Medics Need Apply: The Increasing Role of Doctors outside the Clinical World

HealthBeacon appoints new Medical Science Liaison. August 2020.

HealthBeacon is happy to announce the latest addition to our expanding team, Dr. Sharifah Sarhan, as our new Medical Science Liaison. Having experience across several medical specialities as a junior doctor, Sharifah joins HealthBeacon in our Dublin Headquarters to facilitate research, assist in regulatory affairs and to help bring clinical experience and skills into the non-clinical world.

Hospitals and Clinics are full of smart and compassionate Doctors and the field of Digital Health needs them. Sometimes we need them to adopt, embrace and improve new technologies, but sometimes we need them as team members, working inside a Digital Health company, and outside of clinical medicine. We find the collaboration between technologists and doctors to be always insightful and often truly transformational in how we develop our products and services for patients.

– Jim Joyce, CEO HealthBeacon

Dr. Sharifah Sarhan shares her thoughts with us on how she sees doctors playing an increasing role in non-clinical medicine and in the world of digital health.

“I sometimes draw comparisons between my experience in clinical medicine and that of being on a treadmill; the path is set out in front of you, all you must do is take the next step. Of course, a considerable amount of hard work, long hours, study and sacrifice go into those steps, but the path is there for you to walk, nonetheless. Graduating from university, the course of your career is for the most part at your footsteps, from junior doctor, to basic and higher training, with exams in between, the path is clear if not long. The longer you are on that treadmill however, and the faster it gets, the thought of stepping off becomes more daunting. To take what can feel like a giant leap, to follow a different path or perhaps create your own, can be overwhelming and can understandably leave many doctors, including myself, feeling as though they are programmed only to walk that treadmill. Clinical medicine is a fantastic and hugely rewarding career, and one in which you can make a tangible difference to the lives of others, but it is not the only path a doctor can take. Opportunities to create change, to improve the care we give, enhance patient outcomes, while continuing professional development, are not only found in the clinical world.

As healthcare must change and adapt to overcome the challenges it faces, so too must the role of a doctor. Increasingly, doctors are becoming more involved in non-clinical aspects of healthcare, whether it be in pharmaceuticals, research, medical education and writing or in executive and management positions. As physicians, we endeavour to enhance patient outcomes in the most acceptable and efficient way we can. Such aspirations can now be realised outside of the clinical environment. Problem solving, communication, organisational and triage skills are not only of use within hospital and clinic walls. The opportunities to transfer these skills, learned in medical school and honed through clinical practice, to other areas of healthcare are numerous and far-reaching. One such area is that of the ever-expanding field of Digital Health.

As one of the most exciting and promising areas of non-clinical medicine, Digital Health has huge potential to alter medical practice as we know it and change patient health behaviours. When we consider some of the advances in healthcare technology that exist today, whether it be robot assisted surgery, subdermal devices that can detect and prevent seizure activity in the brain, mobile applications that detect skin cancer, or simple vital sign monitoring devices we wear on our wrists as we go about our day, we can appreciate how digital health is becoming part of the meshwork of both modern medicine and modern life. Indeed, as the challenges of an aging population and increased disease burden escalate, with the corresponding strain on resources and finances, so too does the need to meet these challenges. Now more than ever, in this COVID-era, the idea remote patient monitoring is not only an interesting area of development, but an imperative one. The recent pandemic has highlighted both its need, and its scope.

Video consultations and virtual clinic appointments have made it possible for practitioners to stay connected with patients, continue to deliver high-quality real-time care and support, precise and customised to each patient, while ensuring the safety of both patients and doctors. Furthermore, these difficult times have taught us that as a community, we possess the ability to take the management of disease into our own hands. Whether it be socially distancing and wearing PPE to try and control one of the most significant pandemics in history or adhering to medication regimes to maintain control over chronic illness, we have the power to change the course of our own health. Central to this, are the tools and the technologies that give us such power.

HealthBeacon’s premise is simple, but precise. Ultimately, it provides patients with greater autonomy over their illness, while giving physicians the insights needed to deliver more optimal and efficient care. As such, I am delighted to be working as part of the HealthBeacon team in advancing patient care in Ireland and internationally. Although I will always enjoy aspects of clinical medicine and can appreciate it as a unique and truly humbling profession, I am looking forward to exploring new opportunities in an exciting, non-clinical career in Digital Health, off the treadmill.”

HealthBeacon is proud to acknowledge the skills doctors can have both in the clinical and the digital world, and is excited to have Sharifah as part of our team helping to drive the research, data and innovation behind the care we provide.

Jim Joyce, CEO of HealthBeacon, has an MBA from University College of Dublin and BA in Economics from Fordham  University. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of HealthBeacon, a Dublin, Ireland based medical adherence technology company.

Dr. Sharifah Sarhan, MB BAO BCh has joined the HealthBeacon team as a Medical Science Liaison, to facilitate clinical research and assist with Regulatory Affairs. Sharifah is a medical doctor, graduating from University College Dublin and experience across several medical specialities as a junior doctor. Sharifah is based in HealthBeacon’s office in Dublin, Ireland.

About HealthBeacon

HealthBeacon is a medication adherence technology company which develops smart tools for managing medication at home. HealthBeacon’s FDA cleared smart sharps bin tracks patient injection history, provides personalized interactive reminders and safely stores used injectables. With the intervention of HealthBeacon’s Smart Sharps Technology, patients’ persistence and adherence increased by 25-30% within twelve months of initiating therapy. The HealthBeacon integrated model connects a patient’s routine and the prescribing clinician’s workflow. This technology has been adopted across thirteen countries with >300,000 injections tracked since launch in 2014, with a patient acceptance rate of 80-90%.