Edinburgh software start-up agrees partnership with NHS Lothian to support patient care

An Edinburgh-based software start-up has sealed a key deal with NHS Lothian that will see its tech rolled out across the Scottish health board.

Tailored Talks is a digital platform developed by Pogo Studio in tandem with NHS Lothian and Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland that will enable clinicians to get key information to patients and carers with a view to supporting the hospital to home transition.

The capital firm, founded in 2016, recently hired Samantha Bedford as commercial director to drive growth of the platform and Pogo’s digital healthcare unit in the UK and internationally.

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A former UK managing director of Match.com and head of e-commerce at Emap, Bedford brings two decades of digital experience including as head of online at Vodafone Ireland and, most recently, head of innovation at Clydesdale Bank owner Virgin Money.

Left to right: Neil Francis, Jack Francis, Samantha Bedford and Paul Reid of Pogo Studio. Picture: Stewart Attwood
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Pogo Studio chairman Neil Francis said: “We consider it something of a coup to get Samantha into the leadership team as we begin to demonstrate the potential for Tailored Talks, not only in the UK but also in terms of international healthcare markets.”

Tailored Talks, which is led by chief executive and founder Jack Francis, developed Tailored Talks alongside Professor Timothy Walsh, director of research and innovation at NHS Lothian, with Pogo completing a successful trial at the health board earlier this year.

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Walsh said: “Improving the quality of information provided to patients, especially the right information at the right time in their care, is an NHS priority and the key to high quality personalised medicine.

“We are excited to be working with Pogo Studio in a range of healthcare areas to share our clinicians’ knowledge and expertise to provide timely accessible information via the Tailored Talks digital platform. I believe this has major potential to improve patients’ experience, and helps clinicians provide the detailed information needed about treatment and care quickly and securely.”

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Bedford said: “In Tailored Talks, Jack and the team have developed a product with world-class potential, with the capability to be deployed across multiple segments and territories of the healthcare market. Our partnerships with health boards in Scotland are only the first step of what we fully expect to be an international sales strategy going forward.”

She added: “Having spent the last decade in financial services and fintech, I see similarities in how digital health is now beginning to really take off and it’s interesting to see Scotland beginning to make a name for itself with innovative products that can have real impact.”

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Pogo Studio embarked on its first external investment round during the first quarter, targeting angel syndicates, venture capitalist firms and social impact funds, and is being advised by Chiene + Tait.

Pogo grew its headcount last year and appointed Trickle founder and chief executive Paul Reid to its board in 2020. Clients include NHS Scotland, Sigma Mutual, which is one of North America’s largest shipping and port authority insurance groups, NatWest, Miller Homes and social enterprise Hey Girls.

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The firm’s digital health unit is the fastest-growing part of the business and the company expects it to account for around 70 per cent of revenues in 2022.

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