Shifting Healthcare Careers during a Pandemic

The 2020 Coronavirus Outbreak has disrupted the way we view our own healthcare systems. Frontline healthcare providers are under great distress to manage the novel Covid-19 infection in the population. However it is in this global pandemic crisis that digital health innovation has found its purpose. Since the number of medical staff and health system infrastructure is grossly overwhelmed, the only solution is to optimise existing resources to provide care to people under lockdown – and help ‘flatten the curve’. Sometimes the private sector has to take the initiative and show how even during a pandemic, you can still start a business and promote your solution to the masses.

Recently I had been invited to an interview by Rodney Hu, host of the HealthTech Hustle podcast. Rodney Hu is an MRI Technologist & Entrepreneur, who is on a mission to uncover new opportunities and innovations within HealthTech and Digital Health.

The following is an excerpt from our podcast interview I gave regarding my physician entrepreneurship journey and the value I am trying to create with my digital health startup – VIOS.

How did you get into Healthtech?

How to Start a Business during a Pandemic | Lean Startup for HealthTech

I understood the growing trend in mobile app penetration in the population. Rising middle class meant greater demand for tech-based solutions, especially in healthcare. Personal interest in IT and disruptive technologies. Realisation that saas products are the most cost-effective and impactful tool in public health initiatives.

What is the Major Challenge you see in the Healthcare Industry?

How to Start a Business during a Pandemic | Lean Startup for HealthTech

  • Technological illiteracy in healthcare providers
  • Health sector culture is inherently anti-disruptive and resistant to innovation
  • Deficiency in professional branding and proactive stance on skills development outside of certificate degrees
  • Inefficiency in communication strategies i.e. PR between doctors and patients
  • Healthcare illiteracy and poor health-seeking behaviour (especially preventive care) amongst the population, until too late.

What Value does your Company bring to the Healthcare Market?

  • Optimisation of healthcare consultation for same-day on demand health needs
  • Domain expertise by another specialist physician with global health experience as the core decision maker of the company i.e. authority in the market
  • Ethical and sustainable business model that will incentivise soft-skills capacity building in the main stakeholders i.e. doctors
  • Transparency in skills and credibility of healthcare providers who are actually on duty, in real time.

Growing a healthtech company.

How to Start a Business during a Pandemic | Lean Startup for HealthTech

What are your opinions on the following core Startup Business Concepts:

1) Business Model

The right business model must form the core ideology for any startup.

How to Start a Business during a Pandemic | Lean Startup for HealthTech

You must have S.M.A.R.T. (smart. measurable. attainable. realistic. timely) KPIs to measure the direct market feedback to any product iteration, and ofcourse to assess the efficiency of your operations and executions process.

There should be an overlapping financial logic that defines how your prime customer will transact for services by the provider – the numbers should show that your process is sustainable, future-proof, evidence-based and alterable if needed.

2) Strategy

Proper strategy is more important that fundraising

Startup strategy should be a direct process from intuition – experience – planning – execution – measurement – iteration – alteration – repeat execution – scaling up……and ultimately lead to monetisation of this value chain.

Good product + bad strategy = Fail

Bad product + good strategy = Short term win

How to Start a Business during a Pandemic | Lean Startup for HealthTech

Good product + Good Strategy = Long term win / User retention-loyalty

3) Team

Team building more important than product design.

Ideally 3-5 dedicated members are needed. Out of which atleast 1-2 full time core shareholders, directors or founders – with complimentary skills.

Robust shareholders with shared experiences in the pain process can truly empathise with the ideal customer profile/avater.

A functional team is the essential ingredient in iterative process and sustainable execution.

There should ideally have one person capable of atleast of each charecteristic:

  • Domain expert
  • Technological experience
  • Sales
  • Branding
  • Financier

But in reality everybody must be in charge of sales i.e. user acquisition in one form or another.

4) Tools / TechStack

As unusual at is may seem, from my own perspective as the principal founder/domain expert, what tool pr technology you use is not that essential for a founder to know everything. But a founder should be aware of recent trends and ‘language’ to understand its value and impact on the overall product.

What are the Obstacles/Challenges that you Overcame?

  • Business illiteracy
  • Incoherent operations strategy
  • Suboptimal branding 
  • Poor customer communication and liaisons
  • Incomplete value chain
  • Non-cooperative team members

Advice for others in this field?

  • Invest in attaining a growth mindset
  • Get a mentor – preferably from that industry
  • Be part of a business/self development inner circle
  • Invest minimum 10,000 hours (Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell) or 5-8 years in a particular high intensity industry with a strong experience in a sales/frontline role with daily interaction with the population 
  • Learn digital marketing, professional social media branding and public speaking
  • Attend public events not related to your industry
  • Attend paid public events related to business/startups/skills development etc
  • Unpaid internship in any startup
  • Be obsessed with inequality and suffering of a population – analyse core concepts of their problems and pain points
  • Conceptualise a probable solution and immediately execute an MVP – release it into the market for early feedback
  • Plan briefly, execute immediately, absorb harsh feedback and restructure fast. Repeat.

What is one Goal you want to Accomplish in 2021?

Be ready for 2021 with 10X User acquisition i.e. build up traction.

Plan briefly, execute immediately, absorb harsh feedback and restructure


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