Ivan Beckley is the CEO of Suvera and one of its co-founders. He has a medical degree from University College London and has been a clinical entrepreneur at UK’s National Health Service since 2017. Ivan completed internships at companies including DeepMind, AdaHealth and Outcomes Based Healthcare. Suvera secured a pre-seed investment fromCalm/Storm as well as Ascension Ventures in addition to a grant from UCLEntrepreneurs
For many patients, treatment only begins after their visit to the doctor. Suvera seeks to improve the way GPs handle follow-up appointments through an app and artificial intelligence. Its co-founder Ivan Beckley explains how the company tackles one of the most severe burdens on healthcare systems today.
Ivan‘s story starts with a realization. If the healthcare system is our land, then it’s slowly eroding away. If we do nothing, things are just going to get worse. We cannot remain in the same place. We need to find somewhere else to shift the system towards. We need to build our boats and set sail, even if we have no idea what is out there. It is a vast ocean, of course, and it is not possible to fix all its problems at the same time. So where to begin? Where to navigate to?
Ivan studied medicine in London and decided against a typical career. He interned at startups which were founded by doctors who took matters in their own hands, providing apps for health assessments or tools to measure health outcomes. While working with health-related artificial intelligence (AI), he had another realization: Often, the simplest technology can be the most impactful. “We were looking for the low hanging fruit in the system, where technology could help and be useful,” says Ivan.
“We were looking at where the low hanging fruit was in the system”
He started focussing on long-term care, which is among the biggest burdens on healthcare. Most people in the UK are registered with a GP practice, a first port of call for a huge population. There is a diagnosis, the screening, treatment – and follow-up visits. That sounds straight-forward but it is still being handled as if it was a complex process. Doctors who reach their maximum capacity for appointments struggle to see patients with long-term conditions for regular check-ups. Even if regular follow-ups are possible, there is hardly enough time to make the most out of it. Ivan found the problem he wanted to tackle and believed there was a rather simple way to fix it. “You don‘t need to come. So, we looked at other solutions for it,” says Ivan.
He founded Suvera in 2019 together with Will Gao, who is responsible for the product; Diana Kan Lee, who oversees the tech side of things as CTO; and head of design, Ryzard Akita. Their service allows patients to have virtual follow-up appointments with GPs through an app on their phones, specializing in monitoring blood pressure remotely to begin with. Suvera works with UK’s NHS and uses AI to improve the interaction between GPs and their patients.
“If you simultaneously improve the lives of patients and those of clinical teams, you have a winning company”
Suvera creates an environment where doctors follow patient needs, and not the other way around (which is still a standard in healthcare today). But to succeed, any solution needs to create a win-win for both the patient and the healthcare professional. “Our aim is to improve the lives of patients and those of clinical teams. If you achieve that, you have a winning company,” says Ivan.
“You go out to sea and battle whatever comes your way. You just keep going”
Doctors tend to be late adopters when it comes to technology. The pandemic forced many to open their minds about what is possible in terms of interacting with patients remotely, and to look at what’s not possible yet with existing technology. Ivan also experienced more interest in how Suvera enables treatment without the need for patients to be physically present. “That is very useful because when you are this early, you need partnerships to help push the product onto the stage where people want to use it across the board.”
That phase of exploration is rocky, and unexpected things happen, like a global health crisis. “You think you are onto something, but you know there are sharks in the water. Still, you go out to sea and battle whatever comes your way. You just keep going,” says Ivan. “For me it felt like: someone should do this. Moving the needle forward.”