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How eConsult is trying to make treating patients more effective

Medicine is based on getting information from the patient, the essence of eConsult is to ask the questions ahead of the consultation, Heather Martin discovers

Wednesday 02 February 2022 14:25
<p>Mark Harmon (left) and Murray Ellender</p>

Mark Harmon (left) and Murray Ellender

Murray Ellender gave Mark Harmon a job. Murray needed help with then fledgling health-tech company eConsult, and Mark was “a junior senior doctor” in search of something to tide him over for a few months during a career break. “That was five years ago,” Murray tells me. Back then eConsult employed only five or six people. Mark is now chief strategy officer and eConsult is embedded in around 3,300 GP surgeries, has a reach of roughly 29 million patients, averages 1.2 million remote consultations a month, employs more than 100 people – one in five of whom are clinicians – and has trebled in value. It’s the world’s leading triage provider, pointing people to the right door of the NHS to access the treatment they need as promptly as possible.

“I overstayed my welcome,” Mark says, with a wry smile. But he has the X-factor. Maybe it’s innate, or maybe it comes from hanging around with Roger Federer during his seven years as a director of Nike, first running the performance division of apparel for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, then the UK sportswear division, “the second biggest business in the world for Nike, with a turnover of $450m. That was before I saw the light.”

What made him leave? “Life’s too short,” he says. “I’d achieved what I wanted to, and my values and perspectives had changed. I had two young kids. When my son was born he was quite ill. I spent a lot of time in hospital departments through the night, with a lot of time to think.”

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