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Leaders in Health-Tech: Jakevir Shoker

 

For this article, the MTF content team decided to conduct an interview with the MTF National Director to gain an understanding of his insights in MedTech, and provide useful information about the direction of healthcare integrated technology and ways that you can get involved in this field. We hope you enjoy!


Profile picture of a man with glasses smiling
Jakevir Shoker, MTF National Director

Q: Tell US about yourself!


A: I’m Jakevir, serving as National Director for the MedTech Foundation (MTF). I’m a final year Leicester Medical Student, with an intercalated master’s in medical research. I’ve presented about innovation training in higher education at the Future Surgery Show and Med-Tech World Summit 2022. I’ve interned with the AI team at EPR start-up Patients Know Best. Winning the ‘General Medical Council’ and ‘Medical Schools Council’ Joint Student Professionalism Competition 2022 on safe social media use, saw the team later invited to present this at a Faculty of Clinical Informatics webinar. I’ve contributed to numerous Medical Education technology-enhanced learning projects involving VR, mobile app escape rooms and create your own adventure games presented at ASME (association for study of medical education) and AMEE (Association for Health Professions Education) conferences. I’m interested in MedTech innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly in AI, gamification, and education. In my spare time, I code in python and C# (in Unity).


Q: What is your involvement with MTF?


A: My involvement with MTF started in January 2020 by finishing 2nd in Leicester MedTech’s inaugural Innovation Programme. My involvement as a Spoke member saw an invitation to the National MTF’s COVID-19 Hackathon. While my team didn’t progress, it was a great experience and networking opportunity (I met former National Programme Director Tim here) which left me wanting more! Upon joining a post-event Facebook group, the inaugural national committee applications were advertised. I applied and was appointed as National Webmaster in August 2020. 


My tenure gave me a broad range of opportunities outside of the medical school curriculum, culminating in mentoring at a hackathon with Health Education England and organising a Hackathon with InciSioN UK. The executive committee also served as a source of inspiration and mentors for me. I was keen to continue growing and learning more so I reapplied; I was offered the bespoke role of Projects Director. I also became Leicester Spoke Chair and IP lead. Additionally, I assisted the Hackathon as the Subteam IT Officer. The diversity of these MTF roles culminated in my appointment as National Director in August 2022.


A man standing next to a screen
Jakevir representing MTF at Med-Tech World Malta, 2022

Q: How do you think technology will be integrated into healthcare going forward?


A: It's difficult to think how technology can’t impact healthcare! Aspects I’m most excited by are:

  • AI - AI models have already shown success in radiology, reading ECGs, histology for example. There are lots of administrative tasks within medicine that AI could help automate/speed up e.g. pulling patient information into referrals, so doctors need to fill out less info. With the rise of generative AI, there are questions raised about their diagnostic capabilities, but for now I think they serve more as an adjunct rather than replacement.

  • Electronic Patient Records (EPRs) - AI requires extensive databases of cleared data. At the moment, the NHS’s data is fragmented and in silos. Additionally, it's not even all electronic, which should soon hopefully change. Their call for a federated data platform hopes to build connections between these silos. This interoperability of different EPRs, rather than the use of a single national EPR, is their key strategy going forward.

  • Smart home devices - wearables (e.g. smart watches) and home devices/sensors can provide data points much more frequently and over longer time periods - providing a much richer data source. A simplified version of this is the increasing trend of home BP monitoring (e.g. Philips), which used to be only done at GPs. The start-up Howz goes further with home sensors to determine when patients get out of bed, and if they’ve had a fall at home.

  • Precision medicine - with increasing big data available, more personalised medical plans can be made. This could be made from their genetics (genomics), markers in their blood (metabolomics) and/or environmental factors.

  • Extended reality - this will be used for education (both clinical training and patient education/treatment) that can be done remotely, while still allowing an immersive environment as if you were in person. 

I think ultimately, one of the biggest benefits of this integration at a simple level will be the automation of administrative tasks, which will free up considerable time for medical professionals. Ultimately, I think it’ll change their role descriptions, as they’ll have to learn to embrace and work with these technologies.


Q: What do you believe are the biggest challenges currently faced by the medical technology industry, and how would you address them?


A: I think there are a number of challenges to address:

  • Culture to change/innovation - the NHS often lags behind with developing and particularly adopting innovative technologies. This is a complicated and multi-faceted problem so there’s no easy solution here. There are many contributing solutions to this overall problem, however:

  • Leadership commitment at all levels to a shared vision that supports innovation - this vision should have stakeholder input from front line and ground level staff especially. 

  • Greater provision of training and educational resources (like the MedTech Foundation’s work). There are protected pathways for research, but not one for innovation. Implementing the Integrated Innovation Training Pathway could be a start. Coupled with this is greater incentives for developing and adopting innovation.

  • Not having a problem driven approach - lots of start-ups will start with a technology or solution, and then fit this to a problem. You should start with the problem, get a deep understanding of this, then map what solutions and technologies are appropriate.

  • Not having clinician input into MedTech start-ups - a MedTech start-up without clinical input is just a tech start-up. The clinician input gives value into validating the problem and how feasible the solution would be, and how it could be adopted into the current healthcare landscape. The NHS is traditionally quite an opaque system to those outside it; this is why it's so important to have “someone on the inside”.

A man standing at a conference stall
Jakevir representing MTF at GASOC 2022

Q: What is your advice to healthcare professionals THINKING about getting involved in the world of MedTech?


A: I think there are a number of ways to get involved. Off the top of my head, these are the ones that come to mind:

  • Get involved with quality improvement work and academia, as there’s a lot of overlapping skills that can feed into business. For example, academia always starts with a background to assess what other literature exists in the field and so what the gap is. In business terms this is a competitor and even market analysis. Your academic research question is the business problem you solve. 

  • Try upskilling yourself by reading and taking (free courses). Learn more about the field more broadly; this includes networking with people on LinkedIn and at events. 

  • Try to get an internship with a start-up or offer them some clinical insights as a starting avenue for you to get involved. You’ll learn a lot more practically getting involved, then just theory-based learning.

  • Make sure you stay up to date with HealthTech. Currently, LinkedIn is a great resource, with HealthTech leaders frequently posting updates and educational resources.

(more resources have been posted at the end of this article!)


Thank you for the time Jakevir, your insight has been greatly appreciated and will hopefully give readers a good understanding of the pathway you took into the HealthTech field, and ways that they can follow in your footsteps.

 

For more information and resources suggested by Jakevir, please see the resource list below:

Forums and newsletters:

  • Digital Health Networks have lots of interest groups and forums and a great newsletter for NHS focused developments.


HealthTech podcasts:


Free Innovation Courses:


Books:

  • Deep Medicine by Eric Topol

  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

  • Zero to One by Peter Thiel


Conferences and Events:


Internship Sources:


Medical Elective Consulting Firms:

 

Author: Ali Bashari, MTF Content Creator

Editor: Ramat Abdulkadir, MTF National Technology Director




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