But that doesn’t mean the healthcare industry has remained unscathed. Hospitals and medical facilities in the U.S. have lost more than $202 billion in revenue due to challenges associated with the pandemic. In other words, healthcare needs to heal itself economically. And that’s where entrepreneurs have a unique and timely opportunity to fit into the picture.
Entrepreneurs who bring disruptive innovations and ideas to the table, particularly when it comes to technology, can help the industry recover. At the same time, healthcare technology is evolving rapidly and constantly. Entrepreneurs must develop future-proof strategies that will allow them to bring new and valuable concepts, services, and products to the healthcare field.
If you’re intent on plying your entrepreneurial trade in healthcare, keep these tips in mind to improve your chances of long-term success:
1. Focus on device integration.
The rise of telemedicine has been unprecedented during the pandemic. Even physicians who once hesitated to move to digital solutions began embracing web-based care. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 154% rise in telehealth visits in a year-over-year comparison between the final week of March 2019 and the same period in 2020. This is excellent news, but healthcare professionals and patients still have a lot of room to realize the full potential of telemedicine in the industry.
“Intervening with the assistance of data from medical devices saves money and provides a better quality of care for patients,” Bacon told me. It also serves to legitimize the benefit and efficacy of telemedicine as a viable healthcare solution, he added.
2. Consider the prevalence of contactless payment options.
Patients have made their desires clear: They want hands-off payment options, preferably available through their own devices. After all, according to a recent Elavon survey, three-quarters of respondents said they worry that providers’ payment devices might not be sanitary. In other words, they want to pay, but not if it puts their health and safety in jeopardy.
As you’re developing new tools or technologies for healthcare professionals and patients, remember the value of contactless payment and consider how you might integrate it into your systems. For instance, you might want to create an app that allows patients to make transactions through their phones. Or you could invent a payment acceptance device that enables people to “tap” their cards and pay at any medical facility without pressing buttons. Essentially, it comes down to providing a convenient and safe way for people to make payments.
3. Embrace a patient-first mentality.
Though you’ll likely be marketing your healthcare offerings to healthcare organizations rather than patients themselves, remember that these organizations operate for patients first and foremost. Ask yourself if the patient needs what it is you’re proposing. If you’re not sure of the answer, perform market research before moving forward. More than anything else, you want to ensure that whatever concepts you bring to the table will provide new and necessary value to patients.
Ideally, your innovations should improve patient experiences. Yes, you want to make healthcare better. That’s a given. Nevertheless, you can’t achieve that goal if your offerings don’t empower or inspire the patient population. Testing products with target audiences early in your process and often throughout development can help you stay on track with a patient-first mindset.
4. Work toward a purpose.
Though opportunities for entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector are many right now, your drive for offering solutions shouldn’t be motivated entirely by profits. Ask yourself why your offering is important to you and what it will bring to the industry. Believing in your cause can motivate you to develop the best possible offering you can and unify stakeholders around a central mission along the way.
I learned how valuable purpose is in entrepreneurship when I joined the cast of “4 Days to Save the World.” The TV show tasks people with developing innovative solutions to solve important social issues. My team sought to find a solution for cancer, and I pushed for this cause because it means a great deal to me. I was very close to my cousin, who was an excellent and inspiring teacher in South Carolina, for my entire life. But we lost him far too soon to cancer. I saw the impact this had on my family and the many people whose lives he touched, and I realized that people around the world feel the destruction of cancer too often. Solving the problem feels like one of the greatest priorities I can imagine, and remembering that purpose gave me the drive to work as hard as I possibly could.
Having a cause will keep you motivated, especially when you run into those inevitable roadblocks and unexpected situations. You may have to retool or reroute your plans, but you won’t stop dreaming big. Truly, having a purpose bigger than yourself will enable you to recalibrate when necessary without going off track or losing momentum.
Healthcare is on the cusp of modernization and change. By applying your entrepreneurial spirit to health system challenges, you could revolutionize care for millions of people and make a mark on global wellness.