Robin Drinkall

A profile of Robin Drinkall and his creative work.

Robin Drinkall and his work with patient compliance of medicine (1999-2009)

The start of a new Millennium brought with it many difficult challenges. Chronic disease management and an ageing population continued to play on the minds of political advisers and their political masters. Venture Capitalists became increasingly aware of the need to invest in young biotechnology companies searching for new answers to treat disease they could then turn into profit. Pharmaceutical conglomerates focused on valuing their product portfolios and worrying about the time frame to launch a new blockbusting medicine. Governments and health payers locked in to debates on how to reform healthcare systems. Pharmacoeconomics became a “buzz word” that hoped to be a path towards a new understanding and a step towards a new solution.

Pharmacists provided the leadership in the United Kingdom to encourage people to stop and think about “Compliance of Medicine”. In the year 2000 a new group was launched called the “Concordance Group”. Their mission: To raise awareness of the need to improve communication between health professionals and patients increasing the concordance of medicine during treatment. The World Health Organization published a new book during 2003 called Adherence to Long-Term Therapies / Evidence for Action as part of their global initiative launched in June 2001. The main objective of their work was to improve worldwide rates of adherence to therapies commonly used in treating chronic conditions. “Adherence to long term therapy” was defined as; the extent to which a person´s behavior – taking medication, following a diet, and/or executing lifestyle changes, corresponds with agreed recommendations from a health care provider”.

(Teknologisk Institut - Denmark)  

 

Entrepreneurs also identified an opportunity to create innovative IT systems that could play a role in supporting and monitoring patients during treatment. Some businesses were created by following the market trend and others through personal experiences where disease and medicine had changed the habits of a family member.

European entrepreneur Robin Drinkall in association with some minority shareholders created a new business start-up funded by Denmark´s Technological Innovation scheme. A business plan prepared during the beginning of 2000 was accepted by investors at Teknologisk Innovation A/S during late summer where they demanded a 23% equity stake in the company start-up. The concept presented by Robin (age 35 years) aimed to create a cartoon character called Virusman, similar to Spiderman, who lived on the internet and motivated and educated people during illness. The company developed Pro-Active Interactive Voice Response to bridge the link between healthcare providers and patients in their own homes.

(Screenshot of the original "Virusman" website which received unexplained internet traffic in 2000. The IP numbers and tracking data was captured by a service provided by eXTReMe Tracking, Banterij 4, Port America, 1046 AN Amsterdam, Netherlands. The FBI in America was contacted shortly after the 2001 - 9/11 terrorist attacks with information that provided a line of thought towards the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in London. It is widely believed an immediate surveillance operation was launched by the FBI and Special Branch monitoring key people linked to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Following contact with Lancashire Police in April 2013 there is now a line of thought between New York and the unexplained disapearance of General Richard Vickers, former Director General of the Trust who once said "Africa is rotten to the core"). 

During the years that followed the company changed its name to ClinTel hoping to create a brand name linked to an IT / Medical solution. Projects were started in Diabetes, Hypertension, COPD, Osteoporosis, Depression and OAB. The computer telephony developed by Robin and his team would allow for the software to scan a database of patient information and then dial a number to contact the patient. The patient would then be interviewed by a pre-recorded human voice and requested to answer questions by using the key pad on their telephone. The results of the interview would then by stored in the database and exported to electronic patient records in the form of charts and graphs. Different diseases required different approaches and the telephone support programs were designed to support a patient during the critical drop-out phase for patients during treatment. For example patients suffering with Diabetes and Hypertension would be supported for 12 months and patients suffering from COPD would receive support and education for 7 months. The expertise gained from the research projects was then transferred to international conferences and “Medication Compliance” workshops in Europe.

Robin soon became recognized as a pioneer of healthcare communication in Europe and received recognition from doctors, nurses, pharmacists and the pharmaceutical industry. His philosophy in dealing with compliance of medicine was simple; “If a patient is compliant with their treatment to therapy then everyone wins. If a patient is non-compliant with their medicine then everyone loses”. “A patient needs to understand the journey in front of them and be given a road map to help them make the trek with as few detours as possible”.

In 2006 ClinTel published a Danish book called “Osteoporosis”. The book was written to help patients understand more about Osteoporosis and compliance of medicine. The key success of the book was the simplicity of explanations and colour sketches illustrating some of the messages contained in the book. The book received feedback from many people and was described as; “One of the first Osteoporosis books in the world to address compliance of medicine and a very easy and pleasant book to read”.

Now the first decade of the new Millennium has finished the subject of Compliance / Adherence of Medicine has not been forgotten but evolved into a topic that is also part of the solution. Person Centered Medicine has become one of the approaches embraced by the World Health Organization to the extent WHO has played host to several satellite meetings of the International Network for Person-Centered Medicine (INPCM).

