A Scottish start-up that has helped NHS Lothian save around £2 million by cutting hospital waiting lists has announced deals with two new health boards.

Glasgow-based Infix Support says NHS Highland and NHS Forth Valley will now be using its cloud-based software, which automates the process of booking hospital operations.

Infix Support chief executive Dr Matthew Freer, a consultant anaesthetist who has been working in the NHS for 11 years, said the company hoped to be working with all 14 Scottish health boards by the end of the year.

“Our first port of call is health boards in Scotland,” Dr Freer said. “We have three secured at the moment, but we are looking at a national rollout across all 14 health boards in Scotland and see that being by the end of this year.”

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The company’s main product, Infix: Schedule, integrates in real-time with the NHS’s electronic patient records system, Trakcare, and automatically books operations based on the urgency of each case and how long each patient has been waiting. This was a process previously done manually by staff.

“That’s a huge amount of burden on staff,” Dr Freer said. “Hospitals sometimes have multiple bits of software that don’t talk to each other. And you have humans in the middle manually extracting the bits of data or information they need to book operating theatre lists.”

In eye cases alone, the company said NHS Lothian had completed an extra 570 operations since integrating with Infix: Schedule earlier this year, equivalent to savings of around £2m.

Infix also announced a partnership with American technology company InterSystems, which runs the NHS’s electronic patient records system and which helped Infix integrate its scheduling software into this.

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Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, InterSystems has 36 offices in 26 countries and specialises in cloud-based data technology for sectors including healthcare, finance and manufacturing.

Chris Norton, managing director for the UK and Ireland at InterSystems, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Infix and working with the business to help support its customers on a global level.”

Dr Freer said InterSystems had big footprints in markets including the United Arab Emirates, China and the European Union, and this would help open the door to global markets for Infix.

“Millions of people around the world are waiting for operations – so this is a global problem – and we have global ambitions,” Dr Freer said.

He added that a key strength of the company’s scheduling software was that it was built around five years’ worth of NHS data on surgical operating times.

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This allows hospital teams to compare their waiting time performance with other benchmarks, and also see visually how many days it would take to clear waiting list backlogs.

“That’s knowledge hospitals didn’t have before,” Dr Freer said. “They now know how much resource they need to clear the backlog in these different specialisms.”

Dr Freer founded the business in 2019 after being frustrated at seeing operating theatres lying empty.

“I identified the booking of operations as one of the many areas where some improvements could be put in place,” he said.

Since raising an initial £300,000 in autumn 2020 from private investors and Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency, Infix has announced further funding including angel investment of £125,000 last August and a £100,000 prize in the Scottish EDGE competition last month for businesses with high-growth potential.

Dr Freer said the company was getting lots of enquiries from potential investors, but was planning a bigger fundraising round at the end of next year to help springboard it into international markets.

Infix also markets a virtual healthcare product called Infix: Preop, which allows patients to complete pre-operation forms from home, removing the need visit hospital to do these.