By KELLI MURRAY, Founder, MedSpeaks
The final year-end 'Health Innovators' meeting was paneled by three distinguished leaders within our Florida community: Bill Fair, director of Life Sciences Business Development at Tavistock Development, responsible for researching and curating innovating companies moving to the Lake Nona area, Christian Caballero, director of Public Affairs at Foley & Lardner, LLP and president of the TeleHealth Association of Florida, which advocates on behalf of the healthcare and business communities, and Phil Fibiger, VP of Engineering at Voalte, an Orlando-based company that develops smartphone alternatives that simplify caregiver communication.
We asked these local experts a series of questions centered on how to overcome hurdles when it comes to pragmatically deploying a start-up in the healthcare space. Here are the top 10 pearls that came from the discussion:
Test your hypothesis with end users from Day 1. Have as many 'back-of-the-napkin' conversations as you can to validate the problem and potential solution.
Understand what end user requirements are before you build a technology solution.
Identify your champion in the health organization and don't ignore RNs, techs and therapists who understand back-end systems.
Think small - regional hospitals and clinics often have ambitious visions and seek ways to solve challenges as quickly and as cost effectively as possible. Local clinics and pharmacy groups can also offer great options to obtain customer proof points and references.
Be persistent with large health systems - "you may hear 'no' fifty-five times before you talk to the right person."
Recognize that healthcare remains a conservative industry that is at the forefront of being setup with innovation opportunities.
Do not ignore patient advocacy and disease associations because these groups generally have money for venture philanthropy and influence in the space.
Network as much as possible at industry events, both local and regional to raise awareness about your value and brand.
Be acutely aware that decisions are made based upon VALUE. For example, a telehealth visit costs $50 as compared to an ER visit that costs upwards of $500. For insurance payers, there is high value in keeping their costs low. For parents of young children, averting the ER lessens the inconvenience of commuting a sick child, eliminates unwanted disease exposure and wait times, and for hospitals, it reduces non-urgent cases from clogging the ER.
Be able to really prove ROI (return on investment) and/or identify an existing budget. For example, Voalte replaced wired/corded phones, which were already a budgeted capital expense. Seek out opportunities to "displace by replacing" existing spend.
For more information on medical entrepreneurialism and to get involved with the Health Innovators community, please send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.