At Numan, we are growing fast. We have ambitious plans, and we are building an industry-leading clinical team to execute them. One of our most recent key hires has been our Chief Medical Strategy Officer, Professor Sam Shah. Bringing with him a wealth of experience in primary healthcare as well as public and digital health, Sam is a seasoned medical strategist and a passionate mental health advocate.
Hi Sam! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your career so far?
I have been really fortunate to have been able to work in lots of different areas over my career. I’ve worked in primary healthcare for quite some time, but I also have a lot of experience within public health and digital health. The blend of working across different sectors and with different multidisciplinary teams has taught me a lot. For a few years, I was the Director of Digital Development of the NHS where I was involved in some national digital transformation programmes.
What have you learned so far in your role as Chief Medical Strategy Officer at Numan?
Working in a multidisciplinary team is great because there are lots of different ideas and approaches to solving problems. My time so far has reinforced the need to make healthcare frictionless for people and also why clinicians are an essential part of developing digital health solutions.
Why do you think digital healthcare is so important?
Digital healthcare is very important because it offers people choice and helps them to access healthcare in a way that fits their lifestyle. Digital healthcare as part of the healthcare ecosystem is important to meeting the needs of the population.
Men are statistically far less likely than women to seek help for a health concern. Why do you think this is and what can we do to change that?
There are so many different factors around men’s health-seeking behaviour compared to women, and most of the current evidence doesn’t really explain why that difference exists. There is sometimes a view that it’s traditional masculine behaviour that results in this. Behaviour change in any group in the population is complex and impacted on by so many external factors, however, we can help address this by personalising the healthcare experience, removing some of the current barriers and supporting people in taking control of their health.
At Numan, we help men treat conditions that are often stigmatised or treated as “taboo”. What advice would you give to someone who is worried about seeking medical treatment because of this?
Whilst there may be a sense that certain health conditions may feel like a bit of a taboo, there are lots of well-trained health professionals who are able to provide advice and treatment. The range of options available now means that men who are seeking help can remain in control of a consultation and can communicate with professionals about their health easily. Anyone that is worried about their health should contact a healthcare professional, as many healthcare professionals now offer online consultations which may offer a way of seeking advice from more familiar surroundings.
What do you think the future of digital healthcare is?
Digital healthcare is very exciting as it offers a route to improving patient outcomes, the combination of data, decision support tools and access to medical advice and treatment can be brought together in a way that may not have been possible previously. The sector is still developing but the demand from citizens seems high, so it’s likely that digital health services will continue to evolve with new technology improving both quality and efficiency in healthcare. The post-digital era is likely to result in changes in digital healthcare with the expectation that AI and Virtual Reality could augment care.