The world of health care is a sector that is currently undergoing tremendous changes, which were somehow forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth of the population and the great diversity in conditions and lifestyles have led to the need for innovations that will make medical services more accessible and understandable. For this reason, many entrepreneurs have begun to take an interest in health tech. More and more startups have recently emerged to try to improve the process of using medical services for patients. Unfortunately, the development of a health tech product is much more complicated than other types of business and requires not only skillful navigation in the world of IT but also in terms of laws and… human issues, as health tech, in some ways, requires a great deal of sensitivity and focus on the needs of another human being.
Launching a new health tech product is difficult because not everyone responds to market needs. Still, with watchful attention and the right approach, it’s possible to create a solution that will change medical services for the better.
How to begin building a medical startup?
When creating a startup, the most important thing is to assemble a team of people whose competencies complement each other well and who understand your business vision well. In hiring a team, finding an experienced Chief Technology Officer (CTO) who will manage the entire development process and select the right technical components to match your startup’s requirements is crucial. It is also worthwhile for such a person to understand the specifics of building medical products. The CTO will manage and recruit software engineers, mentor the team, and optimize processes and code quality. Keep in mind that both your CTO and developers can be hired through outsourcing, which allows you to reach the right people often at a lower cost. Outsourcing is a solution through which you can get specialists from virtually all over the world, therefore, if you care about a team with the right experience, it is not worth excluding this employment option.
Once you have a team in place and ready to go, the main steps you need to take when building a startup are:
When writing a business plan, unfortunately, from the beginning, we are revolving in a slightly unreal world. We are trying to get into the details of a product that no one has used yet, and the assumed projections in the financial plan are completely fictitious. What can be predicted, however, are the costs. Office expenses, salaries, hosting costs – it all depends on the type of product you release. And when it comes to revenues, startups should follow two basic recommendations when estimating them – less and later (you can assume that after launching a service, 1 thousand people will use it in the first month, 2 thousand in the second, and after a year – already 50 thousand people per month). Of course, revenue estimation for startups is often combined with a considerable amount of risk and optimism. Still, they are the ones who can create innovations – don’t forget that the goal is to improve users’ relationship with the medical industry and consequently make it easier for them to access health services.
Medical advisory board
It’s always a good idea to invite experts on the subject – in this case, specialists who have experience in the medical industry and know its needs well. By reaching out to experts in the medical market, you increase the chance of releasing a well-thought-out product that will not be based on a lucky guess but a thorough analysis of its business potential. Remember, the more passionate about the topic in the team, the better for the product!
The U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a security profile that protects EPHI (Electronically Protected Health Information) data. When your medical startup or patient website enables online account creation or online billing services, the legal standards set by HIPAA will be required for you to follow. While HIPAA is not a law that applies everywhere, compliance with HIPAA ensures adherence to sensitive data protection requirements for IT systems security. HIPAA is recognized and has a high level of importance for users who may have trouble trusting a product that doesn’t meet all the standards that protect their privacy. To ensure you are not violating any of these key rules, you can contact a consultant or legal team specializing in HIPAA compliance.
MVP – Minimum Viable Product
A Minimum Viable Project is a product with the minimum number of features representing the required value for a test group of users. In other words, it is a prototype that allows you to gather feedback on the functionality of an idea and the finished software of a given application. Minimum Viable Product will enable you to analyze the market and test a given hypothesis quickly. This is a precious opportunity to gain information and insight into the actual feelings of customers about specific product features, which allows you to avoid many mistakes in the future and thus – save budget.
Build your app or website
Even if your medical product is in physical form – prepare a website or app. Brand visibility is essential, especially for a startup that has to deal with accumulating new audiences as quickly as possible. A functional website and a user-friendly app make the brand’s position more established and contact with the audience more accessible. You can enrich any business with an application with a properly built profile, such as eCommerce, video chat, or patient portal.
Continuous development of your Health Tech product
Launching a medical startup is remarkably linked to the need for continuous product improvement and development. The medical industry and the requirements of patients tend to change dynamically, of which the COVID-19 epidemic was a prime example. Optimizing one’s services for users and keeping up with the latest trends in health tech development is crucial for startups to generate patient interest and sympathy and meet their business goals. The health tech sector is demanding because it is necessary to understand its audience, employees, and strict regulations deeply, so constant vigilance is essential in this case.
