Fostering Entrepreneurial Innovation: Startups and Beyond

By Healthbox, a HIMSS Innovation Company

Startups are hard in any industry, but the unique challenges in healthcare can make it one of the hardest. Entrepreneurial innovation is a key component to accelerating healthcare transformation and support from industry leaders is crucial to this mission.

How can we best prepare promising companies for success in what is a very difficult uphill climb to build a successful digital health company?

1. Establish Collaborative Partnerships with the Most Promising Early Stage Companies

There is no more valuable asset to an early stage technology company than a small set of great early customers. And like many things, this takes on even more importance in healthcare. Due to the conservative adoption behavior of customers in healthcare, knowing there are other credible organizations successfully using the solution is critical.

Additionally, solving problems in healthcare is difficult. There is no substitute for taking a set of well-thought-out ideas and prototype software that automates those ideas and successfully proving it with real live customers. Partnerships with early stage companies also deliver great value to the organization by gaining the benefits of the solution as soon as possible through early access and ensuring solutions are well suited for their particular needs at the onset and as the product evolves.

Watch Lisa Simpson, CEO of Academy Health, talk with HIMSSTV about how telling stories helps make your innovation more memorable.

2. Ensure Sufficient Funding is Available to a Broader Set of Worthy Recipients

While it is true there are record numbers of total dollars being invested into early stage companies broadly defined as digital health, there is not enough available for equally promising companies that may not have the same connections or pedigree as the ones receiving the funding. It's encouraging to see new funds being announced that will focus on investing in emerging companies in healthcare, and believe that those with ties to strategic investors who can also possibly help as potential customers will be even better. Organizations can participate as limited partners in a strategically focused fund or through their own funds.

Strategic investing provides the opportunity to benefit from the financial reward of a successful partnership as well as deeper visibility gained through regular access to novel and innovative technical approaches to solving some of healthcare’s most vexing problems.

3. Mentor Companies to Share Your Unique Perspective and Expertise

Beyond an organizational commitment to supporting the advancement of early stage solutions, individual support can be facilitated through mentorship. Healthcare executives can share their expertise and offer support to entrepreneurs, and mentors often end up learning a few things in the process as well.

We look forward to the coming years when we will undoubtedly see new companies emerge that, through technological approaches, will help deliver better health outcomes at lower costs, while delighting patients in the process. With support from industry leaders, we can accelerate entrepreneurial innovation in healthcare.


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Originally published December 5, 2018