Free EMR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to EMR and HIPAA for FREE!!

Digital Health Is Hard

Posted on October 28, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I love talking to entrepreneurs. I like to describe entrepreneurship as my hobby. However, the more I talk with entrepreneurs, the more I realize how hard it is to build a company. We should know this since 90% of startup companies fail. I’ve started saying that the more I learn about starting a company, the more I wonder how any companies are successful. There are so many things that can cause a startup company to fail.

I think it’s fair to say that starting a company is hard.

Now you add on the complexities of healthcare and I’d suggest that digital health is even harder. Sure there might be some other industries that compete with healthcare on how hard it is to start a company, but it would be a very competitive competition to see which industry is more competitive. The reality is that it doesn’t matter if healthcare is harder or easier than other industries. That doesn’t change the fact that creating a digital health company is hard.

There are a wide variety of digital health companies out there. However, most of them I’ve seen are focused on one of these 4 areas: Payers, Hospitals/Health Systems (Enterprises), Doctors, or Patients. There are a few other variations, but that encapsulates the majority of digital health companies out there.

Selling something to any one of these 4 groups is a real challenge. The rigor that’s required by Payers, health systems, and doctors is incredible. Plus, even if you have a product that will benefit their organization it’s such a complex sales cycle for payers and health systems that you better be in it for the long haul. There’s very rarely one gatekeeper you need to convince that your product will benefit the organization. There are multiple gatekeepers and any one of them could derail the implementation of your product and solution.

Yes, it’s a bit easier to sell directly to doctors and patients, but there are so many of them and they are getting so many messages that it provides its own unique set of challenges. Doctors do have a lot of decision making power. This is particularly true in smaller practices and solo doc practices. However, they’ve got the constant barrage of messaging from every which way that it’s hard to make your message stand out. Remember that as a digital health company you’re competing with pharma companies who literally have boots on the ground visiting every doctor. That’s tough.

In the patient space there are so many fly by night apps out there that it’s a highly competitive market. Sure, you could have a viral hit with patients and it starts spreading like wildfire, but remember that a product that spreads virally also declines at a similar rate. Plus, viral spreading of an app is rare. In fact, there’s almost always a deep amount of work, sweat and tears behind the story of “viral” success.

Of course, in this post I’ve mostly talked about the challenges of marketing your healthcare IT product. I’m probably in that state of mind as I’m planning the healthcare IT marketing and PR conference. However, it’s just as hard to build a product that actually provides provable benefit to the users across the widely diverse healthcare system.

Digital health is hard. Startups are hard. That’s why we need more entrepreneurs with the special DNA to take on hard challenges. However, don’t underestimate how hard it is to built a digital health company. Of course, all the entrepreneurs reading this will take that as a challenge or disagree with me. That’s what makes them special.

Massive Health – Mozilla Firefox Creative Director’s “Design Renaissance” in Healthcare

Posted on December 15, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Hardly any of you have probably heard of Massive Health. Almost none of you have probably heard the name Aza Raskin. Few of you probably know that much about Mozilla Firefox beyond some of you using it to browse the internet. Let’s just say that Mozilla Firefox has changed web browsing as we know it and one of the creative people behind its success is named Aza Raskin.

Why does this matter to EMR and HIPAA? Well, Aza Raskin has announced that he’s leaving Mozilla to start a new health care startup company called Massive Health.

Currently, there’s not much information on the health care startup and only one tweet on the official Massive Health twitter account. Although, it already has 1488 followers. Which is pretty amazing for a healthcare twitter account that’s about a day old.

If you read Aza’s post about the move, you can tell that he takes a unique and thoughtful approach to design. Here’s one section that describes his goals in healthcare:

Each of us has a unique ability. I want to use mine—the knowledge to make products which are disruptively easier and more enjoyable to use—to change people’s lives. Life-changing not in the sense of a new social website or better email, but in making people’s lives materially better by helping them get and stay healthy. Anyone that’s been sick, overweight, or had to deal with a doctor knows that health is a field in dire need of humane design.

Humane Design. Sounds like a relative to the usability of EMR that I’ve talked so much about.

I’m intrigued by what Massive Health might do for healthcare. It seems like a consumer health startup more than one for doctors. I guess he has to start somewhere. I’ll be interested to see what type of creativity he brings to healthcare. A look at the Massive Health website (basically a landing page) looks like they’re going to have a lot of fun doing it too.