12 rules for health tech startups

Last week Mark Cuban tweeted out 12 rules for tech startups and Jessica DaMassa challenged a bunch of people to respond for health care. VC and general health care wit Lisa Suennen came out with quite the list (she got to 13) but I thought someone ought to write the real rules…

  1. Never start a health tech company if you can sucker someone into giving you a real job

  2. When VCs at conferences say raising money isn’t a problem, throw a milkshake at them

  3. Never work with a technical co-founder who won’t give you the last M&M in the packet

  4. When a clinician wants to quit their job and co-found with you, remember that the good ones could be making $500K a year reading X-rays and be on the golf course at 4pm

  5. Do the 502 diet. Starve for 50 weeks of the year then eat and drink as much as you possibly can at HIMSS & JP Morgan parties when someone else is paying

  6. When the incubator/accelerator/matchmaker says that they “chose you from 700 applicants” remember that there are roughly 700 of them and every company applies to each one

  7. When you get the elusive partnership deal with the big hospital system, tech company or corporate, you’re going to expect to work at the speed of the startup and the scale of the corporate. It’ll be the reverse . (I stole this from Michael Ferguson at Ayogo)

  8. After your first few clients and funding rounds you’ll be losing money at a exponential rate that matches what you had for revenue on the hockey stick chart in your pitch deck

  9. Hopefully you’ll eventually be able to start making the money the health care way, by establishing a monopoly that can arbitrarily raise prices to the moon and stick it to your customers. If not, start prepping for the really big Oscar/Collective/Clover type round.

  10. Pray to whatever God you follow that Softbank is still in business when #9 happens.

  11. If after a decade or so of slog, you finally get the IPO, or semi decent exit, try to ignore the fact that the Instagram guys sold for $1 billion 11 months after they founded the company

  12. Hope that you can disrupt health care, but remember that UnitedHealth Group’s revenue is $220 billion and CMS spends $900 billion a year and they both appear mostly powerless to make anything better.

Why US Healthcare Needs To Adopt A Startup Mentality

Technology has made us all closer and more connected than ever before. Yet even in a world brimming with technologies unimaginable as recently as a decade ago, preventable medical events claim 400,000 lives in the U.S., and cost $1 trillion a year. Addressing this should be a top priority of policymakers and professionals.

But there’s not exactly an app for that — it’s a complex challenge for which there’s no quick fix. And even though technology will be — must be — part of the solution, its application has already made healthcare more convoluted and, at times, more difficult.

In most hospitals today, 90 percent of patients’ vital signs are being collected manually and repetitively by a nurse. Why isn’t technology doing this? The adoption of electronic medical records (EMR) was supposed to lessen the burden, but the 2018 Medscape National Physician Burnout Report showed two main drivers of physician burnout are too many bureaucratic tasks and increased computerization, including EMR integration.

Technology should be a force multiplier — it allows one person to achieve more than they ever could on their own. How can we help clinicians do more, without overtaxing them? The remote patient monitoring (RPM) industry has been attempting this for years, but, until now, it’s been poorly executed. One reason for this is a lack of clarity on who the product is really for.

Think of the iPhone. More often than not, the person buying it is the one who will use it. So, when Apple optimizes the iPhone with each generation, it’s optimizing the product for the buyer and the user. In healthcare, it’s not always this simple. With remote patient monitoring, specifically, there are multiple users — in this case clinicians and patients who have varying degrees of training and expertise.

Healthcare purchasing can be a complex process that involves multiple decision makers at each touchpoint. Because of this, it’s common to have widely differing priorities from each group, and those priorities are not always aligned. Ultimately, the product in these cases are generally optimized for the buyer, not the user. It’s not just remote patient monitoring systems. EMRs are another example of a product designed for the benefit of senior healthcare leaders (purchasers) rather than patients, as demonstrated in this recent EMR study in JAMA.