When David Morgan wrote to NHS Digital Health during the pandemic to offer his company’s telehealth solutions, he says he was “politely shown the door”.
According to the CEO of Black Space Technology, a Birmingham-based company building health software durable enough for the battlefield, the government should have embraced more technology to tackle Covid-19.
“In my mind, this was an absolute scandal that could have been predicted. Hundreds and thousands of patients could have been looked after much better by the use of technology,” Morgan tells UKTN.
“I think the government failed dismally in its use of technology when they knew that there were companies out there that had mature robust technology.”
Morgan founded Black Space Technology in 2018 after selling his previous company, Safe Patient Systems, for an undisclosed sum.
He took his best developers with him and created a system for managing mass casualties, which led to a military contract.
Today, Black Space Technology has three core products: a software-based solution that monitors vital signs on an Android tablet, wearable health monitoring sensors and the aforementioned mass casualty system.
Its hardware-agnostic software is currently trialled by the Singapore military, while Blach Space also counts the French police and Spanish Air Force among customers.
It is also collaborating with the Great North Air Ambulance and Gravity Industries on its Jet Suit Paramedic project, providing vital sign monitoring equipment that crucially weighs approximately 500 grams.
The purpose of Black Space Technology, says Morgan, is to “exploit the Android platform in the military medical space”.
Before Black Space Technology
The venture is not Morgan’s first in the world of medical technology. Back in the 1990s, Morgan was part of a research group at the University of Warwick that looked into the use of artificial neural networks to diagnose bacterial infections using an infection-‘smelling’ sensor.
Black Space Technology is bootstrapped by David as he didn’t wish to be “held to ransom by the shareholders or investors” and sees it as a “more organic way of growing your company”.
He adds: “I think the best piece of advice I was ever given was by a VC many years ago. He said by all means prove your technology works in the NHS, but don’t think about it as a customer. And certainly don’t base your financial projections on the NHS.”
Black Space Technology turned its attention to telehealth for care at home after a patient visiting Morgan’s clinic became “fed up” with paying parking fees for an appointment that lasted “around three minutes” and taking a day off sick.
Morgan’s patient suggested sending a photo of his wound instead. This suggestion then became reality and since then the company’s telehealth solution has monitored approximately 10,000 patients, reducing emergency admissions by half.
UK military deals
The Birmingham-based Black Space Technology team is made of 10 people. According to its website, the Blackspace team has been “at the forefront of deploying mobile technology to improve patient care at scale in the NHS since 2005”.
For now, one of its key priorities is the military telehealth space. “We hope to have it being used by the UK military in the next few months,” Morgan says.
Next on the list for Black Space is to create a stand-alone ultrasound device and seek out ties with NATO and partners in the Middle and Far East.
“The interesting thing about the military is it does take a long time for them to make decisions,” Morgan says. “But they’re a delight to work with, they’re very keen on technology.”