Founders story

How the healthwave story started

More about us

Healthwave originally existed to serve digital service users’ needs better.

They face numerous challenges – access to broadband or data, lack of equipment, language barriers, unfamiliarity with certain digital tools.

But it goes deeper. Because we’ve also discovered that many of the teams put in place to support designated users also don’t have the necessary skills to implement digital services effectively.

What Healthwave offers is a complete end-to-end solution to consult on, design, deliver and optimise digital services. We cover everything from community engagement at the grass roots level, to the technology to deliver and measure services, to culture change and skills development within your public sector organisation.

Working at speed and at scale, we take a continuous temperature check of service users’ needs so that digital services continue to serve everyone effectively as the pace of digital change accelerates.

We do digital transformation. And we sustain digital service effectiveness in the long term.

Who we are

Healthwave was founded by Dr Rehan Symonds and Oliver Sleeman after they met at a GP network meeting in Cornwall. The agenda was to discuss the huge changes in the health system and reforms for improved, joined-up working,

They both shared the same frustrations at the slow pace of change and barriers to digital services rollout, and going into business together seemed the best route to try and create change for the better.

Healthwave began in healthcare but is now scaling across different sectors to address the sheer magnitude of digital exclusion, service design and uptake challenges.


Oliver Sleeman - Co-founder and Director

Oliver joined the NHS from a business development and fintech background. Prior to that he had spent many years working in the community sector supporting people who were unemployed. He came to believe strongly that people could be empowered to improve their health, work and wellbeing through technology.

After building a digital health testbed in Cornwall that attracted many technology companies worldwide to develop useful products with the NHS, he co-founded Healthwave to fill the gap in evaluation and community insights that unlock the true value of digital services.

Rehan Symonds - Co-founder and Director

Rehan spent 2 decades working in frontline clinical NHS roles, from central London Emergency Departments through to GP jobs in rural Cornwall. In recent years he founded a primary care research unit that engaged successfully in high-profile global clinical studies and represented his locality in an executive board level position at Kernow Health CIC.

Over time it became increasingly apparent to Rehan that evaluation, research and technology were poorly aligned with health system priorities and often were not designed to make sense for the individual user. Healthwave was born through conversations with Oliver around how the role of technology could be rapidly understood and iterated in real-time in a way that made sense to service users.