This past year has so much to reflect upon and has been equally difficult than the last for quite the opposite reasons. I remain convinced that a focus on families and loved ones is more important in life than work and look forward to working with my business partner / “brother” (we share a birthday), Richard full time which has been long overdue.

The last year has been another challenging one for ETHOS in so many ways. The old adage of nothing worth doing is ever easy is one that will forever be ingrained for many years to come as this journey unfolds. While we continue to grow, there have been a few challenges and opportunities to improve along the way. We find having the time to reflect on these challenges more important than any success. Whilst the industry’s regulation and standards have changed only minimally, the uptake within the sector and reliance on digital health services is beginning to bear fruit. Baring in mind that some of these fruits are certainly not what was anticipated when first commissioned or designed.

While we are seeing services becoming more open and available through patient access and choice, we are also seeing the implementation and use of these services highlighting even the most fundamental challenges. The foundations of digital clinical safety, data security and useability are still lacking in quality. Standards and regulations are published for a reason, they are written by experts volunteering their time free of charge and are authored in such a way as not to be subjective and open to misinterpretation. Publishing in so many languages globally does take time and investment, hence the cost of these publications. If we are to truly be more globalised in our approach & learning with digital health services, we need to ensure this interpretation and dissemination is constant and that regional regulators do not dilute the messages provided.

We feel the link between transformational change and a strong evidence base on standards compliance is the key to effectiveness measures. Communication and the dissemination of information to all, in a format that is simple to understand yet with the provenance to evidence good quality is always the right way to do things.

So, what is happening in 2023?

Places: We have an office in Exeter now, which provides an excellent regional presence, together with an expending head office in the IOM. Plenty room for less remote working and that personal touch often missed over the virtual presence.

People: The back office continues to expand; we have firmed up our management committee with our co-founder joining us full time. Our ETHOS team is growing rapidly and it is nice to see our family expanding.

Progress: Our core mission remains as to collaborate, learn, and share. We hope to be establishing partnerships in 2023 that will extend our reach to the benefit of the NHS. We are very excited with this opportunity and know we will be working with likeminded people.

Plans: My personal development formally ended in 2022 through the Help to Grow funded course that built my CEO skills beyond expectation or awareness. We have growth plans, social values, environmental and most importantly people led policies developing and helping us operate. We have growth plans to maintain our service and push past the obvious needs into future state regulation insights. Our research efforts with academia and innovation partners are most rewarding. To see spins outs become start-ups, become SMEs is such a reward. Especially with our charitable works and those underfunded parts of the NHS.

It is very difficult not to become emotionally invested in the work we do. I find it is a useful strength to drive through my passion for safer and more effective care provision. As my own personal family life navigates through all those areas where digital health services bring obvious benefits, I am warmed by the changes. It is obvious to me that I have some influence over the challenges in a small way. That helps me sleep at night.

With this new year of challenges in other areas beyond my influence, it is with optimism and hope that I wish all of those who are part of the ETHOS family a healthy and happy 2023.

Stuart Harrison, CEO ETHOS Ltd

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