Why Your Next Startup Should Be in Healthcare
Healthcare is a system that has seen remarkable growth over the past years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that during January 2019, the number of employees entering the US healthcare service was around 42,000 people. The health service will always have a demand, regardless of if it's delivery of vaccines or care of the sick and infirm. However, the system as it is right now already has a few cracks that show through its facade. As the number of people in the world rise, the demand for healthcare will rise with it, and so will its expenses. One of the best ways that a startup can capitalize on this is to offer technology-enhanced services that can aid both doctors and patients in what they do.
Why Use Technology in a System that Already Works?
Some doctors in established practices have been using the same system of filing and case reporting for decades. Once their system works they don't really have the motivation nor the know-how to upgrade that system. Technology is where innovation starts. While existing systems for doctors might be very friendly to them, they completely ignore the fact that a patient may want to have more of an input into their primary care. By creating a double-ended system that can provide what a doctor needs while at the same time offering a patient a choice in things like selection of appointment dates and consultations for specific ailments, a startup can potentially deliver a lot of value to consumers as well as doctors. Here are a handful of ways that technology, when leveraged properly, can help the medical sector with their current problems:
Patient Experience: The patient life-cycle forms the core of the patient's experience with the healthcare facility or the professional (in the case of private practice). Some tech companies have already started looking at AI combined with smart calendars to make it easier for patients to set up appointments and meet deadlines. At the most experimental end, the AI can even call to confirm appointments or text patients' reminders. In this sphere, the development of an AI (combined with machine learning) can be useful as a startup idea, since there is a ready base that can be built upon already available.
Easier Method of Storing Patient Info: In the past, and up to very recently, patient information records were usually hoarded by healthcare institutions because of the stringent protocols in place for the sharing and distribution of that data. The concern has always been that patient information is sensitive data that directly relates to a person and should remain private for the security of the person in question. The way around this is obvious to many tech entrepreneurs - the development of a blockchain that shares the pertinent points of data with other healthcare technicians but eliminates sensitive information. This deals with the problem of security, and also allows widespread access to cases that can aid healthcare professionals in diagnosis. The blockchain is already being adopted in many spheres of industry, according to CB Insights. The medical field shouldn't be left behind in this tech revolution.
Data Compositing through Automation: Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society notes in a study that as many as 86% of current healthcare errors are administrative in nature. Those affected are usually the patients having to pay excessive health insurance costs causing them to lose their insurance coverage. Automation could curb or even completely remove these administrative errors. Healthcare administration can be designed around taking input from a set of forms and initially vetted by administrative professionals to change data that needs to be edited. An AI tasked with learning from its mistakes can iterate on each form and develop automated processes for collecting and storing data, likely on a blockchain-like system as mentioned previously.
Streamlining with Innovation
Innovating an industry like healthcare that deals with medical supplies online, will take some time and there will be a lot of administrative red tape to wade through. However, given the promise of results as well as a simple methodology to implement these changes, it's likely that once a few of the health institutions realize how useful these innovations are, more and more of them will seek it out as a way to better their service offerings. In a service-oriented industry, having that innovation can mean the difference between landing a customer that will be loyal to the institution, or missing the opportunity for a long-term client.