case study
DCB 0129
June 6, 2024
Approx 5 min read

COGS AI use Naq to navigate DTAC

The situation

In the UK, it’s estimated that 15% of the population is neurodivergent, including autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, and dyslexia. Touching every aspect of a person’s life, neurodivergence brings strengths, but it also presents challenges that can increase the risk of stress, anxiety, or depression. 

Apps have the potential to provide immediate, convenient, and personalised support to overcome these wellbeing challenges. But surprisingly, despite neurodivergent people having a different way of acquiring and processing knowledge, wellbeing apps have been still only designed by and for neurotypical people.

Upon discovering this inequality, founders Zareen Ali and Felix de Grey set-out to change it, and in 2021 built COGS AI, a daily neurodiversity management app. It gives the most effective tools needed for neurodivergent people to solve their problems and build positive habits. For example, it doesn’t feature any hour-long therapy sessions or vague advice, just practical tools, and strategies to get people into a good place in five minutes or less.

Since its launch, COGS AI has received an overwhelmingly positive response by neurodivergent consumers. More recently, the innovative technology also gained the attention of NHS Kent and Medway, who saw the potential of giving COGS AI to support people ahead of a neurodivergent diagnosis. 

The challenge

Being approached by NHS Kent and Medway prompted COGS AI to actively consider working with the NHS. Together, they could help reimagine the entire care pathway for neurodivergent people, providing support before diagnosis, reducing waiting lists, and for some people, removing the need for a diagnosis. But the COGS AI team knew supplying the NHS brings onerous compliance requirements. 

It was already important to COGS AI to have good data practices in place, but the team knew the NHS has a wide-reaching set of compliance requirements.

Founder and COO, Felix de Grey explains “Thanks to being on the KQ Labs accelerator programme, we were aware of the world of compliance and medical devices regulation. So, we spoke with other founders who have experience working with the NHS, and compliance came-up frequently, in particular, the Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC).”

The solution

To support COGS AI in meeting DTAC, the team looked at a range of options. This included a large general security platform; however, it didn’t have a DTAC portal, and a specialist NHS consultancy, but with software that wasn’t mature. They also approached Naq, the automated compliance platform. De Grey expands:  

“Luckily, whilst talking to NHS experts, we spoke with the founder of RareCan, an innovation that specialises in finding clinical trials for patients with rare cancer, who recommended we look at Naq to achieve DTAC compliance. 

“We’re glad we did. We are extremely impressed with the platform. Naq is the perfect balance between an NHS specialist and having very good software.” 

The result

After an introductory walk-through call with Naq, the COGS AI team were up and running using the automated healthcare compliance platform. Just a couple of months on, and COGS AI is in a good place with data protection, and on-track to meet DTAC. 

De Grey describes the impact “Since adopting Naq, compliance has become ingrained into the culture of the company. It’s helped us to build in good practice from the start, getting the fundamentals in place.” 

Using a self-serve platform has also meant the COGS AI team can move at a pace that suits them. They’re able to balance compliance tasks with other demands of the business, whilst ensuring they meet DTAC in plenty time to apply for an upcoming tender. 

De Grey shares his compliance workload “Typically, I spend one or two hours on compliance every week. At the beginning of the week, I assign three to five tasks to team members, who tick the tasks off when they’re done. At this steady rate, I anticipate it will take 6 to 9 months to get DTAC. But what’s great about Naq is that if a more pressing need arises, we can accelerate this.”

Although what initially most appealed about Naq was how good the platform is, COGS AI have been also delighted by the speed and how the Naq team respond to queries. De Grey expands: 

“Especially for an early-stage start-up, you don’t have all the infrastructure in place. Naq understand what it is to be an early-stage company, giving really useful advice, shaped based on the stage we are at. 

“One of the best bits of advice we’ve been given for selling into the NHS is ‘Make yourself easy to procure.’ DTAC helps with this, as it ensures we have good practices in place, helping us to get onto procurement frameworks.

“My advice to others needing to sell into the NHS and meet DTAC, is to speak to Naq.”