Military Logistics meets Healthcare Credentialing

Next Generation Air Force learning from startups

Who I am and what I am doing?

I am Stefanos Stephanou, a junior Logistics Officer within the Royal Air Force. In my relatively short career thus far, I have been exposed and involved with the delivery of military Logistics in environments both in the UK and abroad.

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Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

The RAF is undergoing a monumental transition in its campaign to become the ‘Next Generation Air Force’, through its internal programme called ASTRA. As part of ASTRA, a bespoke fellowship has been initiated in partnership with PUBLIC, the GovTech company, to immerse and train selected Air Force personnel in innovation and technology. The Percy Hobart Fellowship comprises a secondment to a startup company to further Fellows’ insight into agile and innovative working practices — a world apart from the bureaucracy in existence within the Royal Air Force. This is where my journey with Truu and digital credentialing begins.

Who are Truu?

My secondment with Truu started in March 2021 and I immediately began my journey into a world totally unfamiliar to me — both in healthcare and Self Sovereign Identity; a technology which Truu has spearheaded since their creation in 2015. There are some useful references below. Quickly integrating into the small but passionate team, I was soon learning that the company, led by Dr Manreet (Manny) Nijjar, was something special. Manny, an infectious diseases consultant, established Truu in 2015 following stressful experiences when trying to verify the appropriateness of locum doctors. Recognising the huge problem that exists in ‘how to look after people who look after people’ he reached a crossroads in his career; leave his profession due to the tension of high patient risk, or solve the problem. From here, Truu is formed.

Image of doctor at Poole Hospital holding phone

What do they do?

This question was really important to me and one which took me a few weeks to get my head around, having never been involved in this space, I wanted to ensure I knew exactly what it was that Truu did.

The team behind Truu has recognised the administrative and bureaucratic burdens associated with medical professionals and the credentials they hold (identity documents, qualifications, mandatory training). To combat these burdens for every individual or organisation involved within the medical ecosystem Truu has developed an app and management system to enable all bodies to securely issue and verify medical professionals’ credentials. Most importantly, the medical professional is at the ‘heart’ of this system. They own their credentials, they own their identity and have full control of the sharing of their information.

It’s all about the values

In my short time with Truu and the team, there is one continual theme embedded in everything, the company values. From internal meetings, webinars, stakeholder engagement or investor discussions, the company values are at the heart of Truu. Manny and the team embody the need for the future of identity to be trustworthy, secure and user-centric. The need for trust is forthright within Truu and that is apparent at every level. The constant strive toward these values is what has really chimed with me during my time at Truu and one which is aligned with a military culture also.

What the future looks like?

Having been heavily involved with expediting quick and efficient staff movements during the COVID-19 pandemic, Truu is now entering its future. Both the medical and digital identity worlds are undertaking huge transformations and are joining the technological tidal wave. Already in my short time at the company I can see the future of this company and the ecosystem it operates within unravelling to embrace the need for a better way to verify our identities in a secure way, keeping user control at the heart. In an age where so much of our being is held by large technology companies that know what item I want to buy next, or what mood I am in based on music I am listening to, the values Truu operate by and the movement it is part of are a refreshing outlook on such a fragmented world. The change is happening and Truu is a big part of this change, the future for the company and industry is exciting and one built by Truu through the determination to improve process, security and safety for all involved within the medical ecosystem.

My takeaways

I have been exposed to all elements of Truu and startup culture throughout my short secondment. I now prepare for a return back to the Royal Air Force following my 12-week fellowship. The RAF’s goal, through the training provided by the fellowship, is to educate and inspire its personnel to be transformers, disruptors and innovators of the Next Generation Air Force. As I reflect on my time with Truu in particular, I think about what I will take back with me into the Royal Air Force. One prominent lesson I will take back is a cultural theme embedded within the Truu team. There is no relentless pursuit of customers, money or hitting a bottom line; finances and customers are obviously important, however, what is more important to the company is the pursuit of doing what is right (to them and the digital identity community). A pursuit of doing what’s right and what they believe in will ultimately bring a strong user base, financial flows and product longevity. For me, this serves as a lesson and reminder, that the need to stick to long term values and doing what is right is paramount in long term success. My relationship with Truu will continue beyond the fellowship, the Truu team and I have enjoyed working together and I am humbled to have played a part in the company. Thanks to the Truu team for the opportunity to be part of your team!

Percy Hobart Fellowship advert with Red Arrows breaking over Royal Navy Ship

References

Sovrin Self Sovereign Identity

Self Sovereign Identity

What SSI means for healthcare

Stef Stephanou is a Logistics Officer in the Royal Air Force and a 2021 Percy Hobart Fellow.
Truu was founded Dr Manreet Nijjar and Dr Henry Goodier, two practising NHS doctors, to address their experiences of the administrative burden of repetitive pre-employment and onboarding checks across the healthcare industry by using staff digital passports. Truu has helped deliver the NHS COVID-19 Staff Digital Passport. Enquiries: info@truu.id

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