Kishan Vithlani (NHS GP and Medical Director, Qured)

Dr. Kishan Vithlani is an experienced NHS GP, who’s worked across primary care, urgent care and A&E. He’s particularly interested in pediatrics, the care of the elderly, and how we can transition novel diagnostics into better healthcare. His passion for preventative health treatment and its ability to improve patient outcomes is what drove him to join Qured: a healthtech company helping employers offer comprehensive preventative health screening to staff, testing everything from heart health and diabetes to bowel cancer. To do this, Qured are pioneering the use of a personalized health engagement app and at-home blood testing device, to make health screening quick, easy, and painless. 

Image: Kishan Vithlani
Image: Kishan Vithlani

Can you explain your job to a five-year-old? 

I split my time between my two jobs. I’m an NHS GP and I’m also the Medical Director at Qured. Both roles are about helping people to be healthy, but what stands out about my work at Qured is that we’re using preventative health screening to identify health problems earlier, and even prevent future health issues from occurring in the first place. Essentially, this means I’m able to help more people stay well in the first place. 

My role at Qured involves ensuring that we’re offering the best possible medical care, advice, and experience for users, from a clinical perspective. I also spend my time talking to users directly, guiding them through their results and next steps as part of our one-to-one calls. I really love being able to connect directly with users from all over the country to support them on their preventative healthcare journey.

What excites you most about your job?

The best part about being a GP is being able to support people with their health journey and really getting to know your patients. It’s really rewarding to know you’re able to ensure people can get the medical support they need by managing a range of different conditions at the same time. 

What excites me most about my role as Medical Director of Qured, is knowing that we’re empowering people to proactively protect their health. Knowledge is power. And by giving people the information they need to understand their own health, and providing tailored advice on how to improve it, we can give people the tools to take their health back into their own hands. I’ve heard from patients how empowering it is to feel in control over their own health journeys. It’s really rewarding and exciting to know that Qured is helping more people access health screening and information by providing accessible, at-home support. 

Which trend will change the future of medicine? 

Currently, our health systems are set up to prioritize reactive treatment. But slowly, we’re seeing a shift toward preventative healthcare, and I think it’s going to have a huge impact on the industry. 

The scientific argument for this transition is simple. Catching conditions early makes them easier to treat and increases the likelihood of survival. Screening also allows us to pick up on and prevent health conditions before they are even a problem. Taking a more proactive approach to health will have a massive impact on the care we’re able to offer patients and boost patient outcomes. This will be transformative. 

Luckily, this shift has already begun. NHS health screening for most conditions is currently limited to certain groups, and those at heightened risk for developing the illness. But, just last week, the NHS announced that it plans to expand its cervical cancer screening program as part of its mission to eliminate the disease by 2024. The growing recognition that we should not only treat existing illness, but track and proactively protect our health day-to-day to deal with conditions before they escalate is extremely promising. 

Looking back, which trends have you missed or underestimated? 

Few of us could have expected the extent of health anxiety amongst Gen Z and Millenials. The pandemic had a profound influence on all of us, but especially on Gen Z who lived through it during their most formative years. Younger generations emerged into a post-COVID world with a heightened sense that their health was by no means guaranteed—a feeling that previous generations haven’t had to confront until much later in life. Moreover, this health anxiety is now also being compounded by the fact that the number of young people being diagnosed with various types of cancer is rising. 

As a result, younger generations are less likely to smoke or use drugs. They are also far more conscious of eating well, exercising, and prioritizing their mental health in order to reduce their risk of disease. The result is that Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to seek out information and take steps to future-proof their own health. This is something we’re seeing at Qured; it’s also visible in the increasing popularity of at-home fertility testing, gut health analysis, and online mental health support. 

Which MedTech initiative or startup deserves more attention? 

I’m particularly interested in pediatrics. So it's great to see programs like The Children’s Health Impact Accelerator combatting the lack of investment in technology designed to improve health outcomes for children. This program—which offers pediatric health startups funding, expertise, and access to a network of hospitals—has the ability to really enrich the pediatric healthcare space. 

Investment in these startups will enable us to find new ways to treat health conditions in children, improve pediatric care, and ultimately save more children’s lives. And that certainly deserves our attention.

Where would you put a million dollars? 

I would invest in widening access to bowel cancer screening. Despite it being one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK, NHS screening for bowel cancer is only available to those over the age of 50. When bowel cancer is caught early on, the chances of survival are much higher. In fact, 9 in 10 people who are diagnosed with bowel cancer will survive if the disease is caught early. Whereas as few as 1 in 10 people survive bowel cancer that is diagnosed at an advanced stage. That’s why it’s essential that we invest more money into expanding screening programs. This way, we can catch bowel cancer as early as possible and get patients treated in time to improve survival rates. 

What's the best advice you've ever received? 

I think the best advice I have ever received is to follow your gut. And don’t just listen to it, but act based on what it is telling you to do—especially when it comes to your health. Your body sends you signals when something is wrong, so if you feel like something isn’t right, it’s important to listen and get it checked out. Plus, if your instinct is telling you that you should be doing something or changing your behavior in some way, you should act now rather than waiting until later. After all, in most cases, ignoring a problem won’t make it go away, but it could make it a bigger problem later down the line.

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