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Meet Tom Spector

From Ski Seasons to DNA Sequencing to Mapping Pathways and Educating Clinicians on Digital Platforms


Tom Spector started his adventure with Open Medical when the company was still in its infancy. Fast forward five years, and he has become a key figure here, known for being the jack-of-all-trades and, officially, the Head of Digital Solutions.


We sat down with Tom and talked about his background and the unique path that led him to Open Medical. 


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I had all sorts of jobs with some interesting experiences before joining Open Medical. I worked as a chef in a charming Devon gastropub and went on two ski seasons. After graduation, I worked for the British Gut Project while my dad, a Professor of Epidemiology, and I explored the emerging field of microbiome research. Realising the growing interest in gut health, we launched our microbiome testing company. It was gaining a lot of traction, but scaling was difficult because of DNA sequencing limitations and the expensive cost at the time. We started looking for investments. The process took a while but finally it was acquired by ZOE. 


It was during that time that I first heard about Harry Lykostratis, the founder of Open Medical. I had heard about his new product, Pathpoint eDerma, through mutual connections in the dermatology space. So Harry and I got connected; we met in a pub in Cockfosters, and that’s how it all started.


Working at Open Medical has always been very exciting. My first launch was with Harry. I spent the entire day with him, and when I asked him about our plans for the following day, Harry said we had to go back to finish the launch, but there was one problem: he had clinic, which meant I had to go by myself. I requested a demo system and dedicated hours to learning how to use it, and the very next day, I was in the A&E department of the hospital on my own, providing training to doctors, nurses, and surgeons on how to navigate through our platform, Pathpoint eTrauma. It was terrifying, but I love these challenges.


I also distinctly recall the overwhelming reception Harry received when he introduced eTrauma to orthopaedic surgeons at our first British Orthopaedic Association conference. It was clear that the product had a significant impact. But at that time, I had very little understanding of Trauma & Orthopaedic services. The following year, I did 15 launches; eTrauma was selling like hot cakes. We’d go from major trauma centres to district hospitals across the UK, each with their own unique systems and reactions. Every month brought new experiences and learning opportunities; it never got dull. Especially with the helicopter trauma and the amazing success stories of patients following serious injuries. 


What was especially interesting was when we branched off from our core offering and realised it didn't matter what speciality it was for because we came from a digital problem-solving point of view. That’s when I realised what Pathpoint could truly do, and I knew people from my previous life who really needed it. This led to our involvement in clinical trials. The trial focused on skin cancer immunotherapy across six cancer centres, all operating on paper-based systems. We collaborated closely with their team, and Harry developed a tailored platform with cool new features. The study's findings were remarkable, and the article was in a Nature publication, highlighting the relationship between gut health and the effectiveness of immunotherapy drugs, which was a satisfying parallel with my earlier work.


Another standout project was when we entered a completely new specialty: maternity care. Mapping out all of their pathways from scratch and then building it all knowing we successfully digitised all their waiting lists, streamlined their elective C-section scheduling, and audited all the visits felt very rewarding. 


In the 5 years I’ve been working at Open Medical, having done over 50 product launches in England, Scotland and recently Ireland, I have personally seen our system completely change people’s lives. By enhancing efficiency, reducing unnecessary tasks, ensuring patient and clinician well-being, and promoting good governance, we’re not just selling software; we’re transforming lives. Digital always comes second. That is the most rewarding aspect of it all. 


And, of course, I’ve had many memorable and slightly unusual situations happen to me here. I remember getting a phone call from someone telling me that they had "killed" a patient on eTrauma. The doctor on the phone said he had accidentally pressed "died in hospital." He called the support line, saying, "I'm looking at the patient right now, and they're very much alive." He had pressed the button but couldn’t go back due to the clinical safety component of our platform. It was quickly resolved. And this is actually a great example for new starters about locking clinical pathways and the importance of workflows and audit trails. 

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