An interview with On The Mend Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Arash Aframian
We managed to find time in the busy schedule of On The Mend’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Arash Aframian, to ask him about his role as CMO, his vision for the business and how he sees us making a meaningful difference to the way healthcare systems work for everyone involved.
OTM: Can you start by telling us what’s involved in the role of Chief Medical Officer at On The Mend?
AA: My job really has two aspects, the first is to make sure we get useful, relevant data that helps to improve the process for both patients and healthcare professionals. The second, as Caldicott Guardian, is to ensure that data is used responsibly.
OTM: Just how do you balance being a Clinical Entrepreneur with your day job as a clinician?
AA: The idea of the Clinical ‘Intrepreneur’ Programme is to keep doctors within medicine but to allow them to apply their skillset to solutions like On The Mend. So the issues I see during my clinical practise help me to realise the problem, and I can work with the team to deliver solutions.
OTM: What are some of the biggest challenges in your role as CMO?
AA: Work-life balance is probably the trickiest as being a surgical trainee is already a fairly time-consuming activity. Also the need to find a solution to the problems I see and working with people who may not be awake in the middle of the night like I am! We’ve worked dynamically over the last couple of years to find effective ways to make this work for our team on a regular basis and become astute as to how to maximise on our shared time.
OTM: What is your vision for how On The Mend will transform physical rehab?
AA: The starting point is simply about orthopaedics and joint replacement. However, in reality over my career I’ve seen enhanced recovery programmes in multiple specialties and my experience with big data lets me see how we can go beyond helping people recover after surgery, to also prepare themselves or optimise their outcomes from surgery if they do end up needing it.
OTM: How can On The Mend help with the current historical backlog of surgery after COVID-19?
AA: On the contrary its more relevant now than ever before. The beachhead application is for enhanced recovery and improving outcomes. The enhanced recovery programme has been implemented in multiple hospitals with great success and the platform will only help make that experience better for patients, healthcare professionals and those responsible for delivering maximum efficiency and helping to get patients into surgery as soon as the space is available.
OTM: What type of impact do you expect to see us having on health outcomes?
AA: We know from the existing research literature that’s been published that we can improve not only the experience but the final outcomes for the better for both patients and healthcare professionals. Ultimately, this also stands to benefit the healthcare payer system, whether that’s the state or private, as well as the patient.
OTM: What is the role of data in this process?
AA: Data is the absolute core of all we do. One of my main roles was, when we designed On The Mend from the ground up, to bring my understanding of the data we would need and how it would be processed based on my background in IT; designing everything knowing the data we would need to collect and how we would go about it as well as how it would be processed to give us meaningful results. In the early days this is simply collecting the data so patients and healthcare professionals can see how they are progressing. However, the design is already built in to allow us to apply machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to help improve outcomes, complication rates and hospital throughput in ways that are not currently possible. Understanding what is required years from now is key to the design today.
OTM: How will the surgeon benefit from using On The Mend?
AA: We began this process with a patient, surgeon and physiotherapist each designing what they would need to see and get from this and that’s part of what makes us unique. I’ve brought to the platform what myself and my colleagues would benefit from the most; that is, meaningful data that is presented in a time-efficient, useful way that helps us to monitor both patients and our own outcomes so we can see how patients are doing and act early where it’s necessary to help them get the best possible outcomes. In this COVID era that’s particularly relevant as we can do so much more remotely than ever before.
OTM: So how has COVID-19 permanently changed how you work with patients?
AA: For a long time there’s been talk about a move to telehealth and remote consultations. However, we were forced to do this at a hugely accelerated rate over the past year and for many they will never go back completely to the way things were. Most of us will find some balance that offers convenience to our patients while keeping them safe.
OTM: How will you know if On The Mend has achieved its mission?
AA: When I start at a new hospital, and someone tells me about the platform rather than asks me about it – as is currently the case!
OTM: Thanks Arash for sharing your thoughts with us today!
AA: My pleasure, now I’ve got to go as I’m just getting into the hospital and I need to get changed before I start my night shift!
Thanks to Arash for his insights. If you would like to find how On The Mend can help bring digital transformation to your organisation then please don't hesitate to get in touch with our team.
Have a great day!