A “Getting Started” Guide for Digital Health Founders

1. Clinical Staffing

The limited supply of clinical staff has been well documented throughout the pandemic. But for digital health companies, the problem is often more complex than simply meeting demand — coordinating a diverse team that meets a population’s needs across geographies is a dynamic and complex challenge even for scaled care teams. We’ve seen a few approaches: while many opt to hire a portion of their clinicians full-time to handle the majority of patient volume while utilizing contractors to dynamically manage excess volume, others have fully relied on contractors or scaled their own in-house care teams. Here are some solution providers in the space:

2. Provider Management, Licensing & Credentialing

As more and more digital health businesses deploy a reimbursement model, the payor credentialing process can often be a massive hurdle for scaling businesses. Ensuring clinicians are licensed across states and in-network at payors can take months, leaving clinician capacity unutilized or delaying expansion into new states entirely. Several startups have jumped in to alleviate this pain point with SaaS solutions:

3. Modern EHR

While many builders at the earliest stages tend to run pilots on a frankenstein of Google spreadsheets and airtables, many care delivery businesses quickly reach a point where an EHR vendor is necessary. Fortunately, today’s founders don’t have to build their own from scratch. There are several options:

4. Patient Experience

Designing the front-end of your patient experience is daunting, particularly at the earliest stage. Several businesses have built low-code / no-code solutions with API-functionality to scale alongside your business. Notably, these patient experience tools often include EMR-lite capabilities and also offer integrations into other EMRs. See examples below:

5. Payor Billing

Moving beyond a cash-pay model is often table stakes for today’s digital health businesses. Yet handling the piles of paperwork and red tape associated with payor billing is almost never a core competency of early-stage businesses. Several tech-forward businesses have emerged in the space which are distinct from bundled EMR offerings:

6. Patient CRM & Communications

Maintaining a central record of a patient is critical for continuity of care, particularly as care models become increasingly complex. We see some digital health builders build this in-house while others utilize well-known horizontal solutions for healthcare-specific use cases. While CRM solutions focus on enabling continuity of care for virtual and hybrid models, these offerings also have EMR-lite capabilities. See examples below:

7. Pharmacy Fulfillment

As a virtual or hybrid care delivery model, many will extend to prescribing and fulfilling drug prescriptions. A founder’s vision of a great patient journey likely doesn’t include the hassle of going to a brick-and-mortar pharmacy but most early-stage startups do not have the resources to build a script fulfillment service.

8. In-Home Care Enablement

As in-home care models have gained more traction, a suite of white-labeled on-demand services for in-home care enablement has come to market (longer discussion on this trend here). Founders today can partner with solutions that enable lab-testing and remote patient monitoring.

9. Patient Data Access

Though admittedly a larger and more nebulous category, digital health builders who seek medical or payor data can now consider several potential vendors. Companies like Flexpa are utilizing recent changes in interoperability rules to develop a federated identity layer for patients, while others like Ribbon and Redox provide easier access to provider network data. These solutions unlock previously siloed data and connect user experiences in ways that we have come to expect in other sectors but has been difficult in digital health. Examples below:

10. API Integration Management / Data Normalization

With the influx of API-first solutions in digital health, managing integrations and normalizing data flowing across the tech stack is difficult for early and growth stage businesses alike. Companies like Morf are focused on integration management to free up developer hours from establishing and maintaining the ever-increasing number of digital health integrations. Gaze Health provides a platform to help normalize data and analyze it in an effort to improve care delivery. Other businesses have gone even deeper into the stack, such as Develop Health, which provides a full backend for folks to build on top of (like a firebase for digital health).

11. HIPAA / SOC-2 Compliance

We believe building a consumer-friendly experience in digital health relies on a foundation of trust. While we always recommend builders consult with a lawyer and consider all compliance-related risks, there have been several businesses that now assist with the HIPAA and SOC-2 compliance:

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Greycroft

Greycroft

4.6K Followers

A seed-to-growth venture capital firm that partners with exceptional entrepreneurs to build the world’s most transformative companies.