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Top tips for starting your digital health startup journey

Posted: 16th March 2021

If you are starting or growing a digital health business or application, its important to understand the key roadblocks or challenges you may face. To help you on your journey of launching your startup, we have collated some top tips and questions that should help you overcome the key stumbling blocks. 

Will your application ease a burden for clinicians or patients? 

The NHS is a time-poor organisation, so it’s important that the application you develop removes a step in the process or frees up time for both the healthcare workforce and the patients. One of the key benefits of introducing new technology into the healthcare sector is to enhance care delivery, so budgets are more likely to be spent that saves money, time or effort – so make sure your application covers at least one of those. 

Does your service solve a unique problem? 

One of the first steps you should take once you have an idea for a new product or service is market research: Is there already something like this available to the health sector, or is there an actual need for it? Even the most innovative ideas will struggle to come to fruition if there is no demand for it. If your product is an extension or update of a service already available, taking time to speak to those who use it on a regular basis will allow you to understand their key sticking points, and understand what changes need to be implemented so the update becomes of value to them. 

Do you need outside support or help? 

It can be complex and expensive to build an application that can be rolled out on a national level, so it is important to understand what support you will need, both internally and externally. One of the benefits of undertaking the Propel@YH programme is the access to a unique and tailored set of advisory, guidance and supportive services, enabling digital health solutions to flourish within the region, as well as masterclasses with our range of partners. 

Can you offer real-time delivery?

One of the biggest functions being introduced to the NHS is real-time delivery for data, as it can provide instant access to results and helps hospitals to better manage staff resourcing. Although this is not an essential aspect for a start-up, the ability together data from wearables and medical devices that can feed data continuously in real-time will be a factor that will set your product apart from the competition. 

Do you have the right people within the business to help you succeed?

No startup can be successful without the right people driving the business forward, but it can be difficult to understand what gaps within the organisation you need to fill. Skillset is arguably the most important factor to consider when looking at recruiting new staff, but ensuring that people have the same values, can collaborate with a range of stakeholders and has the drive to make an impact. As part of this year’s programme, our cohort has access to Workfinder, a service which connects employers with the best and brightest young people for high impact remote placements in your business across the marketing, data, or technology industry.