Blog – Healthcare Science Week: Profile of Product leader Sophie Valentine as she talks about her career, her role at Healios and opportunities for AI in healthcare

14 March 2024

Creating innovative solutions to everyday challenges is an essential part of our work at Healios. By uniting technology and clinical expertise, we help young people and adults to access high quality care.

Sophie Valentine is VP Product Innovation at Healios, taking a leadership role in a team who work day in, day out to explore changes and additions to our clinical platform Panacea, with the aim of providing a better experience for our patients and clinicians and supporting effective clinical and operational outcomes.

As we continue to mark Healthcare Science Week (March 11-15) we’ve spoken to Sophie about her career journey and how she got involved in the world of digital health, as well as her upcoming appearance at London Tech Leaders’ roundtable on Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Focusing on impact

Sophie has worked at Healios for the last 18 months following a career which has taken her from academic research in the experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience space to working in digital health start-ups and scale-ups.

“Research was a little bit too slow for me. I’m very focused on impact,” Sophie explains. “It was a fun space to be in as I’m really interested in the brain, whether mental or brain health, or non-clinical – it’s a fascinating topic to spend your time thinking about.

“In parallel to the research I was doing, I worked with a tech-for-good start up and saw them grow massively from one founder to maybe 100 people when I left. I think they’re around 300-strong now.

“Seeing a small company just go out there and do it, and realising that if you’re thoughtful about how you approach a problem you can create impact in a really short period of time, really sold me on the value of industry.”

Owning the problem and driving an effective solution

Sophie’s team aims to understand how to evolve Panacea to help Healios stand out from the crowd through offering sector-leading online autism and ADHD assessments and mental health support.

“My role is to work with the team – designers, user researchers, engineers, engineering leadership and so on – to keep us laser-focused on driving the company mission through the clinical platform,” Sophie says.

“We look at the platform and at our patients’ and customers’ pain points to understand how we can leverage our internal resources effectively to create the largest impact through the smallest effort.

“We’re a really small team, so it’s all about ensuring we create bang for our collective buck. Right now, we’re focused on ensuring our clinicians have the tools they need to make the most of their invaluable time to create benefit for our customers and patients.

“Essentially, the role of Product is to really own the problem and drive forward an effective solution.”

A team making a difference

Eighteen months in, Sophie’s role with Healios is continuing to evolve as the company, as well as the digital health sector, grows.

“Recently, I’ve really enjoyed being able to operate across a broader problem spectrum. Having the mandate to say that impact is the only thing that the team should care about right now, and will work towards, has been really empowering.

“I think Product functions can sometimes be seen as being a bit frivolous; we’re creating and evidencing impact daily, which I’m unbelievably proud of.

“The team is fantastic. We work on 2-4 projects simultaneously across six week cycles, and after every cycle – when we start to see impact emerge in our metrics – we take a moment to look back and reflect on the value we’re creating. I’m so humbled and proud to work with a team who are just constantly knocking it out of the park and really making a difference.”

London Tech Leaders panel

Sophie’s knowledge and reputation in digital health has been recognised by an invite to join a roundtable hosted by London Tech Leaders in the capital taking place on Wednesday, 20 March (more details here).

Sophie will provide a healthcare perspective in the discussion on AI, a hot topic in all areas of life.

She said: “I’m very embedded in everything that’s happening in health and AI – the volume and significance of which can’t be overstated – so it’s great to bring that to the forefront of more generalist AI discussions.

“Non-clinical applications, like self-driving cars, smart homes, consumer tech, and so on, are really hot topics as they‘re close to our everyday lives. Being able to shine a spotlight on the massive impact, as well as the risk, that AI offers healthcare is a real honour.

“AI can help people who simply wouldn’t get access to care to receive life changing support to help them be happier and healthier.

“It can also bring antiquated clinical models into the 21st century to the significant benefit of both patients and healthcare systems like the NHS. I think it’s really important to have healthcare AI introduced into those discussions because of the sheer massive social impact.”

AI in Healthcare – something to embrace or fear?

There is a lot of negativity and apprehension around AI and how it will change our lives in the coming years.

Sophie says people are right to be cautious but she is excited about the ‘great opportunities’ on offer, particularly in the neurodevelopmental space where Healios works.

Sophie said: “In the very near term there are opportunities to be more efficient and sustainable around our clinical processes.

“Of course it’s fundamental to think about, mitigate, and manage risk. At the same time it gets quite exciting to think about the difference AI could one day make.

“Then there is the broader perspective around the way we diagnose ADHD and autism, which in general is extremely subjective. A lot of these assessments are pretty old and were originally clinically validated in a fairly homogenous population.

“This isn’t atypical in behavioural science or even clinical science, but it does beg the question of how technology we have now but didn’t have then could help us do better.

“So the opportunity is there for AI to come in and actually create better assessments that are not only faster, such that access is improved, but also that can help clinicians diagnose with greater accuracy.

“The impact of misdiagnosis and missed diagnoses in the neurodevelopmental space is really high. While right now there’s a strong focus on improved access through greater efficiency (the world simply doesn’t have the clinicians needed to meet demand) the opportunity for improved clinical quality is clear.

“And anything that has the opportunity to create impact is definitely worth looking at seriously.”

What are your thoughts on how AI could be best harnessed in healthcare? Do you think the positives outweigh the negatives?

If you’d like more information about Healios and our clinical platform Panacea visit or any organisation looking to find out more about Healios’ pathway can visit

Skip to content