On the surface, the healthcare and tech industries seem like oil and vinegar. One moves at lightning speed, and the other has historically moved a little slower. Reflecting on this, it’s surprising to see the two worlds merge, yielding unprecedented growth in digital health solutions, direct-to-consumer healthcare, remote patient monitoring, wearable devices and more. By 2025, experts say the digital health market will grow to $536.6 billion.
This growth indicates opportunity–for patients, companies, clinicians and the industry as a whole. It also means that the new normal in healthcare is constant change. Navigating these changes can be incredibly difficult, especially if your background isn’t in healthcare–often the case with founders in this space, including myself.
As we see evolution occur at such a rapid pace, it’s creating opportunity for new ideas, new people and new organizations. But it doesn’t mean launching a new concept is easy. Healthcare is unlike any other industry with unique obstacles to growth and barriers that make it cumbersome to scale nationwide.
While, yes, these factors make it challenging, it’s not impossible. Here are three secrets to successfully scale.
1. Don’t try to be an expert. It seems counterintuitive to not become an expert within an industry where you want to succeed. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t constantly learn and grow, but it’s infeasible to understand every crucial detail that will impact your organization.
Healthcare can be complicated. There are regulations at the state and federal levels, countless acronyms and so many moving parts. Additionally, today as old industry standards shift, there are new and different scrutinies being placed on both newcomers and veterans. To share just one example, as the patient experience becomes more consumer-focused, advertising regulations are quickly evolving as they aim to keep pace with the industry.
My advice to leaders, especially those who don’t have a healthcare background, is to find trusted advisors. Advisors will help you maneuver this dynamic industry. Having them at your side will ensure you can make the most informed decisions to thrive in a constantly changing landscape.
2. Rethink the way your hire–especially your clinical team. Innovations in digital health are creating healthcare’s workplace revolution–a revolution in which flexibility is king. Today, clinicians have access to unprecedented autonomy right at their fingertips–a top contributing factor to their quick adoption of telehealth technology. To succeed, it’s imperative that digital health organizations lean into this new way of working.
The millennial workforce is prioritizing work-life balance, and tomorrow’s clinicians will want more freedom, with patient consults tailored to the needs of their day-to-day lives. This new normal is creating happier clinicians, but it’s also good business for organizations in the digital health space.
The time-intensive process of hiring, credentialing, onboarding and scheduling a clinical team can be one of the biggest barriers to growth. To scale nationwide, organizations need to harness the power of the gig economy. This is crucial for startups who might find themselves competing against better funded entities.
Leverage clinicians who specialize in telehealth and can grow with you, or consider a turnkey clinical team that can easily scale up or down to meet new needs as you expand or experience busy seasons that require surge support.
3. Embrace being a changemaker. The previous two points are in support of a bigger objective–you need the right partners to succeed. Yes, it’s an age-old piece of advice, but especially critical in healthcare.
We’ve established that there are ample business and growth opportunities, but most importantly, there’s an opportunity to change the way healthcare works to provide better access, affordability and patient outcomes. Digital health has seen a record-breaking amount of funding this past year, and it’s being led by people who see a new path forward.
So, what’s the litmus test to find a great partner for your digital health organization? They should remove a considerable amount of burden from you and your team, all in support of empowering you as a leader to maintain focus on your big picture “why.” That could be bringing the doctor’s office to your patient’s living room, making at-home testing more accessible or a new concept that doesn’t even exist yet.
To close, healthcare is an intricate industry that can be hard for newcomers to navigate, and today, it’s evolving faster than ever. If we want to continue down this path of change, inspired individuals need to find a way to successfully bring their ideas to market. This isn’t just a secret to scaling, but to creating meaningful impact in our nation’s healthcare system.
Michelle Davey is the CEO and co-founder of Enzyme Health. The startup is changing the way healthcare works, bringing top clinicians and innovative digital health companies together.