Raj Purewal from TRUSTECH on the changing world of healthcare consulting

14 December 2017 Consultancy.uk

Established over fifteen years ago as one of the first NHS innovation hubs, TRUSTECH today is one of UK’s larger specialised healthcare and NHS consultancies. In discussion with Consultancy.uk, Raj Purewal, business development and partnerships director at TRUSTECH, talks about the ever changing world of healthcare consulting and how the consulting firm with offices in Manchester, Liverpool and Daresbury is adding value to the sector.

Can you briefly introduce yourself?

I am a professional, with over 29 years of selling experience across: Pharmaceutical, IT and Managed Services Solutions to the Public (B2G) and Commercial (B2B) Sectors, where I have worked for organisations such as; Merck, Rank Xerox, Lexmark (IBM NewCo / IBM Alliance), Allscripts (Oasis Medical Solutions), Open Text, GHX, Ideagen, arvato and TRUSTECH.

At Lexmark, I was the Health Sector Sales Director responsible for the multi-million NHS-PASA managed services contract, and the £20 million per annum National Programme for IT. I have delivered new revenue for vendors of healthcare IT solutions and services covering EDRM, PAS, EPR, Workflow, BPO, ECM, EIM, BI, P2P and Supply Chain.

What is key to the success of the TRUSTECH model, and what differentiates you from other healthcare consultancies?

TRUSTECH is a company originally created by the NHS, and is still hosted by one of its biggest trusts, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. Our strong connections to the NHS give us in-depth and, crucially, up to date insight into how the institution works and how it is planning to change. With this insight, our clients can trust us to give the best possible advice on how to work with the NHS.Raj Purewal - TrustechOn the flip side, this close relationship to the NHS also allows us to understand the needs and challenges of every trust and clinician we work with. With this understanding, we can help them collaborate effectively and efficiently with the commercial sector.

Good business decisions and smart management have allowed us to remain a successful and forward thinking company. After national funding ended in 2012, many of the other innovation hubs altered course and became private companies. TRUSTECH has been able to remain as the intermediary for the NHS and the commercial world by establishing a membership model for our trusts and by developing effective innovation support services, such as the Innovation Factor.

Is there a plan for TRUSTECH to go global?

We do work with associates outside the UK on some of our projects. The GraftBolt ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tibial fixation device is currently licenced and being sold by the American company Arthrex, and we produce Innov-age magazine for Edwards Healthcare, a care provider with elder care facilities in China.

Currently, we are focused on expanding our client base on a national level, bringing our services first to the trusts in the North West and then to the rest of the UK. Our purpose is to continue as the NHS Innovation Experts. However, health innovations are needed in every corner of the world, and with a history of successful international projects and the success of our services in the UK, there is no reason we would not bring the TRUSTECH model to international clients in the future.

TRUSTECH started in 2001, what changes have you witnessed in healthcare innovation over the years?

As previously mentioned, the national funding for us and the other innovation hubs ended in 2012, and since then the NHS has experienced numerous financial challenges. Whilst promoting innovations in the long term can generate real financial benefits, it can be difficult for NHS organisations to find the budget for a comprehensive innovation service. Despite these difficulties however, the NHS has always held innovation as an essential part of improvement. They even included the acceleration of health innovation as one of their key methods for change in the Five Year Forward Year.

Healthcare innovation is an expanding field. What do you see as the current challenges?

The NHS, and many of its trusts, are still facing financial difficulties, with more cuts and a rapidly growing elderly population. New innovations to reduce expenses, shorten wait times, and allow for more out of hospital care are desperately needed, however for a trust, spending any of their budget on services not directly linked to patient care can be difficult.

These financial pressures can slow down innovation in other ways. Innovations are born out creativity and imagination, two things that are hard to come by when staff are facing increased daily pressures. This is why services such as our Innovation Factor are so important, to help stimulate and drive new ideas from where we need them the most.

Quote Raj Purewal

What type of healthcare projects are you commonly involved in?

TRUSTECH provides innovation support in a number of different ways, primarily through either our NHS programs or as commercial and academic consultancy. For the NHS, we provide the Innovation Factor™ to help capture innovations from trusts’ staff, and bespoke support for innovative ideas. This support can be for example, advice on patent protection, help with funding applications or research and also relevant industry engagement. For academic and commercial clients, we help qualify, develop and test new technologies, and advise on how they can be adapted or adopted for use in the NHS.

The projects themselves range from, technologically inventive MedTech products such as Rapid Rhythm; a handheld wireless ECG device for diagnosis of cardiac conditions, to more unique products, such as Sage & Thyme; a training package to help staff communicate with persons in emotional distress.

What’s a typical day like in healthcare consulting?

