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Liz Ashall-Payne, co-founder and CEO of ORCHA (Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications), a live resource for rated and reviewed medical and health care apps, believes that Sci-Tech Daresbury enjoys a community in which the company can grow and thrive.
After years of working in various health related roles, Liz started ORCHA with Tim Andrews in 2015, having noticed that while the uptake of Digital Health solutions is growing, many apps seemed either out of date, not data secure, clinically safe or meeting design standards, never mind reaching those most in need. Of the 365,000 available to download today only 15% pass even a basic evaluation.
In three years ORCHA has grown from an innovative health concept to its current position as the world leader in health and care app assessments, driving standards and helping NHS and care organisations across the world to capitalise on the power digital health apps have to offer. ORCHA is also part of the NHS Accelerator Programme and already works with 20 CCGs and NHS trusts in England.
Liz said: “Our core work is reviewing health apps and we do so more than anyone else globally. With thousands of apps available to download, it is more important than ever to have a rating system in place, to provide the public and medical professionals confidence in using these apps for healthcare.
“We were previously based in Liverpool so were well aware of Sci-Tech Daresbury and its excellent facilities and benefits for tenants. We grew at pace and so it made sense to move into this like-minded community that could serve our business ambitions more closely.”
Based at Vanguard House with an initial staff of five, ORCHA now employs 21 FTE roles and Liz hopes to double in size in 2019 and is looking for new space at Sci-Tech Daresbury. Liz even plans to open a subsidiary in Holland in response to Brexit concerns.
She said: “Our digital platform is multi-award-winning because it’s proven to improve the long-term outcomes of our patient population. Now, with digital health rapidly emerging as the major new frontier in healthcare delivery globally and being at the forefront of this fast moving and exhilarating environment, we need to grow further.
“We have grown quickly, but Sci-Tech Daresbury provides a community where they want to support you for your whole journey. It’s a fantastic location, extremely well-connected internally and externally and there is no doubt that, as we originally hoped it would, it’s helped us establish ourselves and thrive and will aid our expansion ambition.
“And it’s the location that is critical to our growth both in terms of who we can collaborate with here but also in drawing in talent. It’s really difficult finding talent in niche areas particularly in digital and everyone is fighting for the same people. But being located here means we can draw talent in from Liverpool, Cheshire and Manchester and from a number of different universities, which will help us grow our workforce which is absolutely vital in achieving our growth ambitions.”
For Liz and her team, Sci-Tech Daresbury has become much more than the place that they go to work: “It feels like being part of a big family”, she said. “I’m out at a lot of meetings, events and promoting ORCHA and when I return to the campus it feels like coming home. We’re so happy here we even use the campus canteen for team meetings!”