Spending in healthcare IT continues at rapid pace. According to MerCom Capital Group, in Q2 2017 alone, VC firms invested $1.6 billion in consumer-centric companies; $765 million in personal health companies; $463 million in the mobile health category; $201 million in telehealth; and $197 million in scheduling, rating, and comparison shopping companies (among other categories). Clearly, there?s tremendous confidence in technology?s ability to increase access to care, improve outcomes, encourage workflow efficiencies, and even reduce costs. But how are digital health startups to manage the challenge of scaling up their businesses, especially given the skepticism of many in the provider space (i.e. often, their users)?
According to a 2016 survey by the American Medical Association (AMA), 85% of physicians say digital tools are advantageous to patient care. But adoption has not kept pace with that sentiment. A leading reason why? The vast majority of physicians (75% in the practice space alone) often don?t like the technology they use, and almost as many (68%) fail to see the ROI.
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“Clinicians are clear on what they want and need from digital health tools,” says Tommy White, Vice President of Solutions Management at PointClear Solutions. In addition to expectations for increased patient safety, improved diagnostic capabilities, and more efficient processes, they want tools that are interoperable, secure, and covered by standard malpractice insurance. Digital startups, especially those looking to scale up, need to understand the “call to action.?”
According to White, digital health companies looking to grow and evolve their products should keep these four strategies front and center:
- Make your end-users (physicians, office administrators, patients, etc.) a part of your strategy and design process from the very beginning. While it may be tempting to just build or expand your product in ways you think your users want, it’s important to take time to understand their unique pains and perspectives. Doing so will help you determine and prioritize needed features and functionality.
- Understand the regulatory environment ? and build to (or beyond) standards. In addition to product efficacy and safety (especially in the medical device space), close attention should be paid to patient privacy and security.
- Collect accurate and relevant data that clinicians can use to improve both outcomes and the patient experience. Nowhere is the value of precise data more important than in healthcare, where lives are often on the line. Amassing the right data “and presenting it in an easy-to-understand and actionable way” is critical.
- Never lose sight of the importance of usability and interoperability. It doesn’t matter how amazing your product is, if it doesn’t a.) make the provider’s life easier / better, and b.) work with everything else, it won’t be embraced.
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