With healthcare’s incredible pace of technological advancements confounded by an increasing onslaught of regulatory challenges, one essential element needed to survive is entrepreneurial innovation. The drastic changes in our political environment, which are more unpredictable than ever, have left venture capitalists salivating for new opportunities.
As an entrepreneur with many years of experience in the healthcare industry, I benefit from an insider’s perspective on what the industry needs in order to both prosper while staying in step with complex external and internal factors. Healthcare innovators and startups will need to capitalize on change if they are going to build something profitable that will make a positive difference. Here are the five qualities needed most:
1. A taste for disruption.
Seeing disruption as opportunity is one hallmark entrepreneur innovation. And in the next coming years, there will be plenty with the anticipated repeal of Obamacare.
The healthcare industry stakeholders–insurance providers, pharmaceutical companies, hospital networks and government agencies–are large and unwieldy; getting these entities on board and ready to enact changes through their discrete systems requires both skill and patience. Understanding and complying with regulations requires targeted investments in people, training, and technology. Startups are much more nimble than these huge entities, and can more easily adapt to the needs of an ever-changing healthcare environment. They also have a greater ability to leapfrog over their larger, more bloated counterparts.
2. The ability to hire people smarter than yourself.
The success of a startup rests squarely on the abilities, intellectual and otherwise, of those on its team. It is essential, therefore, that entrepreneurs hire people even smarter than themselves. Why? Entrepreneurs are goal-focused and rewards-oriented. To get where they want to be, they’ll need the best and the brightest on board.
Everyone has different strengths, and while a founder’s knack for ideas and leadership skills are essential, recruiting people that have an even keener knowledge of the industry than they do will strengthen the company as a whole.
The ability to fall and get back up again is another key to entrepreneurial success. Entrepreneurs are not afraid to fail–they are willing to take chances and risk it all, if necessary. One can say that Amazon disrupted the retail market in 1994, but it took more than two decades to for it to finally become profitable. For 20 years, the internet giant’s revenue was nearly nonexistent. During those years, they made risky and expensive investments in operations. Their risks paid off: In the second quarter of 2016, they posted their largest profit–$857 million.
4. A collaborative spirit.
Entrepreneurs looking to make progress in healthcare need to find allies whom they can trust and work with. Most providers recognize the current strain placed on the system, so there is usually a listening ear for providers who can offer realistic help and solutions.
Successful startups in the healthcare industry must also partner with industry giants rather than being seen as attempting to circumvent or displace them. The healthcare industry has a deep rooted system that must be accessed and harnessed if a startup is to succeed.
As an example, through collaboration with major medical centers in New York, my company The Allure Group has amassed an expanding portfolio of advanced post-acute care programs. These include cardiac and neurological rehabilitation, and without collaboration it would not have been possible.
5. A knack for niche
When caring for my elderly grandfather, it became apparent to me that some skilled nursing facilities were severely lacking the resources to allow residents to live happy and comfortable lives. I recognized a need for better care, and built a company to address this niche need in New York City. The Allure Group’s business model catered to specific needs of residents across various communities, and continually seeks to develop innovative post-acute care programs that deliver the best outcomes.
When it comes to innovation in healthcare, all of the above qualities will be critical in launching successful ventures that will both turn a profit and benefit the people they serve. It has worked for me, and as there will be no shortage of healthcare needs in the future, the industry will need all the savvy entrepreneurs it can get.