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Cordes, MD: “Someone Call a Doctor! The Value of Physician Product Development in Healthcare Startups”

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OCTOBER 28, 2016 – We are lucky to live in an age where entrepreneurs are diving feet-first into an industry that desperately needs them.  For so many years, healthcare has been a market that innovators avoided, due to confusing regulatory, organizational, payment, and emotional nuances.

But, we now have an explosion of digital health startups introducing tools that are changing the way we deliver care and engage and empower both patients and physicians.  Most of these brave entrepreneurs are either technical or business school rock stars with plenty of passion and drive to succeed.  Yet, sadly we see that even the best and brightest often start and fail within 2 years.  There is a myriad of reasons for this outcome, but one of the most recurrent causes of failure we see, as we work with startups daily, is the absence of a seasoned physician product developer in the early phases of a digital health startup’s life cycle.

When asked about involving a physician in product development, most startup founders site costly salary requirements as a barrier.  Others undervalue the role of the physician, and subscribe to the faulty belief demonstrated by Google Health’s Failure that, either the consumer benefiting from the product will pull in the physician, or that the product has such obvious value that physicians will undoubtedly adopt it.




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