The demanding market
Since the medical sector is still considered quite conservative, and not a few institutions still prefer to use manual methods instead of new technologies, health tech startups face the major challenge of convincing medical professionals with refined and reliable products. Nowadays, competition in the health tech industry is exceptionally high, so it is necessary to carefully analyze the effect of common mistakes, which ultimately become “to be or not to be” for many new products.
The most common mistakes that can be avoided
It is challenging not to make any mistakes when building a health tech startup. There are a few mistakes that we have observed that happen most often and that can be safely eliminated after reviewing and learning from them.
Irresponsible people in management positions
Hiring a CTO who doesn’t understand the specifics of the medical industry and the responsibility of the people who will use the product in the future can carry unpleasant consequences. The handling of sensitive data, which includes information about the health of patients, as well as the relationship with them in the context of the product’s functionality (which should be as inclusive as possible), must be supported by a person who has not only a lot of experience in technology but also a tremendous amount of empathy.
It is rarely the case that a startup can follow strictly the business plan set out at the very beginning. Of course, initial research is essential, but you should be open to any opportunities to improve your product from the angle of user needs. If your motivation is only to generate quick income – better change it. After all, the idea of health tech is to bring innovative solutions to patients that will make the treatment process more accessible. More than one startup has failed due to a misunderstanding of this specificity and a desire for a quick profit.
On the other hand, money is inherent in any business, so it’s essential to have a good strategy for generating revenue. The idea is to plan the distribution of the budget in such a way that it doesn’t run out before you convince stakeholders of your product. It’s a good idea to get into a conversation with them as soon as possible to understand their expectations and prepare yourself for the right amount of time to earn a profit.
Many startups consider marketing unnecessary, which is a shame. Through proper marketing, a product can quickly increase brand visibility and positioning online and build solid, valuable networking for the entire development process. You can create the world’s best product, but it won’t do much good if no one hears about it, and users will reach for a likable technology that is simply louder. Good brand communication makes your product more accessible to users and its values more understandable.
Lack of trust
Since, as we mentioned above, the medical sector is somehow very conservative, it is vital to build trust among large health tech companies, hospitals, and various medical institutions. That’s why it’s essential to have specialists in the medical industry on your team who can prove the value of your product and differentiate it from the competition.
Failure to meet compliance standards
In every country, industry regulations can differ, so it is necessary to take compliance standards very seriously and respect them 100 percent. Ignorance of legal restrictions on health tech products can result in substantial financial fines and a complete loss of trust among patients and employees of medical institutions.
Ignorance of feedback
We know we’ve written this before, but it’s worth highlighting – the goal of health tech solutions is to facilitate patients’ processes related to their treatment. It’s a very people-oriented situation, so closing yourself off only to internal communication can be very detrimental to the success of your product in this case. It’s worth catching any feedback and making regular improvements and optimizations. Currently, many tools are available on the market that facilitates and automate the process of acquiring audience comments. One of them is the Rating Captain application, which, thanks to its wide range of functionalities, makes the acquisition of reviews very simple. The value of user feedback should be appreciated by any entrepreneur who cares about creating a product that will grow up with the market.
Do you want to discuss your idea for a health tech startup?
It happens that startups solve a problem outside the market needs. For this reason, in addition to market and competitor research, it is helpful to have an MVP, which can verify very quickly whether your product meets the real needs of its users and whether it has a chance to enter their daily lives.
To enter HealthTech or not
Although launching a health tech startup requires a tremendous amount of research, knowledge, and a keen awareness of the market, the current times are rooting for product development in this sector. Of course, startups always come with many risks, but often among their leaders, there are true visionaries who can deliver a product that is needed in the market and which becomes a positive change for many people who use medical services. At Applover, our job is to support these visions, thanks to experienced developers who have not only had more than one opportunity to face various health tech solutions but are constantly looking into this sector to be able to deliver only the best solutions.