthcare easier and making working in healthcare a bit more attractive.”
Allowing people to search by locality, profile, and user reviews before then booking an appointment directly on the app, more than 200 healthcare professionals have joined the service for a small monthly fee since it was launched in March. As Kate says, their aim is to improve NHS waiting times by providing quick and easy privatised access to a wide range of affordable healthcare treatments.
“We put some surveys out to the general public and people working in the NHS and 82% of people said they’d spent a couple hundred pounds for a diagnosis while many healthcare professionals didn’t realise they could do private work to top up their salary,” Kate explains. “That’s where we come in: you book online, get paid, and we have automated invoices.
“The feedback so far has been great and we’ve had a lot of people downloading the app ready for when they need it,” she adds. “It’s all about helping people find healthcare without having to wait whilst also helping healthcare workers who may be struggling with bills - if we can help them put the central heating on or afford a holiday, that’s great.
Healthcare can be a deeply personal and all-encompassing facet of life - something Kate and her co-founders recognise. In fact, it’s what inspires them in the first place.
“Personally, I’m motivated by helping people and it’s always nice when they come back to you to say ‘we’ve had the assessment and we know what we’re dealing with now’,” says Kate. “That peace of mind is huge because, when something does arise and you can’t afford expensive monthly private healthcare packages, you can feel like you don’t know where to turn.
“We’re looking to offer people relief from that situation,” she adds. “Because it’s when you don’t know what’s going to happen that your mind starts racing.”