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Q&A with 30th INCITE Awards winner, Sarah Doyle, Founder, What the Doctor Said

Few of us would ever attempt to decipher our doctor’s handwriting when we walk out with our scripts and home care instructions (sorry Doc!), but what happens when we’re struggling to a) remember and b) understand the intricacies of our health and what we need to do to address it post-visit?

Enter What the Doctor Said. Created by doctors who understood the need for clear, easy-to-read and personalised discharge instructions, the mobile-accessible home care plan is a game changer for patients.

Since taking out 2021’s INCITE Social Impact Award, the What the Doctor Said team went on to compete at the National iAwards, where they won the Chief Judge Innovation Award and were Merit Winners of the Not-for-Profit & Community Award. Their iAwards win then led to them becoming finalists in the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) in the Inclusions & Community Services category.

We sat down with Sarah Doyle, Founder, to chat about all things INCITE, the opportunities the Awards present, and what actually happens at a WA ICT gala.

Q: What does the INCITE Awards mean to you? Why did you decide to enter?

A: When running a company with a small team, you often find yourself balancing the need to a) let others know what you’re doing and b) doing the actual work. I wasn’t sure I could find the time to do an INCITE Awards submission justice.

Enter Tracey Wilkinson, Director of Stakeholder Engagement at MTP Connect. Tracey has been a wonderful support to us over the years and first told me about the WA INCITE Awards, and gave me a gentle nudge to apply.

Q: And we’re so glad you did! So you entered, passed through each judging stage, and before you knew it you were preparing for the WA ICT industry’s night of nights…

A: The WA Awards night itself was actually quite exciting for me and our wonderful CTO Gavin Pinto! COVID-19 lockdowns had left us feeling like hermits, so we decided to dress up and make the most of the whole event. We also worked out the easiest route to the bar for when we didn’t win the Social Impact category.

So… when they announced that What the Doctor Said had in fact won the Social Impact category, it really topped the night off! In fact, I was so excited that I lost my shoe in a perfect 360 degree roll over the side of the podium on the way up to accept the award…

Q: A most memorable win then! What was it like to be involved? What effect has entering (and winning!) had for you?
A: Winning was a wonderful surprise, but winning the award wasn’t the best thing about this experience. The best thing was the chance to get our message out.

Our message is this: current materials for discharge communication with patients and families are very poor. This means patients and families are in the dark about what to do at home to get well again. Not understanding discharge instructions is associated with poorer health outcomes, particularly for those from vulnerable groups such as those with low health literacy and limited English proficiency. The What the Doctor Said system represents our best efforts to address this massive problem.

Applying for the INCITE Awards gave us a chance to put our product in front of an independent panel of experts who measured up our offering against a set of criteria. This was a hugely valuable process that gave us encouraging external validation that we’re on the right track.

Q: What would you say to others thinking about entering?

A: The exposure from the INCITE Awards can lead to golden opportunities. One such opportunity arrived for us about 6 weeks ago – almost 8 months after the event! So good luck to everyone this year, and know that taking the time to apply is definitely worth the effort! Thanks again, Tracey.