Do startups in the digital health space “sell” their solutions directly to healthcare providers in the US or through tech integrators (e.g., Accenture, IMS Health)?
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The startups I'm aware of that have done this have started by approaching individual doctors to gauge their interest and give them demos and/or MVPs to try out. If that works out, they contact those in charge of purchasing. This is certainly not any easy approach though, doctors are constantly getting approached by startups with some new app that they want to be tried out. Keep in mind that doctors already have a complicated workflow, and something that you might think will make their life easier, will in reality make it more complicated and lead to more problems. Also, there can be a lot of red tape.
One company I mentored had an Indian cofounder, so they went to India to get into hospitals more easily. The regulations on medical equipment are far more lenient than in the US, and also they are more open to trying out innovative and affordable solutions, so it's easier to get new things into hospitals, and to alpha / beta test ideas there (as long as it's not something that could cause patient harm or death).
I haven't come across any startups that have gone the tech integrator route, but if you've unsuccessfully tried the other option a tech integrator could be a great idea.
Let me know if you'd like any more detailed advice based on your specific product,
Unless you can show productivity gains on the spot, you would have to set an at-risk contract where you take on risk and split the reward for a trial period. IF your product has a diagnosis or treatment component, then getting FDA approval is all the support you need.
Good question, are you sure you want to sell to providers? Of course, providers want to deliver great care as well as keep/make their patients healthy, but what is their financial incentive to do so? Do they have risk based performance contracts with healthcare payers? What are the metrics they are trying to attain? Do they receive care management fees from a payer for delivering specific types of care/health management? Understanding the payment model of the providers you think you want to target it crucial. It might be you want to actually target the payers directly with your solution? Happy to discuss mote. Thanks!
Try to get into healthcare startup incubators or accelerators. At times hospitals can fund your research and to the market cycle. After the proof of concept stage it should be an easy sell.
I know one that does if you want a specific example. We’ve done video work for a pretty awesome company called Lark.
We created an App Store video for them but more importantly a “B2B” that they have been using to prospect healthcare providers. Here is the video: https://vimeo.com/209754917
Of course for this kind of deals there is much more that goes into it once you get a meeting...
We sell to providers and I guess the answer is always the same. You need to know what providers want and deliver it.
If a product needs to interface with providers' EHR, consider focusing on partnering with them or selling to their user base, knocking out all the sync bugs and polishing the use case. Healthcare is a very fragmented market, so it could be the case you will have multiple PMFs per segment.
It's primarily a relationships game.
- Recruiting someone who has a large rolodex of relationships in the space
- Build something on bing news search api and scrape all of the job postings of healthcare institutions to find "signals" indicating someone needs the solution you have to flag companies.