Dr Bayju Thakar, Founder and CEO at Doctor Care Anywhere: A Fully Integrated Digital Healthcare Service

Doctor Care Anywhere is a UK-based digital healthcare company. We use a proprietary technology platform to join up primary care, diagnostics and secondary care across the patient journey.

We offer standalone virtual GP consultations, as well as a fully integrated digital healthcare service including video or phone consultations with a GP, diagnostic referrals and specialist diagnostic reviews across seven medical specialties. Patients are also provided with a single, secure electronic health record that they can access whenever they like, and wherever they are.

Not only does our platform provide patients with the ability to speak with a doctor at a time convenient to them, and from any location where the internet may be accessed (whether that’s at home, the office or on holiday), but it also considerably reduces the number of in-person consultations they have to attend, making the overall process of receiving care faster and simpler.

We have grown rapidly since we funded the business in 2013. Our services are currently available to over 2 million lives in the UK, and we are providing over 20,000 consultation a month. We provide services to more than 1,500 corporate and SME clients, which are accessed via our channel partner relationships, which include leading global companies such as AXA Health and HCA Healthcare UK.

We’re a team of over 200 GPs and specialists and over 180 non-clinical staff (including software engineers, product and proposition managers, marketeers, finance, operations and customer services) and growing!


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

DCA’s technology and services are built on a simple founding principle: to improve access to clinical care, ensure transparency around clinical practices, and as a result, deliver the best outcomes for patients. Specifically, we set up the business to address the fragmentation prevalent in traditional healthcare systems, which contributes to what we believe to be unnecessary interventions, increased costs and poor patient outcomes.

Not only does our platform provide patients with the ability to speak with a doctor at a time convenient to them, and from any location where the internet may be accessed (ie from the comfort of their own home), but it also considerably reduces the number of in-person consultations they have to attend, making the overall process of receiving care faster and easier.

When a patient begins their treatment pathway with DCA, they have a video or phone consultation with one of our GPs. During that digital consultation, if our GP decides that more information is needed to suggest a treatment option, they can refer the patient for diagnostic tests straight away. After the patient has had those tests a few days later, a specialist is able to review the results remotely, on the same day, and send their recommendation to the GP, who can then follow-up with the patient and agree a treatment plan.

At every point of the treatment pathway, the patient is provided with full access to their appointment notes through their Electronic Health Record, providing them with a clear understanding of their care plan, how it has been developed, and why it will result in the best outcome for them.  If a patient has a query about their plan, they can discuss it with their GP before any action is taken. And similarly, if one of our GPs decides that they would like a second specialist opinion on any test results, they can arrange that easily.

By joining up wellness, primary care, diagnostics, and secondary care, in this way, underpinned by a single electronic patient record, we can ensure that the patient feels informed and confident about any treatment being proposed, because they have been placed at the centre of their treatment pathway.

Moreover, it also fundamentally redefines the behavioural drivers of that treatment pathway, rewarding decision-making based on outcomes, rather than activity (ie the specialist is paid for reviewing the test results, and absolutely nothing else). This enables greater collaboration between healthcare professionals, transparency around clinical practices, better outcomes for patients, and ultimately, cost reductions in the supply chain through removing unnecessary referrals, repeat tests and interventions.

This vision for delivering the highest quality, integrated and affordable healthcare is one that we are looking to bring to new markets and deliver to patients across the globe as we continue to grow as a business.


What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

One of the main pieces of advice that I would give to an aspiring entrepreneur would be that you have to be resilient. This applies whether you’re starting a business or just thinking about doing so, because you have to know that you’re committed to your vision for the long haul.

In any industry with a lot of competition, your ideas are most vulnerable at the outset. Knowing why you want to enter a particular sector and being ready to put the work into making your ideas a reality, will prevent you from giving up your endeavour. When we founded Doctor Care Anywhere, we had a clear vision and knew that we were trying to create a service that benefits both patients and clinicians, and that always motivated us.

Another piece of advice that I would give to aspiring entrepreneurs would be to find the right mentor. Although you may have the vision and the drive to execute your ideas, you have only to gain from having someone by your side with experience to guide you through the practicalities of bringing your ideas to life. This needs to be someone that you trust, and that you can place full confidence in and rely on, as you take your business to new heights.

What can we hope to see from Doctor Care Anywhere in the future?

Innovation lies at the heart of everything we do at DCA. We are constantly looking for new ways to enhance and add to our services. We’re in the process presently of creating and developing a number of new services.

For example, we will shortly be launching a new mental health service to be led by GPs specifically trained to manage complex mental and physical conditions. This new service will seek to integrate a range of digital and in-person treatment options (including digital therapies and self-management tools).

Similarly, we are also developing Virtual Specialist Solutions that will enable referrals to be made directly to specialists – such as a cardiologist, orthopaedic surgeon, or gynaecologist – in advance of, or immediately after diagnostics, where they can then review and arrange additional tests where necessary in order to develop a patient’s care plan (replacing numerous in-person visits with potentially disjointed information flows).

We are also very excited about taking our services to new markets. We’ve recently launched in the Republic of Ireland, and are continuing to build our business development capabilities in order that we can successfully enter new markets, for example in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, over the next few years.

To fund this and more, I’m delighted to say that we’ve very recently listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, which is hugely exciting. Through this Initial Public Offering, we have raised approximately A$102.0 million (£55.7 million), the majority of which will be used to fund our ambitious growth plans.

This IPO is an important chapter in our company’s story, and we’re extremely humbled by the support we’ve received from investors. Their belief in our mission to improve healthcare systems has only further strengthened our desire to continue innovating and delivering for quality outcomes for patients and practitioners alike. The future is looking very bright indeed!