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One year ago today I was in a fair deal of pain. I’d been to my local GP, then a hospital and finally ended up in the consultation room of a clinic in London. Now before I go any further I should note that the content below mostly pertains to automation of healthcare administration and how we created a company and AI technology to automate it. On the surface – certainly not the most interesting business model I grant you. For those of you still reading – I personally promise you that whatever kind of health business you’re starting, there will be something in here that is practically useful to you (probably).

Now, back to business, there are three key things to consider when starting a new enterprise in health.

1) Who uses your product.

2) Who’s your buyer (it’s much easier if these are the same people or if you can make them so).

3) What those two groups really care about..

In our case its physicians for the first one, hospital management for the second and the third is a little more complicated, that’s not even factoring in the complete chaos that is coronavirus splitting opinions all over the health sector.

Let me describe our product as interestingly as I can: we have created software modules that are tailored to each individual healthcare practitioner to cut their admin time in half. So by using something like our dictation platform (prepare for shameless plugging of our product) HepianWrite, a task like writing medical letters that once took 30 minutes a day now takes 3. Add that up over the course of a year and you’ve just bought yourself and your secretary 7020 minutes or 3 weeks of extra time. They’ll thank you later. So we’ve established Doctors as the product user.

Okay so next on the agenda is to address who your buyer is. Now if you’re lucky the person who uses your product will also be the buyer, if not…you have to convince a third party that you are what they need. Like convincing your other half that you desperately need that brand new car instead of the second hand one that comes on finance. Basically an awful lot harder. In our case, the half we needed to convince was hospital management, they were protective of their pre-existing system; it was difficult to infiltrate. So you can go about this two ways – the first being sheer determination with a series of long and arduous meetings with damn near everybody in the hospital who isn’t a doctor or secondly, you can do what we did and work from a freemium model. Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Prior to coronavirus we found that physicians, for the most part, cared about the same thing; get more patients through the door and on the road to recovery. However, when a pandemic hits, priorities have to change and you cannot just get more patients through the door. So we adapted and built another module that would be most beneficial for the bizarre episode of history we found ourselves walking through and so was birthed Hepian Link – a video consultation platform that required absolutely no app downloading so as to not leave the less tech savvy patients and doctors behind in what is almost a completely technologically complex world.

What to take from this then?

Find an area that needs innovation, one that desperately needs innovation if you can one. Create a solution that wipes out all traces that the problem ever existed. Adapt to the market around you, if they really won’t buy then start to wonder why. Lastly, if a global pandemic hits…well, good luck.

Nutritional health is super important. Given the massive range of options today with regards to food, it’s fantastic that you are supporting young people by providing them with that information.

Mollie Earnshaw and Oliver Bee

Mollie Earnshaw and Oliver Bee

Co-founders of Hepian

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