After gaining the highest amount of venture funding in 2014, the healthcare industry became a viable target for startups. The US healthcare system is now worth $3,504 trillion and the industry is opening up hundreds of new opportunities for entrepreneurs.
By Joe Tuan
Right now, every healthcare practitioner is utilizing at least one mHealth application or medical tracking device to perform his or her duties faster and more efficiently. It won’t be long until older technologies for patient monitoring and data gathering are replaced by healthcare apps with AI and machine learning functions.
As they say, starting a business in the healthcare industry will require more preparation and bravery compared to venturing into other types of industries. While many entrepreneurs dream of becoming a catalyst for change or sparking a revolution in the healthcare system, the reality is, failing is more likely than succeeding in the healthcare industry.
The reason for this is, the industry may be lucrative but it isn’t all glamorous because of strict government regulations and legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions in protecting medical data. But, the idea of changing the world and improving the lives of people is enough to give this industry a try.
Here are the top reasons why your next startup should focus on healthcare:
1. You will be able to take advantage of game-changing technology
The healthcare industry now benefits from AI, robotic process automation, blockchain, and machine learning. Since AI empowers machines to think like humans, it provides relief to healthcare practitioners who are struggling to cope up with the high number of patients. Machine learning, on the other hand, helps in diagnosing diseases and classifying health data. This technology, along with AI, reduces medical errors and inaccurate data collection.
Blockchain also plays a big role in healthcare because it addresses the data privacy concerns of healthcare institutions. Blockchain facilitates data sharing in a secure and transparent manner.
Simply put, when you start a business in the healthcare industry, you will become a pioneer in creating treatments, software, and healthcare apps that are powered by these technologies. Companies like Healx use AI and machine learning to find a cure for rare diseases and just recently, a startup backed by the University of Toronto programmed a supercomputer with an algorithm that analyzes and predicts the effectiveness of millions of medicines against Ebola.
2. There won’t be a shortage of skilled healthcare employees
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that between May 2018 to May 2019, 391,000 jobs were added in the healthcare sector. This means that it’s easier and faster for you to find skilled healthcare practitioners and staff who can help you scale your business.
3. You can contribute to better patient engagement
It isn’t hard to find people with horrible healthcare stories to tell. Each one of us has experienced waiting in line to see our doctors or setting an appointment with a physician only to be told that he or she is not the right person to diagnose our illnesses. There are also people who were forced to pay a huge sum of money for treatments they didn’t opt for or those that aren’t really necessary.
Right now, there are a lot of potentials for startups that prioritize AI projects that have the ability to match patients with the right doctors, right hospitals, and proper cure and treatments. Patient outcomes can be improved be through mHealth technologies that help patients get medication alerts and human-like interaction. The adoption rates for healthcare personal assistants that can attend to patients’ needs when their physicians are not available or have other patients to attend to are also increasing.
A survey conducted by Deloitte reveals that a consumer’s health care journey improves depending on their interaction with the healthcare system when they’re searching for care, accessing new channels of care (for example, at-home testing, diagnosis, and digital tools), and sharing personal health information. There is really an unlimited number of ways on how startups can make a difference in the field of healthcare.
While it takes more than just your guts and your willingness to learn new things in order to succeed in the healthcare industry, it is still worth the risk because transforming people’s lives is far more fulfilling than getting monetary rewards for your efforts.
Joe Tuan is the founder of TopFlight Apps, an award-winning app team of entrepreneurial designers and developers. TopFlight Apps has been recognized by B2B ratings and reviews platform Clutch as one of California’s best mobile app development companies. You can find him on Twitter @JoeCTuan.