White Swan beat stiff competition to win a place on DigitalHealth.London Accelerator Scheme

We are delighted to announce that we have won a space on the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator scheme this year for our Million Minds app development.

This year’s cohort, taken at a 2 day onboarding bootcamp – featuring White Swan’s Beth Fordham, front and centre!

The scheme is highly competitive to join and we were the only charity to make it to the final selection. The purpose of the scheme is to help innovative small and medium businesses to navigate the NHS to increase uptake of innovation.

Armed with my 60” “pitch”, I made my way on Monday to Savoy Place to meet 200 representatives from across the NHS – CIOs, Consultants, Physios from a broad variety of health areas.

All 20 of the selected companies were given just 1 minute to verbally “pitch” their idea (with no supporting visuals), so I shared the story of how Julie’s life was transformed through our technology and data science approach and that we are now automating this to help others, looking for partner GPs and Consultants to help us shape the solution.

The pitches seem to be well received, and in the afternoon that followed Chris Todd and I (thanks Chris for joining me!) took part in discussions around what the key ingredients are to be successful on the scheme and latterly a “speed networking” event to meet more of the delegates.

The day wrapped up with us meeting our Accelerator and agreeing dates to meet to agree a plan for the next 12 months – which Beth and I will be doing on 15th October.

More news to follow after this date but needless to say we are very excited about this opportunity!


White Swan takes flight

What a year 2018 has been …. and what a year 2019 is set to be!

On 2nd January 2018 we became a registered charity and within a few weeks we launched our Ankylosing Spondylitis project using wearables technology to help our wonderful partner Dr Raj Sengupta to improve care for his patients.  Over 200 patients are already signed-up and new patients join every week.

We have been enthusiastically gaining support for Million Minds – an app which utilises the collective wisdom of the world to help those suffering to find a diagnosis.  More news to follow soon on a major co-creation partnership we are incredibly excited about to help the hundreds of millions suffering worldwide.

Our team of fantastic volunteers have been busy using data and technology to help our partners improve the health of the nation:

In Cardiology, we analysed thousands of conversations into a rare condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which sadly can lead to sudden cardiac arrest in the young.  Our partners at the University Hospital Birmingham were fascinated by the linkage between the earliest symptoms reported.  As they share the work with other Cardiologists in a paper and at a conference in early 2019 we hope to save more lives in the future.

In Arthritis, we have been analysing a large anonymised data-set from the Royal United Hospital in Bath, trying to help our partner there to better understand how interventions can improve long term outcomes for patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

In Mental Health, we submitted our first grant proposal to create a tool to help combat rumination and worry and thus prevent depression.  In parallel our volunteers have been developing a prototype of the tool.  Our fingers are still crossed on the grant outcome as we wait to hear!

In Cancer we are currently mid-way through the analysis of the patient journey in lung cancer (from first symptoms to treatment outcomes), which we will be sharing broadly in the hope to improve survival rates and pre/during/post treatment experiences.

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us so far and we look forward to working with you throughout 2019 to improve the health of society using technology and analytics!

white swan in flight


Reducing Flares for Ankylosing Spondylitis Patients

We first met Dr Raj Sengupta from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases about 2 years ago.  He shared our passion for using technology and analytics to improve outcomes for patients.

He wanted to have a more holistic view of his patients and how they lived with the condition day-to-day, in order to improve the effectiveness of their treatment.  For example, how much they moved around, what exercises they did, what medication they took, how they slept etc.  and how all of this impacted their symptoms, seeking patterns in the data to better understand ‘flares’ – and most importantly how to prevent or reduce them.

So we worked together, in partnership with UMotif, to create a mobile app that would do this, with a connected and confidential interface which would allow Dr Sengupta to view the individual patient data.  This could then be discussed during patient consultations.

So far we have over 200 patients using the app and it is proving invaluable to better understand the intricacies of the disease in individual patients.

Our volunteers are analysing the anonymised data, working directly for Dr Sengupta, in order to help improve understanding of the disease and once results are published, we hope this will enable doctors worldwide to improve disease management.

See the below video created where Dr Sengupta explains to future patients why they should use the app to help him do the best job possible for them.

From wheelchair-bound to triathlons – Julie’s life transformation

Back of card image of Julie then & now

Julie was in a wheelchair for 10 years until we used our technology to help diagnose her with a rare form of Parkinson’s. Now she’s able to complete triathlons.  Find out how we did it.

Julie was only in her 20’s when she fell ill, suffering wheelchair bound for over 10 years and in danger of losing her life.

Despite countless tests doctors were at a loss to explain what was wrong with her

Julie’s brother, Steve King (founder of technology company Black Swan Data), refused to accept his sister’s bleak prognosis.

Understanding the power of big data, he and his team analysed millions of internet conversations looking to match her symptoms with those of others across the world, alongside a daily diary of how  Julie felt each day, what she did, what she ate etc. They leveraged Black Swan’s leading-edge technology and data science capability looking for patterns – what seemed to make her feel better and worse.

It took them a year, but eventually they were able to identify two rarer conditions she hadn’t been tested for that her symptoms matched, and armed with this new information she was diagnosed by doctors with a rare form of Parkinson’s.

Treatment quickly began and Julie is now able to lead a normal life with her family.  She has even completed her first triathlon!

This inspired start of the White Swan charity.

We want to help more people like Julie. 

There are over 1 million people suffering undiagnosed in the UK alone.

We believe that by connecting the collective wisdom and experiences of people across the world via the internet, we can help everyone to a diagnosis, like we did for Julie.

That’s why we are launching our Million Minds campaign – raising funds to scale-up our technology so that we can help not just one person but the millions who are suffering undiagnosed.

The technology constantly scans the millions of conversations and articles on the internet looking to match symptoms with those of others, giving a bespoke window to the world’s knowledge.

Over time it will also help those in need capture and spot patterns in their own symptoms, enabling them to share this new information with their doctors and connect them to others who are dealing with the same challenges.

Our aim is to support those suffering towards a diagnosis, using technology.  Helping those in need help themselves, help those who can help them, and help others in the process.

We believe no-one should suffer unnecessarily, not knowing what is wrong with them or what to do about it.

This is something we want to change.  Together.

If you are inspired by this story please help us by donating to our Million Minds campaign.  Either click the button below or Text SWAN40 with the amount you’d like to pledge (i.e SWAN40 £20) to 70070. Thank you.