Helping Patients Find Faster Diagnosis | Miranda Mapleton

Helping Patients Find Faster Diagnosis | Miranda Mapleton

Miranda Mapleton

CEO of White Swan

Miranda Mapleton started White Swan in 2016—a registered charity with a mission to improve the health of society using technology and analytics, to accelerate diagnosis and improve the effectiveness of treatment. Miranda’s vision, drive, and ability to engage others and create clarity from ambiguity have been key to becoming the global organization it is today, powered by over 130 volunteers in addition to its employees, Trustees, and Clinical Advisory Board.

Not hailing from a technological background, Miranda was always curious to know the possibilities of how technology could shape and improve the future. And, in turn, how it could change and save lives. 

Within two months of its inception, White Swan had attracted over 30 volunteers, convincing people to give up their time for free to serve those in need, a big step for anyone in today’s world. Starting from a completely blank sheet of paper, Miranda enjoyed setting the vision and strategy for the organization.

The only ‘given’ was to “utilize Black Swan’s technology for good.” “The possibilities were endless. And no other organization is doing the type of work White Swan is.

At every step along the journey we have faced endless potential paths and opportunities, so the ability to create clarity from ambiguity and set us on a clear path for the future has been essential.”

Miranda is a big advocate of women in leadership positions. She has led, guided and mentored many women in the previous organizations she has worked with, such as PepsiCo and Mars, and currently continues to do so with White Swan. Her advice to everyone is to embrace challenges outside of their comfort zone and say ‘yes’ to a new challenge. “If you’re a fast learner and open to the input of others, then you’ll learn, grow, and succeed! Ask for help – it’s surprising how many people want to help if you just ask. People love sharing their wisdom, making connections and feeling as though they have made a difference to someone else,” says Miranda. “If you’re unsure, ask. Pay forward too, be generous with your advice and help. Be your best self – people join you on your journey because they buy into you – your values and behaviors. Everyone loves a mission, but it’s your  passion and energy that attracts the best people to join you.” Armed with these qualities, Miranda has been leading the organisation to new heights.

White Swan was inspired by the story of Julie King, sister to Steve King (CEO and founder of Black Swan Data Ltd). Julie had been seriously ill and wheelchair-bound for many years with an undiagnosed condition. Steve and his team used Black Swan’s technology to analyze millions of social conversations to spot patterns and find out what was wrong with Julie. They identified two rare conditions she hadn’t been tested for and, armed with this new information, went to her doctors, and it turned out she had one of them. Now on the correct medication, she’s out of her wheelchair and leading a normal life again.  She is even completing triathlons!  Steve and Miranda had been personal and professional friends for many years.  Naturally, he asked someone he trusted to create White Swan as a ‘not for profit’ offshoot of Black Swan.  Inspired by Julie’s story, White Swan’s mission is to improve the health of society using technology and analytics – accelerate diagnosis and improve the effectiveness of treatment.

“We believe competition is healthy when it drives us to improve and deliver better solutions for the people of the world. White Swan is unique in its leadingedge proprietary technology and data science combination with charity status and mission. No other organization in the world is as advanced as us in our utilization of social data to support the acceleration of diagnosis,” says Miranda. White Swan has a specialist capability in prediction and pattern recognition, combining hundreds of data sources and billions of online conversations to identify signals in the data, and show how these signals can be interpreted to derive unbiased patient insight, supporting organizations’ strategies and decisions.           

White Swan combines two key ingredients to help solve problems for their partners: Firstly, they leverage Black Swan’s proprietary technology – which uses natural language processing (extracting meaning from text), machine learning techniques (training up the technology to tackle specific questions), and other approaches to making sense out of complex data sets. Secondly, White Swan’s brilliant people use ground-breaking solutions to complex problems, including cutting-edge data science and their proprietary taxonomy, combined with expertise across insights, marketing, computer science, health, and environmental science fields.

“We work with a wide variety of organizations – both private and public sector – across the spectrum of health areas, from cardiology, arthritis, dementia, mental health to rare diseases.  Examples of our work include: Working with the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation, to further improve their already world-leading cancer care patient experience,” adds Miranda.  According to the Chief Nurse at the Royal Marsden NHS Trust, “We want to be at the fore-front of patient care, so I was genuinely excited when I read the report – this has the potential to have a significant positive impact on patient experience at The Royal Marsden.”

Their current major focus is on accelerating the path to diagnosis for the c500 million people worldwide suffering long term undiagnosed, with a proprietary technology called Million Minds, which automates the process Steve used to help his sister.  Million Minds is a unique and innovative app that combines collective patient experience with enhanced symptom and lifestyle tracking, powered by proprietary technology and leading-edge data science models, to help those suffering undiagnosed to help themselves and their doctors find a diagnosis. “Our dataset already includes 200 million online social conversations (but we have limitless access), which we can mine to deliver insights into conditions and symptoms, from the earliest signs to treatment experiences,” explains Miranda.

“White Swan is different to most organisations CEO magazine feature because it is a charity. The vast majority of man hours spent achieving our mission are given freely by volunteers. It takes very special people-orientated leadership to get all of these people working, virtually, worldwide, without payment, towards our mission.  We are hugely grateful to every one of them for their efforts to help us improve the health of society using our proprietary technology and analytics capability”.

Miranda Mapleton Award

" White Swan is unique in its leading-edge proprietary technology and data science combination with charity status and mission."

Miranda Mapleton

CEO of White Swan

The Corporate Magazine Business Leader April 2022 Edition
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