You have an idea for digital health technology. How do you pull that idea out of abstraction and into reality? Especially when you yourself aren’t exactly the world’s best developer. Don’t panic. There’s a clear, well-trodden path for taking a digital tech idea and bringing it into existence.
In this article, we run through guidelines on how to launch your digital health startup
What to Keep in Mind
Keep in mind that you are entering a conservative marketplace. Particularly if you are marketing your digital technology to hospitals. Around 84% of healthcare providers say that they would prefer doing business on paper. On paper! Like it’s 1987.
Another 64% of doctors view digital technology as a barrier to care. Is it?
Well, good technology certainly is not a barrier to quality care. But it’s easy to understand where this perspective is coming from. The average doctor is 52 years old. That means that when they were coming up through medical school, and even before then, digital technology was considerably more obscure and out of reach than it is today.
The old guard is slow to adopt new technology, and who could blame them? They spent roughly a decade in school learning how to do things one way, and digital technology comes around and says, “No. Do it this way instead.”
Also bear in mind that depending on the nature of your program — whether or not it interacts with sensitive patient information — you may need to make sure that the application is HIPAA compliant as well.
The government regulations on healthcare technology are very strict, so consider consulting an expert throughout the developmental process. It will be your responsibility, and not the responsibility of the development team to make sure your product complies with all of the relevant regulations.
Develop a Business Plan
A business plan is basically your road map, laying out how you plan to make money with your idea. Actually, for that reason, you may be working on your business plan consecutively with our next step—which is to develop an idea and bring it into the world.
However, it’s always a good idea to start at the drawing board, before you’ve thrown any money into your idea.
Keep in mind that business plans aren’t just for you. They are also a great way to attract potential investors, so take as much time as you need. Make it clear and communicative.
But also go in with a critical eye. A good business plan isn’t about throwing up what you hope will happen, but what probably will happen if you do A, B, and C. Consequently, a good business plan may even be able to help you recognize shortcomings in your product or strategy, and address them before too much money has gone into the idea.
Develop Digital Led Solutions
Every good business starts with an idea. You see a problem and figure out a way that your business can be a solution to that problem. In the digital health niche, this means finding a software solution for an issue within the healthcare industry, but it also means designing, testing, and revising it. Usually many times over.
Digital technology has a notoriously difficult developmental phase. It’s not just a question of bringing something new into the world, but also one of taking an idea that exists in one person’s head, passing that idea off to a team and hoping that what comes out the other end is a close fit to the original idea. In Platonic terms, it’s a bit of a nightmare.
And of course, you also have to do all of that while staying on budget and meeting deadlines. In this case, the deadlines are somewhat self-imposed but important just the same. Digital technology in every industry moves very quickly. It’s important to assume that your competitors are always nipping at your heels.
Once your product is developed and goes through its lengthy revision cycle, you can move on to the next step.
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in a project that you lose the ability to see it through an outsider’s eyes. By the time you’ve made your product and spent many (many, many) months developing it, you’ll know the ins and outs of your digital product, to the extent that you’ll probably find it intuitive and easy to use.
Well, let outsiders be the judge of that. Get feedback from the type of people who will be using your digital healthcare solution when it actually hits the market. They will be able to present you with questions and ideas that probably would never have crossed your mind organically.
And yes. The feedback stage often does involve looping back around for more revision and development. Pricey, time-consuming, and frustrating. But also key to bringing your product to market.
Building a house is about more than picking a location and throwing up a frame. You need roads to get there, electricity hookups, water, sewage, and so on. The same goes for digital products.
You need to make sure that there is an infrastructural framework to host and receive your product when the developmental phase is complete. This includes everything from broadband, to data centers, cloud services, and communication technologies. Back-end stuff that makes sure your product is ready to go.
Once you’ve checked all the boxes, it’s finally time for your product launch. The nice thing about digital technology is that it has a tendency to grow quickly in popularity when it hit the market. That’s the nature of software as a service. It’s so easy for customers to change digital technology companies, that they will do so at the drop of a hat if they find a better solution.
Here’s hoping that’s how it goes for you. Whatever happens, don’t panic. Starting your own business can be stressful, but you’ve put your time in. You’re ready for whatever comes next!