O2 UK appoints to new mobile healthcare division

Categories: Latest News.

O2 UK has appointed Keith Nurcombe, a former executive at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, to head a new mobile healthcare division. Report in Rethink Wireless.

I don’t often make predictions, but I will here. I predict that we shall see Mr Nurcombe popping up at Continua Alliance events and expounding on ‘ecosystems’ and the wonderful future ahead and, at the same time, he will have one of the most frustrating years of his life. Large network providers suffer the same problems as large ‘box shifting’ companies in this field. With the pressure to grow their core business, whether it is broadband or kit, they cannot get close enough to nurses and medics to tune in to their real needs, to talk their language and to handhold them down the path of telehealth adoption. Steve

UPDATE: In this context, the following item is worth reading Build it and They Will Telemed? by Vincent Salvo. To give you a flavour: “In the healthcare device and software industry, the mantra: build it and they will come doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked since Noah built an ark or the movie Field of Dreams was made. Ignoring the user experience is what’s wrong with the healthcare experience and begs for innovation.”


  1. David Doherty, 3G Doctor

    Best of luck to O2’s new Mobile Healthcare Division

    Hi Steve,

    Whilst I agree that we will no doubt hear about “ecosystems” at all the usual venues I think you’re missing the opportunity that’s presented here in this new division.

    O2 is fundamentally different from the box shifters because the Doctors and Nurses already use their product (ie. the network and services it offers) all day everyday.

    O2 is the biggest public sector network provider in the UK and in the current climate these buyers are looking for savings.

    The only way of keeping the value of these contracts up is to tie in added value. To do that you must understand the needs of these carers: nice devices (3G iPhones), loaded with useful content (medhand.com companions), time saving apps (autosynchin diaries), while using convergence to remove complexity and cost (eg. do away with the need for pagers by offering a smartphone application that does the same and more).

    If he can achieve any of this, I predict Mr Nurcombe’s new division is going to clean up.

    PS. on your update: We need to be careful to leave the user experience to the free market. Innovation was never and isn’t created by introducing standards this early in the game. As I said in the comments over on the Frog Design Blog I get along just fine even though the UI on my mobile, autocar, TV, Fridge, Tumble Dryer and Clothes Line are very different!