Non-Compliance of Medicine is a problem that will never go away. Effective and understandable communication and written material for patients is one of the keys to ensuring more positive results with treatment plans. The goal for any healthcare professional is to achieve a level of understanding between the patient and their illness where the patient understands why they need to take the medicine which in return creates a motivation for them to “want” to take their medicine.

The hands-on experience provided by Robin Drinkall and his entrepreneurial and creative approach to healthcare problem solving during the first decade was a nucleus for many other health professionals to explore new approaches. His practical and “energetic” style played a valuable role in helping patients overcome some of the barriers during treatment for Chronic Diseases and other illnesses where simple, effective communication and education played a major role in helping them go forward with their lives.  

(Screenshot of the original ClinTel website).

References:

Jeannett Dimsits – Project Director Novo Nordisk. 2011 (Sanofi-Synthelabo-Aventis)

 

“The project I ran with Rob Drinkall at Sanofi-Synthelabo (Aventis) was very successful. It was called "Project FIND" and was highly creative and thinking out of the box. The technical parts of the project worked as agreed and time lines were kept diligently. I warmly recommend Rob”

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Good Value

 

Robert Adriaansen – Director Business Development Europe at Kendle International

Global Sales Manager 2011

 

“Working with Robin is a delight. I had the pleasure of collaborating with him on a Patient Compliance conference, which he initiated. His drive, sense of humour and out-of-the-box thinking are very welcome in today´s business environment. From time to time we touch base to share our thoughts on the industry and on life in general. It's always inspiring to speak to him, and I always end up with new ideas.”

 

Justin Worden - Director, The Logical Solution 2011


“I have had the pleasure of knowing Robin for 20+ years in many different guises. Robin has boundless energy and is most certainly a "Out of the box" thinker. Every opportunity is met with open eyed awareness and is researched exhaustively. Robin is a highly skilled and considerate man manager and well liked and respected by customers and business partners alike. Should the opportunity to work with Robin again arise, I would have no hesitation”

 

Stephen Littler - Manager NHS-Direct Yorkshire, UK 2011

“Rob is extremely hard working and has boundless energy and enthusiasm. He is very much an 'ideas man' and looks beyond the conventional ways of doing things.” Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Creative   

Anne-Marie Søjby-Rapp, Project Manager, Coloplast 2011 

"During the Spring of 2001 we decided at Coloplast Compeed to run a project study in "foot-sweat (1)" that involved daily feedback from all participants over a short period of time. In previous projects we have opted to use the traditional paper diary system for data capture. This method of data collection is reliable but is very time consuming requiring resources to distribute the diaries and also employing data professionals to manually input the data into a database. This process for data capture can add an extra couple of months to any research project demanding fast feedback."
 
"At Coloplast we opted to partner with Robin Drinkall and his new computer telephony patient data capture system. We created questionnaires that were programmed into the system using interactive voice technology. The computer was then provided with names, dates and telephone numbers of all the participants in the study".
 
"We found the speed of data capture during the interviews impressive. In addition, the response rate was very high. The use of the telephone made it easy for both the participants in the study and ourselves due to the real time feedback. In conclusion we found the Computer Telephony Data Capture system a great addition to our options for reducing the length of time and increasing response rate in conducting a research project that demands real-time feedback from participants".

Brigitte Schau, Manager Value Added Services, Boehringer Ingelheim, GERMANY 2011

 

“I first met Rob at a patient compliance conference in London in 2004. I was greatly impressed with his new approach to addressing compliance of medicine problems. His enthusiasm for the subject was contagious and I always felt he was speaking with great experience and from the heart on such a complex issue.”

 

Notes:

1. The creation of any small new business is always an uphill struggle however incidents at the Teknological Institut added unwelcome weight to the uphill journey. For example the rooms and offices rented by Virusman / ClinTel at the Institut had to be vacated for a period of time because environmental health officers detected a toxic type of fungus in some of the rooms. This was then accompanied by various break-ins.

 

Another strange incident occurred during the 2001 Coloplast project for testing a new product for foot-sweat. Engineers from a Danish Telephone company accidently dug up the telephone cables at the Technogical Institute during the middle of the project destroying the ability for ClinTel to communicate with all the study participants. The relationship between Coloplast and ClinTel was undamaged and the study was completed with great success and celebrated in Cafe Ze Ze at a later date.

It is unknown if there is any link between page 123 of Charles Whiting´s book, "Hitlers Werewolves" and the paragraph explaining "Morgenschweiss" means "morning sweat".......... Other members of the Aachen team called him "fusschweiss" meaning "foot-sweat". Heidorn called him Schweissfuss."