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Why We Need to Put the ‘Med’ Back in MedTech


At first glance, the MedTech startup scene looks as vibrant as ever. This past February, healthcare startups raised $1.88 billion in investor funding — the second highest amount of funding raised in that month since 2008. However, despite the money pouring in, the industry is still seeing many healthcare technologies fall short of success — with as many as 98% of digital healthcare startups failing.

It’s never easy to get a new company off the ground, and healthcare is an exceedingly complex industry to navigate. But the problem isn’t merely too many regulatory hurdles. Many healthcare startups tend to focus more on the tech behind the product and less on the actual medical strategy of the organization — and the result is that it hurts their ability to develop products that truly fit their customers’ needs.

By bringing a medical doctor in house early on in the development of your company or product, you’ll have a much better chance of developing a product or service that is medically sound and has a widespread application in the healthcare field.

Some ways physicians can help with your medical strategy include:

  • Ideation: At the very early stages, doctors can be part of identifying a need in the market and helping to develop a solution to address that need.
  • Testing: Doctors, especially those with academic or research expertise, can be beneficial in confirming the science behind your product or device.
  • Real-world application: A physician with practical experience treating patients can help you determine whether your solution has widespread application for doctors or their patients.
  • Credibility: Having a doctor that endorses your product or solution and is willing to spread the word to colleagues through lectures, journal articles and word of mouth is an important step to helping your company gain credibility.
  • Messaging: Physicians who work directly with your target audience can be beneficial in helping you craft your marketing and advertising so that it’s credible, accurate and addresses the key needs of your customers.
  • Improve the customer experience: As a conduit between the real world and the medical world, a physician can help guide customers through their healthcare journey, including assisting them in understanding how your product fits into that journey.

Having a strategy that puts the customer at the center of focus rather than the science or technology behind the product means that MedTech companies can do a better job of meeting their customers’ needs. And, at the end of the day, no matter how good your product or your technology is, if it doesn’t serve the needs of your customer, you won’t find an audience to buy it.

Rajy Abulhosn, M.D., is medical director of Confirm BioSciences, makers of HairConfirm.

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