Healthcare has long been a tricky sector to navigate; for organisations trying to break into the market for the first time, the issues it presents are multiplied. The sector in its entirety is so vast and so complex that there is never going to be a quick-fix solution for its progress and development.
The solution cannot be found in one area of the sector alone; instead, it will need a strong level of partnership between all involved to continually and successfully introduce new ideas and technologies into the market.
Identifying and understanding the issues
For SMEs attempting healthcare sector market entry, it is essential that they have a clear understanding of not only the industry itself but also the challenges they will face.
One such issue affecting every organisation entering the healthcare market is its sheer scale. With such an intricate web of services and departments, pitching, product distribution and service delivery become significantly more complex and overwhelming than in many other industries.
Financial pressures naturally have a major impact on procurement to the healthcare sector. Purchasing decisions are often based on cost alone; therefore, a huge challenge for startups is to offer something that improves efficiency and quality while being able to drive down costs, or at least be able to demonstrate an acute awareness of the financial constraints the sector is under.
Stringent regulation is another barrier that needs to be overcome to achieve healthcare sector market entry. While this, of course, is an essential factor in ensuring patient safety, if can sometimes stifle innovation and slow the necessary progress.
Addressing the challenges
Although there are clearly a number of difficulties to overcome, it is these challenges that also present clear opportunities for those determined to break into the market.
The size and complexity of the healthcare sector creates an urgent need for anything that can make it more efficient; for example, assistive technologies that can help patients to become more independent help to reduce the strain on already stretched services and will be an attractive proposition to procurement managers.
Those trying to enter the market need to think strategically, presenting their ideas in an engaging way that will have demonstrable value to the decision makers. A clear strategy is vital, as is a strong understanding of where a new product or service will sit within the industry and the impact it will have on the wider healthcare market.
The solution cannot simply be found with these break-through organisations alone, however. fresh and innovative ideas are essential to the market’s success; therefore, the solution needs to be industry-wide. With so much at stake, there is a greater need for stronger collaboration between all areas of the healthcare industry, including the innovators, providers, manufacturers, and especially patients and carers.
For an SME with the right approach, belief in its product and a clear strategy, the healthcare sector presents an opportunity that is there for the taking.