The rising costs of healthcare are a concern for everyone. Patients and insurance companies may bear the brunt of it, but doctors and other healthcare professionals are also affected when high costs limit the care they can offer. Add complications to the high costs, and it’s easy to be frustrated with the system.
But hope lies with innovative startup companies. These businesses are able to disrupt the entire industry by creating new products that outperform current ones — at considerably cheaper prices.
A New Threat to an Old Industry
Large, established corporations have long narrated the story of healthcare. Their age and reach have made them giants that are not easily shaken. However, as technology — namely, the Internet — has developed, a new threat to the industry has evolved. Individuals, even teenagers, can research and develop ideas from their own bedrooms.
Jack Andraka is a prime example. At 15, he consulted Google and Wikipedia, combined his research with lessons from his high school biology class, and came up with the idea for an early detection test for pancreatic cancer. He still had to find someone to help him perform tests in a lab, but his idea offers a solution to the lack of early detection of an often-fatal diagnosis. Previous detection tests were incredibly expensive and caught later stages only, rendering diagnoses even more disappointing.
He’s not the only teen advancing healthcare from home. Modern access to information has given many kids the information they need to use their uninhibited, youthful drive to improve the health of others. Teenagers are still naïve enough to believe that anything can be done, which helps them accomplish these feats, but older entrepreneurs are just as capable of making the same amount of impact.
How One Entrepreneur Revolutionized the Industry
In 1983, Chuck Hull invented 3D printing and established his company, 3D Systems, a few years later. While 3D printing has many mechanical and engineering uses, it’s become a significant tool for the medical industry as well. With it, we can make prosthetic limbs, eyes, blood vessels, and bones, to name a few essential parts. A 3D printing machine has even been developed to make microscopic batteries for ever-shrinking medical implant devices.
I attended a conference where Ekso Bionics presented its exoskeleton device, which would enable a paraplegic to walk. They can now 3D print parts of that exoskeleton so they conform to the wearer’s body, making them comfortable and easy to use.
None of these medical advances would be possible without an entrepreneur who wanted to make prototypes faster and cheaper.
Letting Startups Do the Bulk of Innovating
A common desire in business is to make everything more efficient, whether that’s manufacturing a product faster, developing an item with less expensive resources, or making a product or service more accessible to customers. But entrepreneurs often think you have to be a doctor to understand the medical field and improve it.
On the flip side, medical professionals are too busy focusing on patient care to spend time changing the system or developing new tests. So how do we improve the industry?
The solution is to work together. We must reach across that barrier in order to shake up the healthcare system, which will significantly improve care for patients and save lives.
Take advantage of the fact that entrepreneurs have the unique ability to see things others can’t. They look at the industry with a mindset that centers on solving problems — without getting distracted by barriers like the FDA, insurance companies, and hospital regulations. These obstacles are very real, but entrepreneurs focus on solutions first, and then work with medical professionals to get over the hurdles that exist.
This is already happening, as we see several examples of medical startups being acquired by big investors, but the more it happens, the better care patients will receive. Medical professionals should understand that investors are out there, but startups also need to recognize that there’s demand for their new ideas.
We sometimes get comfortable with how things are and resist change, but the healthcare system has its problems — and entrepreneurs can play a powerful role in solving them. That way, healthcare professionals can spend more time taking care of their patients.
Publicada por Robin F.