Fireside Chat with Polly Shepperdson, Partnerships and Alliances Manager

Polly talks about her new role and her thoughts on the recent changes in the industry

Tell us a bit about yourself – how long have you been working at FDB?

I have a background in health psychology research and a keen interest in health informatics, and I’ve been working at FDB since 1999. Since joining the company, I’ve been involved in the development of coding and use of standard terminologies including SNOMED and dm+d within FDB’s solutions. Having started out as a Clinical Researcher in the Multilex team, I have worked predominantly in product management. I was also FDB’s first NHS account manager, supporting newly established CCGs in upgrading to the new OptimiseRx medicines optimisation technology. I am currently working with my innovation colleagues on FDB’s vision for meeting the needs of ICS commissioning and supporting the delivery of The NHS Long Term plan with the new PCN clinical leaders.


Tell us about your new role at FDB 

As Partnerships and Alliances Manager, my role is to engage with NHS and other commercial stakeholders who work in the field of medicines optimisation but that are outside our contracted customer community. 


It is important to us at FDB that we develop our portfolio in line with the digital strategy for the NHS and carry through the NHS policies for prescribing and medicines optimisation. Organisations purchase our solutions because they deliver value to healthcare services. FDB’s expertise is in informatics to embed intelligent medicines related content into appropriate users’ workflows. I am responsible for engaging with policy and legislative organisations as well as operational delivery and services to maintain FDB’s integrity to reduce variance alongside the need for local configurability.


One element of this is the development of stronger links with commercial and not-for-profit medicines optimisation stakeholders who offer related technical expertise, content and services. Recent NHS changes reflect the recognition that no single solution or service can preserve the standard of healthcare UK citizens receive and that a collaborative approach is required. My goals are to extend the patient safety benefits of using FDB’s existing portfolio and to deliver the next generation of clinical digital innovations through our close partnerships with clinical system and other technology providers.


What are your thoughts about the recent changes in the industry and the NHS Long term Plan?

We really welcome the new changes. We’ve been in business for over 40 years and we are reassured by the WHO Global Challenge for reducing harm from medicines. In the UK, the attention of ministers and senior policy makers on advancements in informatics and technology presents an opportunity to make step changes in optimising medicines usage system wide. This focus is long overdue. Those of us working in this field have a collective responsibility to the overstretched clinical community and their patients to use intelligent data to demonstrate improvements in care. Changes in the NHS at ground level in terms of how solutions are commissioned offers FDB and its partners the opportunity for system wide innovation. 


A patient-owned single medicines interoperability record will transform the way we all need to work, and I look forward to supporting our partners in the delivery of tools to facilitate shared decision making and patient empowerment.