I get a lot of connections of IT(information technology) people through my IT and pharma friends. Whenever there is a discussion of IT applications in Pharma and/or healthcare, the discussions get referred to me (Thanks Guys). When companies pitch me with their products, they appreciate my understanding of their objectives and the underlying technologies that they explain. Since this comprehension of mine is more than the average pharma/healthcare person, my feedback is taken well and word-of-mouth gets extended leading to more references. I am happy to work with them.
Some of the good aspects that I see include:
- These entrepreneurs are sincere
- They are young, energetic and work very hard
- They use the online resources well and do their home-work well
- They try to understand as much as possible
- They have enough expertise on the technology side
- They are able to think through the IT processes in a good fashion
- They are all futuristic
Areas of learning
I repeatedly find that these entrepreneurs have some (same) issues. Here they are and my point of view on each of them.
#1. They think IT is a cure for everything.
My pov: It is not. IT is just an enabler. It is not going to be bought like a cure for every problem that is being faced. It is going to be evaluated with respect to how much it can support the present system, how much it can enable things and how far it can take them as futuristic solutions. Patients must be at the center of your solution and healthcare practitioners must endorse (just not your claims) that it is a better solution than what they are currently practicing and the barriers of change can be overcome. Benefits should override the resistance.
#2. Most of the so-called entrepreneurs claim that they know about healthcare when they really don’t.
My pov: If you are from IT and have read extensively through articles on healthcare, know the jargons and their meanings well (well that gives a good intro), still you are far away from healthcare as it is practiced. Even if you had worked on a healthcare product at the back-end services team and have interacted with a lot of healthcare people, it doesn’t mean you know healthcare enough to launch a product. Reality of healthcare practitioners, as they live it, is completely different and they are not going to like your pretense about knowing what they do and how they do it.
#3. Some entrepreneurs show their experience from past with teams that developed healthcare products for western markets as part of outsourcing work and they think they can tweak it and introduce it in India.
My pov: It simply does not work. Instead of wasting time in tweaking and failing completely, try to understand what are the underlying differences in healthcare practice and learn that you need to develop a product from scratch for every market that you work with. It is easier, faster and better. Do not apply extension of IT product logic alone in healthcare solutions. This is far more serious and completely different.
#4. At most of the pitches that I get, I end up being asked, “What do you think should we be doing?”
My pov: Most of the time I see that you do not have a person who has real experience with healthcare or pharma. Have a member in your team who knows the insights having worked with the domain. Even if they are not able to give you all the answers, they will guide you to the right person/place where you can get a lot of answers and validate your thoughts and take you closer to reality. Such a person in your team will be complimentary and will bring a lot of synergy into your activities.
Most of the entrepreneurs initially resist but agree with me when I tell them these points with examples customized to what they are building as a product. I hope to see some of them quickly finding their way into healthcare/pharma domain and wish them to come out with flying colours.
There is a great deal of potential with healthcare and pharma for IT applications. There is a lot of space for many more entrepreneurs to enter and contribute to healthcare/pharma and in turn building a successful company. There is so much potential for both IT and Pharma people to come together and create solutions. That way it will be more successful.
What do you think? Feel free to share your experiences and thoughts.