How to spot healthcare business ideas

How to spot healthcare business ideas

Healthcare is a vast ocean. Extremely complex. Disjointed. Many branches and sub-branches, some of which are industries unto their own.

Working in the industry, you get so deep in your neck of the woods that there’s no time to look up.

Nurses assisting patients. Doctors removing polyps from people’s guts. Front-office checking patients in and out. Administrators running behind everyone else.

Technologists tweaking circuits. Programmers updating their EHR. Analysts running reports. Pharma. Lawyers. Insurers. Suppliers. Equipment makers. The list is endless.

Not to forget patients for whom health systems exist.

Without exception, everyone is affected by healthcare. You. Your family. Your employer. Your economy. Either you are on the receiving end or the giving end.

Nearly every country would call their healthcare system somewhat flawed. Too expensive. Too few doctors. Too few hospital beds. Too many sick people. Too late by the time you get care. Too unsafe. Too archaic.

[Aside: Which country has the world’s best health system?]

In healthcare’s problems hide its future opportunities.

What bothers you bothers many others

When you are in a fix with your health or that of a loved one, it feels so overwhelming. Amidst fear and frustration, how could you even spot ideas? You can.

When you are struggling to lose weight or living with chronic conditions, know that your problem may not be as unique as you think.

When you broaden the problem beyond yourself, you will begin to notice opportunities around you.

Think similarly at work. Say you are a doctor burdened by more paperwork. Lesser time for patients. Increased administrative costs. EHRs with bad interfaces. Conscience dilemmas. Legal hassles. You aren’t alone.

Pause and observe the conundrums

Instead of allowing a problem to drown you, pause and observe everything that’s surrounding it.

Why are so many young people getting diabetes? Why aren’t increased regulations making the industry any more compliant?

Why are some doctors struggling financially despite being so well educated? Why are patients suffering after getting such expensive care?

Notice the form of these questions. They combine two realities, which on the surface don’t seem to fit together. Look for those questions.

[Read about the shifting landscape: 4 disturbing trends in healthcare]

Identify specific pains and unnamed desires

Talk to others in the field. Ask open-ended questions. Listen intently to identify pains and desires. Notice recurring themes.

Adolescent hypertensive patients. Doctors leaving medicine. Software developers who struggle to grasp healthcare regulation. Medical equipment that doesn’t talk to EHRs.

Before thinking of any solutions, focus on identifying specific problems. Learn everything you can about them.

Know where the world is going

Social media makes sure we are on top of many trends. No-checkout Amazon Go stores. Drone delivery. Cheap robots. 3D printing. Driverless trucks.

A google search will point you to a few others like genetic programming, microfluidics, and machine learning.

[For a grasp on trends, read: A million jobs in healthcare’s future]

Research the ones that seem relevant to your problem.

Connect the dots

Say your problem deals with increased hypertension among adolescents. Your research might take you to the latest guidelines.

Perhaps you’ve spoken to cardiologists and even to those in alternate therapy. You’ve spoken to suffering teenagers and their parents. You begin to deeply understand the broader problem.

Now, you can start connecting the dots – problems to trends – to arrive at new solutions.

Connecting adolescent hypertension to say AI or mobile apps, you might arrive at a tool to help teenagers take care of their condition.

That’s how you move from being troubled by healthcare to doing something about it. Step-by-step.

This complex industry needs fresher and simpler thinking. The ideas we need may already be inside you. All you have to do is spot them.

Here’s a question for you: What bothers you about our healthcare system? Write in the comments below.


Originally published on LinkedIn,  by Praveen Suthrum, President & Co-Founder, NextServices. 


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