Interview with Dr Liza Osagie-Clouard, CEO of Solice Health, private health concierge service.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I am an orthopedic surgeon, trained in London and New York. I grew up as a complete Londonder and completed my PhD in bone biology here, at University College of London. Two years ago, an orthopedic colleague of mine and myself, really saw the need for a very high end, very discreet, very efficient medical concierge, and as such Solice was born. The whole point of the company is to really bespoke health and medical for our clients. That is everything from acupuncture through to seeing a cardiologist about your heart arrhythmia.
What inspired you to begin Solice Health?
The whole point of the company was simply born from a very simple conversation I had with my husband. He is in finance and his partner had just come back from skiing, had a knee injury and had to have surgery on his knee. He had to spend £30,000 on the surgery and had the surgery done by a very well known foot and ankle surgeon. So thinking about that, firstly, that is a ridiculous price! And secondly, a foot and ankle surgeon should not be doing your ACL surgery. So we thought there must be a better way. If you have the means to access good health care, you should have it quickly and tailored to you. Quite frankly, the knee surgeon that I may have, will and should be very different to an overweight 55 year old man would have. As a doctor, you know that everything can and should be very tailored, but this might not be something the public knows. As you go to Google, or Doctor Files or Instagram, you may pick a good surgeon but you may not pick the right one for you.
What are the core beliefs you value the most at Solice Health?
I think our core value is the way that we know our client, we particularly like to listen. We take our time and know our client, in a way that we are almost part of their family. I think a lot of clients say it is like having a doctor in your back pocket all the time. Every member has their individual doctor, nurse and administrator. And they know everything about you – they know your birthday, they know that your daughter lost quite a lot of weight since the last time I saw her six weeks ago, lets just check that out, they know that you have something coming up and you will be in London, let’s do that outstanding blood test now. We know a lot of our clients that are around 34-35, and are worried they do not yet have children, we say let’s just take that worry out and have your eggs frozen. It is really core to us to know our clients, and that is why we will never, ever be huge to the point that we cant look after our members in the most bespoke way possible.
How does one become a member of Solice and how does the process of being a member work?
So it’s an annual membership program – annually for those living in London and seasonally for those who come through London regularly. We have an interview process as its really great for us to get to know you, and to get to know your medical history as well. Based on this, we find you one concierge doctor, a full time nurse and a full time administrator. The administrator takes all the hassle out of keeping all your notes, keeping them completely confidential and compliant. The nurse is always on hand for you 24 hours a day, for the little things – sorting out a blood test, sorting out a wound after a surgery you’ve just had – and that’s the same nurse always so you get to know and trust them. The doctor is always on hand for smaller things, simple things at home like a covid test will be done by your doctor, or if you requiring referring onto some like a respiratory doctor or a cardiologist, that one doctor will sort all that out for you because they know you and your medical history, and knows what you do and dont like. They will be your single point of contact to arrange everything for you. And whatever referrals they do will be completely unbiased. We know many GPs will unfortunately always refer you onto the same doctors or the same surgeons because they are used to referring to them. Our unbiased doctors will pick from the entire London, and outside of London, market for what is best for you.
How have you seen your business grow during this pandemic?
Everyone has been so rocked by this pandemic, it has really come up over our shoulders. It has been so unexpected and really changed all of our lives. So the business has really grown in two aspects. The members we had prior to this, we really looked after them. We made sure those who were in London and needed to get out back to their home countries, could, and we provided covid testing free of charge for our members. That was part for piece of mind and partly because it was just the right thing to do. And also, moreover, we have been very on hand to simply have discussions. Many people have questions about the vaccines and about these new variants and our role as our family/ personal doctor is to be on hand to have discussions, to do some research, to look around what is going on internationally and nationally and so we can say this is where we think things are heading and how best to protect yourselves. And then we also have a few people who have come to us after having covid, and there are so many things you can do, both physically and mentally that can help support you on your drive back from having covid. And thats where a large portion of our company has also grown, in supporting people in recovering back to their normal selves. The post covid symptoms are so different for everyone and are also so different time wise for everyone. Solice, at the core of us, we are a home service, and we bring the equipment to your home. That is also very attractive – you do not have to go to the hospital and wait for your appointment for 20 minutes in a large waiting room. The specialist comes to you, the doctor comes to you, the ultrasound comes to you.
Do you find that your members are more focused on prioritising their health due to the pandemic?
People are definitely prioritising their health, but also their families. Our individual members’ average age is about 38-39, and many of these members call me and ask, what about my elderly brother or my elderly mother or grandparents? It has really made people think about their health but also the health of their family members acutely and also over the long term. And this all, in the bigger picture of well being, how to remain well. So that if you are one of the ones that does catch covid, you can hopefully recover quite quickly. And how to support those loved ones around them and upkeeping and maintaining their health too.
Where do you hope to see Solice Health heading in the next few years?
As far as concierge health services go, I can only see that industry growing. During and post this covid era, the need for a medical service which is very specific to the individual, is now much more obviously needed. To be able to access a service which is high-end and the very best – knowing you can call your doctor and within the hour the very best medication will be delivered to it, knowing that if there is a problem here, you can be rushed out to Switzerland if needed. Our service really takes the worry out of things, and is a huge support to people during this period.
For Solice, we are a members service, and we really did that purposely so we can cap the numbers. We would not be able to provide the level of service that we do for hundreds and hundreds of people. That being said, as I said I did train in New York, so the hope is to have an outpost in LA and in Dubai. And that really is sensible for us, as many of our clients do move through America and Dubai (when they are open), so that adds to the holistic 360 service.
Post-pandemic – what is the first place you are heading to?
So pre-pandemic, we were in the Maldives. We love it so much that whenever travel becomes possible again, post-pandemic, I will be straight back. I absolutely love diving! I feel like the rest of the Solice team will immediately go skiing, because they are all addicted to skiing. But personally, I cannot wait to go back to the Maldives!