May 25, 2017
The emerging healthcare technology industry is paving the way for large-scale tech integration into healthcare delivery. Start-ups in the domain are making significant headway in fields such as machine learning, data analytics, wearables and creating platforms to facilitate easy communication and information delivery between patients and healthcare providers. The healthcare system in India has been plagued by serious problems like underutilization of resources, underemployment, declining productivity, and archaic mindsets. However, market forces are continuing to pave the way for disruption.
Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, these new-age ventures have taken it upon themselves to rid the system of these problems and address major issues inherent to the traditional model of healthcare service access and delivery in the country. Although the digital healthcare model continues to gain traction, Indian healthcare start-ups face their fair share of challenges, just like start-ups operating in other sectors. This gives rise to a question – what does it take to create a successful healthcare tech start-up? Here are a few essential fundamentals that emerging entrepreneurs in this increasingly competitive market segment need to pay attention to in order to survive and thrive:
One of the most essential elements of building a successful start-up is the understanding of the sector that has been chosen. This holds especially true in healthcare, a highly complex industry with vast product and service segments. Thus, it is imperative for entrepreneurs to acquaint themselves with the industry through extensive market research and interactions with experts as well as consumers before they reach the planning and product development stage.
The essential qualities for a tech-based healthcare product are uniqueness and differentiation. The product must fulfil a need which no other competitor does by offering consumers a distinctive value proposition or it must create disruption within the market. A clear vision of what the company aims to achieve, the needs it promises to fulfil and the specific consumer problems it intends to rectify are the questions that can best help businesses develop an innovative and consumer-centric product.
Your strategic design can greatly influence your success in securing funding from investors, as it is the sum of the company vision, the value you aim to offer, your area of focus in healthcare, your strategic objectives and the actions that you propose to take to achieve them. All these elements together help create a business plan or model. A good management team always endeavors to stick to their core business offerings (product/service) based on the primary business model.
Once the business model is in place, scaling up is the next thing that start-ups need to do to grow their business. A scalable business has the potential to multiply its revenue streams and undertake more processes on a larger scale without compromising its performance or losing revenue. Scalability means flexibility, which helps the business tackle newer demands and face growth challenges as they arise. Ensuring scalability can help start-ups in achieving regular and sustained growth, in turn translating into more clients, customers and users.
For entrepreneurs, it is important to stay informed on the latest trends and innovations in the healthcare sector as well identify the areas where innovation is absent. Transparent information delivery systems can help to reduce unethical practices in healthcare by integrating machine learning, and predictive analytics into traditional systems. Wearable technology with health tracking mechanisms has been one of the most innovative products combining product engineering with efficient data collection and management.
Wearable technology will be an integral component of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) in collecting useful data on patients and predicting certain outcomes, thereby aiding healthcare providers in taking accurate preventive actions. Developing technologies that integrate IoT data from hardware with a hospital’s internal system will make it easier for doctors and medical professionals to identify and treat various lifestyle and hereditary diseases, thus improving the overall longevity of people.
Transparency is one of the key necessities in the healthcare sector something which any health-tech start-up must offer to both patients and healthcare providers. Easily accessible and simplified electronic healthcare records (EHR) will allow healthcare providers to collect and retrieve patients’ healthcare data at each stage of care and ensure a more efficient delivery of healthcare services. This will also allow for better cross-referencing of information and interoperability between key players in the healthcare value chain, such as hospitals, healthcare firms, general practitioners, and pharmacists.
Both new and existing healthcare technology start-ups must focus on creating products that enhance consumer knowledge and allow them to compare treatments and costs between various healthcare service providers, discover and avail services that are reliable, efficient and affordable.
Engage and build communities
Engagement with public and hospital fraternities is essential for healthcare tech start-ups. Through tools like mobile apps, social media platforms, online forums etc., they can help connect healthcare service providers with patients through online communities. Relevant user-generated content creates a shared emotional connection for a brand. It drives engagement on the platform by helping Individuals find support, seek advice, access resources and share their stories with other patients facing similar issues, thus building trust among consumers.
From a business perspective, the creation of such online communities also assists healthcare companies to derive valuable consumer insights, understand consumer behavior, identify latent demands, and position healthcare start-ups as an additional sales channel for hospitals.
Passion and belief
Between all the strategizing and planning, entrepreneurs must hold on to their passion for innovation and have an unwavering belief in their long-term vision. The process of building a start-up is complex and tedious and often demands perseverance from entrepreneurs. The same is true for a start-up operating in the healthcare sector, which is fast emerging as one of the most competitive market segments in the country.