You have an amazing idea for an innovation that would completely revolutionise healthcare. 

You develop it; it works incredibly well; and yet no one wants it. Why is it not sticking? Where did you go wrong?

Despite the abundance of HealthTech companies, the reality is that the adoption of digital solutions is not as widespread as you’d think or hope. Why have only a small percentage of solutions been successfully implemented and scaled?

“You need to learn how to walk before you can run,” said Dorota Naumiuk, COO of Open Medical. “In the rush to modernise, there is often a tendency to build the most innovative system without considering if it actually solves a problem. 

“There is also the tendency to complicate things unnecessarily, using automation and complexity to compensate for existing inefficiencies. There is a right balance between embracing innovation and ensuring user readiness. Forcing complex solutions can lead to confusion and hinder progress.”

If a platform fails to address the issue or complicates matters further, users will disengage, says Naumiuk. “You can have the best and fanciest system, but it doesn’t matter if no one uses it.”

Find your champions

London-based Open Medical featured on our HealthTech 50 ranking for 2023 and has developed cloud-based clinical workflow platform Pathpoint, currently used across more than 150 sites in the UK and Europe. 

Its mission is to facilitate streamlined clinical workflows, foster collaboration among distributed teams and bridge the gap between primary, secondary and tertiary care settings.

Open Medical

Understanding the transformation an organisation wants to achieve then using technology to make it happen is key, according to the company’s CCO Dr Michael Shenouda, who explains that a good strategy is through user champions – especially true for clinical users. 

“You need to identify those who will see the value and champion it. They’ll become a positive voice, supporting what you’re doing and tailoring how they describe the benefits to their colleagues,” he says.

Naumiuk agrees: “If you don’t have the internal drive and someone taking responsibility, then as a supplier, you will struggle to make progress.” 

They say that by adopting this approach, the tech supplier has a clear understanding of the benefits and users immediately witness the impact – which enhances engagement and buy-in.

Change the narrative

Unfortunately, it’s not always this straightforward. “Very few people in healthcare don’t have a problem [to solve]; some may just not have the time,” says Naumiuk.

Healthcare professionals are overworked, under-resourced and struggling to keep up. They simply don’t have the headspace to think about implementing a digital solution that will take up time and resources.

Naumiuk says it is vital to help them change the narrative and understand the potential challenges – and gains to be made – of the future. “You need to show them that the short-term pain of implementing a solution will pay off, and you will create more capacity later.”

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Overcoming scepticism

Healthcare organisations can be cautious of new digital solutions because of a previously failed project that wreaked havoc. They may also worry about investing resources in something that could become obsolete in a couple of years.

“Some of the first questions we get asked are around how many hospitals; how many implementations; how many users; and how many contracts, because people want an idea of scale,” added Dr Shenouda. 

Coming full circle, this is where tech providers must ensure the solution solves a real problem and has the necessary user engagement: if it has been successfully procured and implemented in dozens of organisations, there is a confidence that it solves a real problem and can scale.

“In the beginning, when you don’t have much scale, it’s about creating confidence for the user that the solution and service will be successful for them, really closely controlling the user experience and curating it for them, including the after-implementation service,” said Dr Shenouda.

“Once you’ve been able to scale that while still maintaining the same level of care and service, you then have even more robust evidence of the suitability of your solution, and that is something you can leverage.”

HealthTech 50 – UK’s health technology creators for 2023

Partnerships, not transactions

All of these points can be traced back to one pivotal element: collaboration.

“You have to work collaboratively,” explains Naumiuk. “We cannot do it without them and they cannot do it without us. We’ll have different opinions but you have to find common ground for all the challenges you come across.”

Acknowledging that sometimes users may not fully understand what they truly want or the implications of their requests, she says it becomes the provider’s responsibility to not simply follow these requests but to educate and advise them. 

This can present its own set of challenges, but it is a necessary part of the process to ensure effective collaboration and successful outcomes.

Last year Open Medical secured a partnership with UCB to optimise the identification of people at risk of osteoporotic fracture.

“The best projects are the ones where you’re working as a true partner,” concludes Dr Shenouda.

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