As part of our Tech For Good series we had a chat with Dave Bould, Technical Leadership and Architecture at Mayden. Mayden designs, build and support insightful cloud based systems for healthcare services in the UK and abroad.
The purpose of the Tech For Good series of interviews is to create a platform that showcases and champions companies, products and technologists who are using technology as a force for positive change in the world.
Dave: Hello! My name is Dave! I’m on the software team at Mayden. Mayden is a health tech company. Our product iaptus is a patient management system that supports psychological therapy services in the UK and abroad to deliver care for those with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Healthcare is often left behind when it comes to leveraging the latest technology. It’s an exciting challenge bringing the advantages of the advancements of web technologies to a sector that often doesn’t get to make use of them. Knowing that the work we do every day has a positive impact on the experience of patients, and the clinicians working in the NHS is incredibly rewarding. Mayden is unique in that we have moved away from traditional people hierarchy in how we work. We have a team of directors and that’s it, no other managers. We are self organising, and we work together to move our product forward in the best way for our customers. We have 35 developers who organise themselves into several sub teams and we work closely with our team of product owners who prioritise and prepare work for our sprints. Nobody is in charge in the day to day, we all pitch in together to solve problems, and everyone’s voice equally as important.
Dave: Mayden was started by our founding director Chris May in 2000 as a healthcare analytics consultancy. In 2008, he was approached by a clinician to build software to support a new government initiative to make psychological therapies more accessible. This was named the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. Other IAPT services showed interest in the product, and we quickly added more and more customers. When I joined the company in 2010, I was the eighth member of staff. Since then we’ve gone from being a small startup to an organisation that employs over 120 people.
Iaptus is also used in Australia, to support a similar programme to IAPT that was created by world renowned charity Beyond Blue. Other clinical services outside of psychological therapies are also now seeing the benefits of iaptus, and we are now beginning to support other services such as diabetes remission and weight management.
Dave: When the global covid pandemic kicked off in 2020, we were immediately faced with the challenge of supporting our customers in a completely different way, overnight. Our current product roadmap was set aside and we instead looked at ways in which technology could help patients continue to see therapists in a time when people needed mental health support more than ever. In record time, we embedded video calling into our application. As our customers are healthcare services, for security reasons they were unable to use the standard video conferencing apps, so giving the option to video call within our secure application, meant that patients could continue with their appointments from home.
More recently we’ve been looking at giving patients more control of their own care. We all take for granted now the ability to bank, shop, and buy and use tickets for public transport on our phones, wherever we are, but healthcare is still far behind. Our customers now have the option of allowing their patients to manage their own appointments online. This is a significant development as not only does this reduce admin time for services and give patients more control of their care, but research shows that it also lowers the rate of non attended appointments. Deploying new technology into healthcare services has challenges, but when you are working in such an important industry, it’s so important because the impact it can have for services, for patients and for society generally is huge.
Dave: Tech professionals are in high demand, so we look for roles that really stand out. When choosing somewhere to work, it starts to look like every offering is the same. Benefits don’t vary that much from one company to the next, salary is pretty standard across the board. If you know you’re going to be happy and comfortable wherever you work, you start to look for a role that really stands out, where you can make a difference. I count myself very lucky to be working in tech. A job that I enjoy, where I’m comfortable, yet challenged, where my skill set is in high demand. I can afford to be picky about where I work, and I imagine most people would rather be doing something that helps others over working for an industry that does the opposite. Once you’re comfortable in a stable career, dropped your ego if you have one, and understand your profession, you look for a greater purpose.
In nearly every interview we’ve had at Mayden, candidates mention working in healthcare tech an attractive benefit. Knowing that what you’re working on is actually going to be helping people is rewarding in itself.
Dave: Our target audience is varied, ranging from the end users of our system, through to the patient being treated, and the people buying our system (which are typically different to our end users). We’re not just building a system for our core users (therapists and admin staff). The purchasers of our software have different requirements to our core users, and as we’re starting to add features for patients to use, their requirements are different again.
We recognise that because of our diverse audience, there is a difference in levels of technical literacy, so we invest a lot of time in making sure the system is as user friendly as possible. We need to hold all of these things in balance. Often, when healthcare software isn’t user friendly it’s because focus has been on making the software as appealing as possible to the purchasers, not the users. This means that core users and patients inevitably lose out. The key to our success has been filling that gap. We have a great relationship with our customers and users, and see feedback from all parties as critical to the ongoing development of our system.