With the range of projects TRUSTECH works on, what we do each day can range from planning and delivering Dragons’ Den style innovation events for Clinical Commissioning Groups, to advising an inventive nurse on how best to develop her Butterfly Pillow for infants. Yet despite the variety of projects we work on, the goal is always the same. Improve healthcare by capturing, supporting and developing innovations.

When it comes to working with the NHS, it’s all about working with hardworking and determined people who never have quite enough time on their hands. Healthcare professionals whether clinical or corporate, are all busy and dedicated people, and they all face a variety of different challenges, so it’s important that we work with them, to help bring the support they need.

What do you see as the emerging trends in healthcare innovation in 2018?

More and more, trusts are looking to utilise modern technology to streamline acute care and promote care at a local or community level. With an aging population, it may not always be viable to diagnose and treat every patient in hospital. Nor is it economically viable to continue doing what we have always done without adopting something new that could improve care and treatment, especially given the difficult financial position many trusts find themselves in. Portable diagnosis devices and online video medical consultations could allow patients to get the treatment they need without visiting a hospital. Whilst smartphone apps and new digital filing systems will help speed up administrative procedures within hospitals, cutting down wait times and letting clinicians spend more of their time with patients.

Related: The Dragons' Den enables innovation in healthcare and NHS market.


Robert Park on the launch of his consultancy RWG Enterprises

18 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Following a lengthy spell as a General Manager at an international materials corporation, Robert Park was keen to rediscover his inner entrepreneur. With the launch of his new consulting firm, RWG Enterprises, Park spoke with Consultancy.uk to outline his hopes for the future of the company, and how he believes his boutique will be able to challenge the market.

Robert Park commenced his career in retail, taking up a string of General Store Manager positions with companies – including Poundstretcher and The Gadget Shop – before making the 2005 move that would lead him to a 13-year stay with Morgan Advanced Materials. First taking up a role as Production Supervisor with the organisation, Park quickly worked his way to the upper echelons of the group. By 2013, he held the role of UK Operations Manager for the company’s UK ceramic core business, Certech UK, before seeing out his final four years at the firm as General Manager, leading the senior management team and strategic direction of the business.

Despite his success with the firm, however, Park found himself getting itchy feet. A change of career seemed increasingly appealing, and by February 2019, the time to take a new path had arrived.

Park explained: “I was losing the ability to to use the entrepreneurial flair that I had enjoyed in the past; the organisation was moving more towards a structured and common approach for doing things, and that made me feel restricted. I also really enjoy the troubleshooting, problem solving side of my role. However, having been in my last post for four years, the troubleshooting and firefighting was long behind me. I realised that I am really energised by tackling difficult issues or turning around things that are clearly struggling.”

New consulting firm RWG Enterprises launches

His criteria for a new career seemed to point conclusively in the direction of management consulting, and while his CV has no formal experience in the sector, Park believes his career to date has provided him with a wealth of transferable skills. During his time with Certech at Morgan Advanced Materials, he became a Senior Manager at the age of just 21, and went on to succeed in a harsh factory environment where six former candidates had previously failed to deliver results.

Later, he became the group’s youngest General Manager in its history, and was involved in the turnaround of numerous departments. He also developed vast experience dealing with a wide range of ‘people’ challenges, including re-organisation, talent development, talent acquisition and leadership development. Along the way, Park noted that he learned to deal with large, blue chip organisations such as Rolls Royce, securing major long-term contracts worth upwards of £25 million.

Now, he hopes to take that know-how and apply it to the diverse world of consulting work. Park elaborated: “I really want to be able to help organisations that feel that there is no hope or have lost faith in the business… Having been there myself I know how helpful it would have been to have someone to refer to in times of crisis… The firm will also focus on leadership development, as I spent a lot of time with the global graduate program during my corporate career… and I was really motivated to see these individuals grow and develop… helping them to find their own way through challenging situations.

New enterprise

Park’s new Derby-based consultancy, RWG Enterprises, will focus on five key operational fronts. As stated, leadership development and business rescue will be two of these areas, as well as manufacturing – where the firm will tackle challenges such as new product introduction. RWG will also offer financial advisory services and strategic business planning offerings.

While Park is understandably guarded about the firm’s initial engagements, he revealed that he has been “speaking at length to a well-known university and business school about providing mentoring and coaching support to students.” In the long-term, the aim is for RWG Enterprises to take on engagements from clients across the industrial spectrum. He added that as “the company is very embryonic”, it would be “foolish” to become too focused on target clients at this stage.

When asked how RWG Enterprises intends to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack, in an ever-more-crowded UK consulting sector, Park is undaunted by the task ahead. He stated, “I think the main differentiator is that we are small... I have operated at a very senior level for many years but I have enjoyed a very diverse background having worked in most functions within my last organisation. I also won’t take on any work or clients that I feel I cannot deliver value for, I am honest and ethical and am really motivated by seeing others become successful… The main thing I am focused on is 'can I add value' and 'can I help?'”