Successfully Launch Your Healthcare Product in 8 Steps
If you’re a health tech visionary looking to bring your healthcare product to market, you’ve come to the right place.
Successfully launching a new healthcare product can seem daunting with the industry’s compliance regulations, codes, and security standards. However, it’s not much different from launching in any other industry.
In general, the attributes of a successful product launch in any given industry are similar. You’ll want to make sure you cover the basics whether you’re launching a complex health tech product, simple SaaS tool, or consumer product:
- Start with the right people, resources, and expectations
- Define and then focus incessantly on the specific problem or “job to be done”
- Head to the drawing board for brainstorming and design thinking
- Conduct rapid prototyping with regular consumer feedback
- Land on a minimal viable product (MVP) after sufficient iteration on the prototype
- Conduct “mini” launches and continue to iterate as you go
Critical Healthcare Product Compliance To Consider
While bringing a product to market is similar across industries, there are some nuanced considerations to be aware of when it comes specifically to healthcare technology products.
Here are a few things to consider when building and launching healthcare products:
- Data is sensitive for the healthcare industry, so there are often strict rules related to data security, data access, and data display.
- There are various codes, regulations, and standards to consider like HIPAA, HL7, and CCDA that may impact your healthtech product. .
- Interoperability – – the ability to exchange and use information between two or more different healthcare systems. Much research has been done to conclude that interoperability in healthcare greatly improves positive outcomes and benefits for patients, and this should be something your healthcare product strives to maximize.
1) Pick your product team
You’ll want the perfect mix of people to form your product team, from design, engineering, sales, marketing, subject matter experts, and customer success specialists. There are 4 primary risks that must be managed and mitigated when developing software products. Each of these areas should be assigned to a member of the product team whose primary role is to manage and mitigate the associated risk:
- Value Risk – will customers care? Will customers need/want/buy it?
- Usability Risk – will it be easy to use and ensure a frictionless experience?
- Technical Feasibility Risk – can the product be built with our time, skills, and money? Ensure someone owns the security and any healthcare-related regulation/compliance risks as well.
- Business Viability Risk – will the solution work for the various dimensions of both the product development company’s and the end customer’s business?
Ideally, this team will be assembled from people with previous product launch experience, as well as a mix of skill sets and backgrounds including graphic and UX design, engineering, sales and marketing, core business financial success stakeholders, and subject matter experts.
2) Define a clear, specific problem that is worth solving.
Without solving a problem that plagues the day-to-day lives of your target audience, you’re destined for failure.
The best way to identify the specific problem you will be solving with your product is to think of your persona in terms of their “jobs to be done.” Examples of daily responsibilities may include painful data entry, tedious administrative tasks, or patient management.
3) Brainstorm solutions to your user’s problem.
This is the fun part – hitting the drawing board with your team. Once you have clearly defined a primary pain point within a job to be done, you can begin engaging in common brainstorming activities:
- Host whiteboard sessions with your team to begin getting all of your ideas out of your mind and into writing.
- Split up the team into smaller groups (or work individually) to sketch out ideas that might help solve the problem.
- Work together to narrow down the proposed solution to just one per member of the team (or just one per smaller group)
At this point there will be several proposed ideas. We must now decide on one with which to move forward.
Here, the product team deliberates over the landscape of proposals, and finalizes the one to be prototyped. Each participant or small group will share their one identified solution, and the full product team will engage in decision-making exercises to decide the final solution that will be pursued.
5) Begin rapidly producing your prototype.
Because of uncertainty, rapid prototyping is one of the best ways to begin gathering feedback from your target end-user.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “fail fast” – What this means is that you want to quickly understand whether your assumptions are right before continuing to apply them as you iterate through product development. Developing a quick prototype of the solution is one of the best ways to solicit feedback from your target audience, and provide them the opportunity to help adjust the design and development path.
It is important to think of the prototype as something you will throw away, and only build into just enough structure and complexity to validate assumptions with your target audience. It needs to be real enough to solicit an authentic response from the user but does not need to cover every contingency or experience flow.
6) Validate and iterate.
Put the prototype in front of real users, and get their feedback. Adjust the prototype based on this feedback and repeat this process until the solution has been validated.
7) Develop an MVP from a validated prototype.
A minimal viable product or MVP, is a production-ready asset ready to launch commercially to your target marketing audience.
Here are some important points to know about MVPs:
- The MVP is defined and built based on all of the feedback you have received on your prototype up until that point in time.
- The “M” in MVP means “Minimum”, and should be underscored for importance. The MVP should be the simplest, least feature-rich product possible to satisfy a hyper-specific need of the market.
- Stay away from the “feature trap” – adding unnecessary bells and whistles to a basic product that already solves a problem. Don’t build anything in addition to what you NEED to solve the problem..
- As you proceed to build your MVP, focus on tackling the hardest challenges first. For a health tech product, this may have to do with healthcare industry requirements and constraints, so having that subject matter expertise is imperative.
8) When to launch?
No amount of testing is going to prepare your product for real-world users.
For this reason, it should help to look at your product launch as a series of small product exposures to the end users – as opposed to one big major event. Try to identify a small set of end users that will help test the product during development, and provide the kind of continuous feedback needed to ensure a successful product. Then slowly open this up to a larger and larger group. It’s better to roll the product out slowly than “launch” it all at once to everyone.
Launching a healthcare product is never easy…
Changing the “status quo” of the healthcare industry is one of the hardest things about launching a health tech product.
Healthcare professionals are notoriously busy and lacking in advanced technology skillsets. There is also a loud market out there – with hundreds of software solutions to vet through.
Throughout the process, make sure to ask yourself and your team questions like:
- What are the most painful jobs to be done in healthcare today?
- How is it done today? Does it work well?
- What are they doing in their daily lives?
- Why do they do it this way?
- What could make this process easier for everyone?
- How can we make a big enough difference to actually consider making a change?