Healthcare transformation through technology

24 May 2018

Innovations that have driven the digital revolution such as mobile, cloud and machine learning (ML), are increasingly discussed as having the potential to transform healthcare. Thanks to constraints including regulation, novel payment models and long, complex sales cycles, their impact has not matched the hype. Beyond these structural challenges, however, lies a deeper test for early stage businesses – engaging users at scale. Clinicians and managers in systems such as the NHS are incredibly busy and don’t have the time for technology solutions that require excess time to on-board and use. Unfortunately, due to a heavy emphasis on regulatory compliance, sales and technical performance, too many solutions rolled out in healthcare over the last ten years have not spent enough time focused on the end-user. The result is a generation of customers, particularly on the clinical side, who are reluctant to embrace new technologies.

Clearly, work must be done to create a more streamlined process for tech companies selling into the NHS, but an equally important driver for successfully scaling a new technology in any health system, is that a company is relentlessly customer-focused. First health-tech companies need to identify a painful problem for doctor, manager, or patient and develop an approach that addresses it. Second, design is key to optimising user experience, in terms of the product and how it fits into existing workflows. Third, the impact of a new product or service, whether financial, experiential, or quality-related, must be felt relatively quickly and by the end-user, rather than an indirect stakeholder. Once there is a clear fit between product and market, the company can focus on growth.

From its inception 25 years ago, InHealth’s goal has been to support the NHS by providing innovative solutions covering disease prevention, diagnosis and pathways management. In 2016, InHealth set up InHealth Ventures (IHV) as an extension of this mission. IHV invests in early stage health-tech and services companies attempting to solve some of the major challenges facing the NHS. We work with founding teams around early product and customer development, ensuring the end-user’s experience is a priority. When the time comes to scale, we make use of InHealth’s experience as a longstanding partner to the NHS.

InHealth’s aspiration is to play a major part in how healthcare adopts and benefits from technology. IHV portfolio companies include Laudio, which reduces clinical staff turnover and improves administrative productivity by automating workforce analytics; Luma Health, which drives patient experience and quality outcomes by automating communication between clinician and patient; and Kheiron Medical Technologies whose goal is to augment radiology reporting by applying best-in-class deep-learning algorithms. These start-ups have several attributes in common: distinctive healthcare knowledge, a mission to reduce the cost of healthcare delivery by solving critical problems, but most of all, a fixation on exceptional product design, to delight and engage users in a sustained way. We believe these qualities will be crucial in bridging the gap between potential and reality over the next decade.

Dr Benedict Evans, Investment Director, InHealth Ventures

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