To celebrate our birthday and the start of the ‘terrible twos’ (hopefully not…) we decided to take a look back at the past two years, and reflect on what we’ve achieved, what we’ve learned and what we might do differently were we starting again.
Of course, much like an X Factor contestant, these are entirely our own reflections of our journey so far – we’d love to hear yours! Tweet us @OBH_UK or use #OBHis2 to join in the conversation.
1 – A change is gonna come…but it might take some time
Perhaps ironically, in one of the fastest moving, most rapidly evolving sectors there is, we’ve learned that working in digital health requires patience.
This is an area with a huge amount of activity, and lots of noise, but it’s still difficult to see any major, concrete changes to healthcare delivery as a result of this.
Take, for example, the rapid growth in self-monitoring in recent years – the plethora of shiny new gadgets and apps designed to measure what we eat, do, sleep and even think, which are being used by millions. The challenge for healthcare organisations now is to use the masses of information this is creating to improve care and benefit patients – knowing someone’s hourly blood sugar or daily steps is very hard to action as a care provider. At OBH, we want to create insights from the masses of information being generated – using big data techniques to link health data with wider datasets about lifestyle and habits, and use them to gain insights which are more widely applicable.
Clearly, it will take time before we have anywhere near enough knowledge and confidence to adapt healthcare delivery on the basis of the data being generated through this relatively recent trend.
In the digital health world, you will need to be responsive and agile to changes in technology, innovation, policy and global trends, but patience is a requirement, not a virtue.
2 – Answer a problem that really exists
Since we started OBH two years ago, we’ve been fortunate to work with and alongside several other startups and partner organisations. Through this experience, we’ve noticed that the most passionate, exciting (and successful) companies are the ones who have a problem they are trying to fix. Too often we’ve come across organisations who are building a business and searching for a problem to solve.
We found that the best way to make sure you’re solving a genuine problem through your work is to test your product as you build it. Because we’ve generated income through providing services to the NHS throughout our first two years, we’ve been fortunate to ‘soft test’ our product with potential users on an ongoing basis, and to build on it through continual exposure to the big problems that healthcare is trying to fix.