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Data as a Wedge in Digital Health Go-to-Market

I've been thinking a bit about go-to-market in digital health lately and this is an attempt to get my thoughts down.

Just as compliance requirements create market opportunities for cybersecurity startups, the berth of medical data now available presents an opportunity for digital health startups to pursue a more efficient go-to-market strategy in a notoriously competitive and expensive space.

K Health is a telehealth startup focused on urgent care, where patients are seeking solutions for an immediate problem. To start a visit, K Health users start by selecting their symptoms and are lead through a decision tree like interface that assesses the severity of those symptoms, ending with a breakdown of the most common causes of the patient's symptoms based on data from other K Health users.

I thought this was an interesting use of data to improve the patient's experience and give the doctor (or nurse practitioner) the information they need to make a recommendation quickly.

Doing a little research on K Health, I found that it had actually started as a symptom checker app, with this decision tree interface as their main feature.

Even more interesting, K Health solved for the cold start problem by partnering with a large Israeli hospital system with a large amount of anonymized medical data, making their product instantly valuable even with few users at the onset.

I came across another product that uses open data on clinical trials to help patients find clinical trials they're eligible for.

In this case the data is available freely online. However, like most data made available due to disclosure requirements, it's in a format made for compliance and not usability. I think of a product like Power as "activating" data that is already available, compared to K Health's partnership with an established provider.

With recent regulations mandating medical price transparency, massive data sets of negotiated prices for medical procedures and equipment are now available online, but yet again not in any usable format for patients. While many hospital systems are starting to integrate this transparency into their EHR systems, I think these data sets open up opportunities to build better user experiences for patients, and activating this data may be a go-to-market mechanism for a new crop of digital health startups.