Digital Health Startups should try need-driven innovation

We are convinced through experimentation and experience that the medical profession should adopt targeted technological tools to improve the efficiency of their services as well as the clinical results for their patients. There is an inescapable and sometimes understandable lag. We have been pondering where the problem of the resistance to the use of these technological devices in the medical world could really come from. What if we (technology companies) have the wrong strategy?

The difficulty in setting up medical technology could have several origins: doctors uninformed about the advantages of new technologies, suspicious, too attached to their habits to accept this change, products designed not adapted to needs, clinically non-compliant products...

Today, we focused on existing startups in this field and would like to share with you this captivating article written by Dr. Paul Yock, cardiologist, health technology innovator, and professor of medicine and bioengineering, about the main reasons leading the majority of digital-health-startups to fail in the implementation of technology products in the medical world.

He quotes these two interesting answers:

  • « As longtime healthcare venture capitalist Rob Coppedge explains, “considerable capital was burned by digital health startups without building truly sustainable businesses” because founders “lacked expertise, underappreciated healthcare specific workflows and misunderstood the full healthcare consumer journey.” »

  • « Arlen Myers, president of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, indicate that many digital health startups fail because they don’t satisfy the needs of multiple stakeholders, make products that interfere with physician workflow instead of making it easier, or launch products that are not clinically validated. »


So, what solution could be considered? Digital health startups should try need-driven innovation.

Often, these startups do not take the time to properly analyze the needs of consumers before designing a product which usually leads to failure. To realize the promise of digital health, digital health startups should start by ensuring that their products meet the needs of physicians and patients, that their use improves the process of medical diagnosis, treatment and surveillance and that they make it possible to gain efficiency, accessibility, precision... Technology must help doctors to do their job, so the products designed must be useful for them so they could adopt them.

« As digital health continues to take off, success will be determined by getting the need right, designing innovative solutions that address stakeholders’ top priorities, and then demonstrating that a product provides better results. »


By Lucie Gonzalez (guest blogger and researcher)