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Why are Health startups often duds? Especially digital ones

I have spent some time looking at startup ecosystems of various industries and one that stands out is that there are very few unicorn level health startups, and literally none that are global....

This is quite surprising considering that health is something everyone needs, and the size of the sector in the traditional services and bricks & mortar sense.

Curious to know what people think is the missing piece of the puzzle, especially from the digital side.

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I'm a healthcare professional and work with a lot of startups and the biggest issue is trying to get older doctors and other healthcare professionals to change their ways. Trying to introduce a new product or process in a hospital or clinic will mostly be met with stubborn people and reluctance, not willing to try new things or ways. There are still a large portion of doctors that write prescriptions by hand still....

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I work in medical devices. This is a big part of it, there is a lot to navigate by way of regulations with respect to device safety and efficacy, privacy, etc. Software is considered a device just like hardware and all are governed by FDA 21 CFR 820 and ISO 13485, ISO 62304, and ISO 14971.

In addition to that, there is a lot of complexity to health systems with respect to how data is siloed, where it is siloed, etc.

There are probably a hundred different “major-ish” practice management softwares, medical network softwares, and more out there that for a product to reach the broader market it must integrate with. Doctors don’t have time to dick around with stuff that makes their workflows more complicated, and virtually everything not made by their existing software stack will do that.

It’s a very protected and segmented ecosystem.

Great question. I think ... Health industry sector is too small. The total size of health industry is 1/10 the size of AC/DC power convertor size. The pond is too small. There is no big fish.

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May 4, 2020 at 11:14:23 AM

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