We hear a lot of buzz in the industry and in the marketplace about the latest in digital healthcare. From artificial intelligence, machine learning, remote patient monitoring and wearable technology to home monitoring and data, data, data – digital healthcare has morphed into one of the most transformative healthcare trends.
While this is one of the most exciting times to be in the digital healthcare market, startups focused on this space need to make sure their product and service have three-fold impact: Improved patient outcomes, reduced cost of delivery, and quality of care. Cost, quality and patient experience often go unnoticed or ignored in favor of technical functionality. The latest and greatest digital healthcare technology will fail if the patients don’t understand how to use it, providers can’t implement it into their workflow, and payors won’t reimburse for its use.
By starting with a patient-centered focus, digital startups will find they may need to slow down and get a better understanding of the healthcare industry, which operates differently than the tech world. There are more stakeholders in healthcare that need consideration: doctors, patients, insurers, regulators; each of these stakeholders holds a unique perspective on the technology being adopted. Healthcare is complex because patients are complex. As digital startups focus on one area, such as a particular disease, they may stumble onto the multiple factors that contribute to that disease, what insurers do and don’t cover related to that disease and its symptoms, and more variables that directly or indirectly affect their product or service. The development of a product or service requires research into clinical practice, medical study, patient and doctor interviews, and several focus groups. Digital healthcare startups need to have patience – something that is unattractive to some investors, causing digital healthcare startups to rush into product development too quickly. Instead, involving key stakeholders early in the development process and fully understanding the concerns and perspective will allow these startups to impact the healthcare space where it matters most – patient care.
The Medical Futurist published a fantastic article earlier this year that highlights why healthcare startups fail. Forgetting about the patient, not including the provider, difficulty creating clinical value and overclaiming what the technology can do area just a few of areas discussed in this article.
Another area often overlooked by digital healthcare startups is the need to integrate. Healthcare data is massive, and there is no “central repository” to draw from. By understanding and embracing the need for shared services, integration with other startups or providers in the healthcare industry can foster innovation and better meet patient need or demand. Instead startups may focus on siloed solutions that make it difficult for providers to implement into their practice, thus not offering value to the patient. By understanding how patient data is viewed from a provider and payor perspective, digital healthcare startups will find out how their product or service will be most useful.
This is such an exciting time to be in the healthcare space. The satisfaction of making a positive impact in communities by improving patient care is why many startups dive into the healthcare space. By taking a few of these points into consideration, digital healthcare startups will find their endeavors bearing fruit.
About the Author
Tania Martin-Mercado, PhD, is the Chief Technology Officer of YGEIA, a digital healthcare company focused on home healthcare and chronic disease management. She holds various degrees in IT, healthcare, as well as biotechnology and is seasoned with a lot of experience at various prestigious posts throughout the years. Being a curious soul and always been fascinated with technology, Tania has been a part of various healthcare innovations