Breaking Barriers and Building Your Own Front Door
Editor’s Note: Cambia Grove is proud to partner with the innovation community to amplify their perspectives on topics applicable to the larger health care ecosystem. This guest post from Hamed Ahmadi, Co-Founder & CEO of Medsien, explores some of the challenges inherent to health care innovation and pathways to move forward.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Cambia, Cambia Grove, or any other entity or organization.
As health care tech entrepreneurs, we remind ourselves every day that innovation in health care is not impossible. However, it is important to accept that we are trying to innovate in a complex and evolving industry.
At its most simplistic view, the health care experience revolves around encounters. People get sick, they need a doctor, they go to the doctor and so on and so forth. Over the years many of the innovations in health care focused on preventing, predicting, or improving access of that encounter.
We thought if we try to minimize the time providers spend on every patient, we can have them see more patients regularly. We thought this would improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of care significantly.
Like everyone else, we started by asking questions. We spent a good six months asking questions about the hows and the whys. Through this process, we spoke to more than 100 physicians and many other professionals involved in health care, from payers to purchasers and from developers to marketers. Everyone brought a unique perspective to the tough problems that exist in our health system today. We even went further to shadow providers and observe them interacting with their patients and technology to identify systematic pain points.
What did we find through customer discovery?
Different players in health care are more intertwined than any other industry and paradoxically can have lower visibility to each other than other industries. Many problems exist in health care today because they are looked at from a microlevel rather than a holistic view from above. This is where our introduction to the 5 Points of Health Care™ framework by Cambia Grove came to be a lifesaver.
The 5 Points paints a very clear picture of our current health system and is a must-have toolkit for every health care entrepreneur. Following the framework helped Medsien define our target audience and understand the restrictions and motivations of every point.
Most problems in health care are impactful. They literally change peoples’ lives every day. This is what drives us and many other innovators. Frustrating encounters with the legacy systems happen all the time, but this reminder is what keeps us moving forward. The facts that Electronic Health Records integration is hard; or entrepreneur access to patient data is limited; and sales cycles are long are all true, but it hasn’t stopped others from getting a foothold and should not stop anyone from trying.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." ~ Leonardo da Vinci
As complex and tangled as health care problems are, simplicity is the key. We started by defining our solution around providers as an integral part of the care circle. Simultaneously, we looked at patients and payers to connect the missing links. This might not sound simple but focusing on one individual point and spanning out to others simplifies a lot of unknowns. When put back together, the entire plan blends quite naturally.
Removing barriers to drive adoption
Ambition often contradicts reality and we kept this in mind. Similar to our acceptance of our tough industry, we had to accept some realities and find ways around it. We took the “if there is no door, build one” approach. We constantly thought of ways to find existing processes that don’t quite work and fix them as our way to breakthrough.
One of those instances when we tried to be realistic was to focus on smaller practices as our go-to market rather than large health systems. Although that may be an obvious place to start, it was a heated debate. But if you think about it, this allowed us to get around the long sales cycles, get access to real patients and practicing physicians and start building the clinical evidence we need, all while we tested our business models and built a commercial plan.
In short, there are many ways to gain traction as an early stage startup, and everyone needs to get some in today’s competitive market.
Inspiration from outside of Health care
Our final thought to inspire hope and action in health care innovation is to encourage everyone to look beyond health care. It wasn’t so long ago that the thought of accessing your bank from your smartphone sounded ridiculous. “No one would trust a phone app with their money,” they said. Or staying in a stranger’s house when you travel abroad. Ideas like this, the perseverance of their creators and overall optimism of society are what motivates us every day.
We believe technology that is created for good will ultimately breakthrough. It might just need a little more faith and sleepless nights.
About Hamed Ahmadi
Hamed Ahmadi is the CEO and Co-Founder at Medsien. He holds a PhD in Math and Computer Science and strives to improve health care using technology.
Medsien is a comprehensive clinical monitoring platform focusing on high risk patients with chronic disease. We increase patient touchpoints while minimizing providers' time, ultimately improving patient outcomes, generating revenue for providers and reducing costs for the health system.