9 ways founders can bring automation to healthcare

For years, automation has been a key driver of transformation across industries, changing the way companies and entire sectors operate. However, healthcare, a $4.1 trillion industry, has fallen behind.

For an industry that constantly innovates, evolves and adapts, the reticence to embrace automation is frustrating, but ultimately, unsurprising. Healthcare remains in a constant tug-of-war among patients, payers, providers and pharma. This push and pull drives unnecessary costs, impacts clinical quality and leads to patient and provider dissatisfaction.

We cannot solely lay the blame on regulations. In other highly regulated industries such as financial services, automation has redefined high-friction processes. For example, automation transformed mortgage underwriting by providing consumers, brokers and banks with relevant information, rules and real-time transactions. As incumbent banks embraced startups, investors leaned into novel ways to reduce friction and improve accuracy, increasing annual mortgage origination by nearly 40% compared to the last decade.

There’s immense opportunity for similar gains in healthcare, but long-term success requires healthcare incumbents to truly commit to automation.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed significant cracks in our healthcare system. As healthcare systems and payer executives contend with ballooning labor costs tied to The Great Resignation and reduction in patient mindshare from the explosion of digital-native startups, they will need automation to stay competitive.

Friction created by prolonged implementation cycles, lack of adequate clinician involvement and difficult to measure ROI has left us with a healthcare system skeptical of technology.

Automation is the key to a more resilient and efficient healthcare system, but increasing meaningful adoption remains challenging. Entrepreneurs trying to navigate these waters should consider the following go-to-market tactics to increase their odds of success:

Focus narrowly on a specific “starter” problem

Even if your platform can do multiple things, you should focus on helping “onboard” prospective customers with one thing you do really well that has short go-live times, minimal customer resource requirements and clear success metrics.

Clearly define success across measurable metrics

ROI is often both qualitative and quantitative in nature, so it’s important to define the framework for your offering and weight KPIs differently based on prospective customer nuances instead of creating bespoke ROI frameworks that are impossible to keep track of.

Deliver 1x-2x ROI within a year of launch

Having clearly defined success metrics should enable automation platforms to demonstrate value within six to 12 months of launch. Ideally, companies should target 1x-2x ROI for the initial deployment to avoid underpricing. Showing ROI within a budget cycle will position companies well for future expansion.

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