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2017 Connected Health Conference

October 25-27, 2017 | Boston, MA

Digital Health Startups Working with Large Health Systems - Lessons Learned

Adeel Yang, MD, CEO of Medumo, will speak on the “Innovation Spotlight: Healthcare at Startup Speed” panel.
Details: 10/26/2017: 2:40 PM - 3:30 PM; room: Cityview 2; session number: R0240E


For digital health companies, proving their value to large health systems and achieving full institutional adoption can be difficult due to complex and multifaceted processes and governance. In this piece, we focus on Medumo’s experience as a new digital health startup working with large health systems and lessons learned along the way.

For large health systems, there are several factors to consider when picking the right startup to work with: will its service yield positive results? how likely is it to be around in the coming year? how does the startup’s solution fit into the big picture for the health system? and many more. While identifying and providing a solution is top priority of a startup, the steps required to establish partnerships and navigate large and complex health systems institutions can pose a challenge.


Enter innovation hubs.

We’ve found tremendous support from accelerators and incubators such as Pulse@MassChallenge and the Brigham Care Redesign Incubator and Startup Program (BCRISP). Innovation-driven organizations have a strong model in place to select, vet, coach and help startups scale. They are uniquely positioned to identify needs of big health institutions and match them with suitable startups.


As the need for innovation grows in our fragmented healthcare system, new and efficient processes at large health institutions need to be created, demonstrating the importance of having innovation hubs and champions who can help identify which processes are lacking and how to implement them at an institutional level.


Lessons Learned in the Pursuit of Streamlining Institutional Adoption

Below are 4 lessons the Medumo team has learned through working with large health systems:

  1. Create champions. We aimed to exceed expectations with our early partners to foster a network of champions that can vouch for us.
  2. Scale from within. We learned to capitalize on the momentum created by our pilots. This meant digesting the needs of multi-faceted, complex enterprise systems and pitching our solution accordingly.
  3. Capitalize on your network. After we interfaced with numerous players in a large healthcare ecosystem, we kept pushing further into their networks by asking for referrals. A number of our early opportunities have come to fruition through our team’s network.
  4. Be patient. Developing a contract and implementing a solution at the enterprise level do not happen overnight. We learned to take smaller bites by working with individual divisions and departments on more targeted, high-value projects. With an eye on the bigger picture and fostering relationships with champions at various levels of the organization over time, we can build momentum toward an enterprise offering while capturing value and revenue along the way.

About the Author

Fatima Shahzad, MPH/MBA, is leading marketing and communications at Medumo. She has a decade of experience in clinical research having worked at several Boston-based hospitals. Living with type 1 diabetes, Fatima is passionate about health communications and has experience with health startups focused on medication adherence and patient engagement.

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