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Electronic data capture is an invaluable tool for clinical research and disease management. The strength of this technology is know and widely accepted. Year after year a parade of new “revolutionary” medical devices is introduced into to market. These devices are lucky to live a couple years in the clinical research space and then fade away into obscurity. The basic question is why? The answers fairly simple and relates back to two basic aspects: healthcare economics and human factors. In this article I’ll explore what I consider the three basic principles for a successful home healthcare product:
  • Implementation cost.
  • Identify the payers.
  • Create habitual users.
Factor 1 Implementation CostThe cost of technology is always hindrance to its adoption.  I am amazed each year when technology giants introduce their latest crop of home healthcare devices. These devices are desktop with color touch screens; they speak to you; listen to you; have a video phone, alert your doctor and are wirelessly connected. They are marvels of technology, and beautifully designed. Adding up the hardware costs it becomes evident these products need to sell for thousands of dollars per copy.  These designs are the top of the home healthcare technology ladder. This approach is dead on arrival because insurance payers and end users can not shell out the cost for the initial technology. The other end of the spectrum are the healthcare devices I see in the dollar stores, plastic weekly pill boxes, reading glasses and medication reminders. These designs are at the bottom of the device technology ladder and they will always survive because the decision maker, user and payer are the patient themselves.

Factor 2 Identify the payersThe most overlooked factor in the path to home healthcare market success is correctly identifying the payers. If you analyze home health care business plans they eventually come down to someone paying for a monthly service. Whether it $30, $60 or $90 dollars doesn’t matter what matters is who is paying. Too often the products rely on insurance carriers to pick up the monthly costs for new services touting long term savings to their bottom line. I have rarely seen this approach work. Another approach the product relies on the government as the payer. This approach works if the service is legislated into existence through Medicare or other government programs.  The last and least likely payer is the patients themselves. Unless your product is very reasonably priced and/or a lifesaving technology this approach limits your design to a very few adopters.  

Factor 3 Habitual useImagine users of a new technology with thousands of dollars of computer equipment and physiologic measurement devices, connection wires strewn over a desktop connecting the computers to the health measurement devices.  This implementation has little chance of being in a natural convenient location for the participants and further has almost no chance of becoming a habitual part of the participant’s lifestyle.  Now look at a cell phone or IPod, these devices succeed because they have become part on the person’s lifestyle. The users put up with charging and syncing their phones and IPODs because they bring enough benefit to the user to outweigh these costs. Any healthcare device must overcome these same hurtles before users will adopt it into their lives. It they don’t then the product will never be successful.Recognizing these factors and satisfying these factors is the first step to developing a successful product.
2017-07-10T16:01:25+00:00 March 11th, 2014|Clinical Research, Data Registries, Investment|