6 Top Healthcare Startups to Model Your Business After
Healthtech — 1 min read
Technology is changing the way we think about healthcare. Entrepreneurs are leading the charge, creating innovative solutions to some of the most pressing issues in the healthcare industry.
In this article, we'll take a look at six of the top healthcare startups that are defining the way the healthcare industry uses technology. We'll explore how these startups' innovative approaches are disrupting traditional models of care, as well as discuss what makes each startup unique and why each has been so successful.
By learning more about these six startups, you can gain insight into what it takes to build a successful healthcare startup of your own.
1. Oscar Health
Oscar Health uses innovative technology solutions to simplify the health insurance experience for patients. Subscribers can use the Oscar Health app to input their symptoms and find relevant healthcare providers near them, consult with a doctor, and even get a prescription remotely.
Oscar Health charges a yearly subscription fee, which is calculated according to your risk profile and includes factors like age, income, geography, and your full range of coverage. When healthcare services are necessary, Oscar health covers the cost in accordance with each subscriber’s individual plan.
In addition, Oscar Health users can find helpful information about care providers via the Oscar Health website or app. Users can also access a free fitness tracker and enjoy full visibility of their entire health history organized in one convenient location.
Why Is Oscar Health a Good Startup Model?
Oscar Health is a great example of a startup that is leveraging technology to create value for customers. The founders noticed that the health insurance industry was not taking full advantage of the potential for digital experiences and seized that opportunity to provide a better solution for consumers.
Focusing on digital health insurance experiences enables Oscar Health to offer a unique service and streamline efficiency at the same time, making it possible to compete with established competitors in the health insurance space.
2. 23 and Me
23 and Me is based on the idea that people should have the ability to access their medical information directly without the involvement of a doctor. Traditionally, patients need to go through a doctor to access personal health information (like whether someone is at risk for certain types of cancer). 23 and Me was founded as a way for people to access their personal clinical data without a doctor’s involvement by mailing in a saliva sample and receiving their lab results directly.
However, the company has faced pushback from the FDA, which was reluctant to allow 23 and Me to provide people’s health data to them directly until they could prove their lab tests were accurate. 23 and Me worked to convince the FDA that their methods of providing lab results directly to consumers is safe and are now approved to inform people of multiple kinds of medical risks — including warning women of breast cancer risk — without requiring them to first obtain orders for a lab test from a doctor.
23 and Me’s service includes reports on the user’s risk of breast cancer, Celiac disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. It can also inform people who are thinking of becoming parents if they are carriers of cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, hereditary hearing loss, or numerous other genetic abnormalities.
23 and Me also offers a genetics test and is leveraging the database of medical information it gathers from its users to help develop new drugs for genetic diseases. The goal is to channel all that research directly back into consumer benefit, further supporting 23 and Me’s commitment to empowering users when it comes to understanding and managing their own health.
Why Is 23 and Me a Good Startup Model?
23 and Me’s driving disruptive force is its consumer focus. It’s founded on the idea that consumers should have the right and the ability to access their own medical data without going through a physician. This is a great example of how some of the best companies are based around a simple idea for providing a much needed solution.
3. Butterfly Network
Butterfly Network is a startup that creates handheld medical-imaging devices that are cheaper and more efficient than traditional MRI and ultrasound machines. Typically, MRIs and Ultrasounds are extremely complex procedures that generate high healthcare costs. Butterfly Network seeks to make the medical imaging process much cheaper and more efficient and even automate some of the process.
Founder Jonathon Rothberg drew from his experience at previous startup Ion Torrent, where he helped create a semiconductor chip capable of sequencing DNA much more inexpensively and efficiently than traditional DNA sequencing machines, to create handheld medical imaging scanners. Butterfly Network’s handheld devices walk users through the steps of the medical imaging process on-screen, generate 3D images in real time, and automatically diagnose issues.
Butterfly scanners use deep learning algorithms to automate the medical imaging process with the overall goal of making medical imaging so easy that medical professionals can do it outside of healthcare facilities with absolutely no specialized training required. Butterfly Network also incorporates telemedicine technology into their products to enable more experienced practitioners to guide less experienced practitioners remotely or weigh in on patient outcomes in real time.
Why Is Butterfly Network a Good Model?
Butterfly Network has found an area of the healthcare system that could benefit from technological innovation and plugged the hole with a cutting-edge solution. They are one of the pioneering startups helping to revolutionize the healthcare industry through the use of technology.
By developing cheaper, more efficient ways of providing essential medical services, Butterfly Network makes these services more accessible to everyone and has secured their own place as a strong competitor in the healthcare startup landscape.
Heartflow’s mission is to find a better way to diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD), the leading cause of death. In pursuit of this goal, they’ve built a computational flow model based on medical imaging.
When the idea for Heartflow first came about, the computing power and diagnostic imaging capabilities to make the idea a reality did not yet exist. This led the Heartflow team to develop their own technology, called HeartFlow FFRct Analysis, through 15 years of computational flow modeling research. Using this technology, Heartflow developed the first non-invasive test that can accurately quantify the impact of coronary artery disease on a patient's heart and blood flow.
Now, Heartflow’s devices provide doctors with more accurate and actionable information regarding coronary artery disease than traditional cardiac stress testing typically does. Heartflow has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the health systems and benefited patients across the world.
Why Is Heartflow a Good Startup Model?
Heartflow’s startup model succeeded because they developed groundbreaking technology that allowed them to completely circumvent much of the competition. Instead of allowing the inadequate technology of the day to derail their startup idea, they instead developed the technology themselves, becoming the first and only healthcare company to do so in the process.
Like the other startups on this list, Heartflow has helped to advance the relationship between technology and the healthcare industry. They’ve also addressed a specific, significant need in the healthcare space by providing healthcare professionals with the tools they need to make more informed decisions about patients’ cardiovascular care.
Benchling provides digital tools for improving administrative organization and efficiency in pharmaceutical labs with the goal of streamlining research and development (R&D) workflows. Pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare organizations waste a great deal of time and resources on inefficiencies in the research and development process. This means there is a huge opportunity to help these companies be more competitive by improving R&D efficiency.
Benchling initially focused on creating tools for tracking tasks in academic research labs, but now focuses more broadly on helping lab teams digitize record-keeping systems and improve collaboration. Benchling’s tools also integrate with many other digital research systems — for example, systems for DNA editing and analysis.
Why Is Benchling a Good Startup Model?
Traditionally, research labs have mainly relied on spreadsheets and handwritten notes for organization and collaboration. Benchling leverages technology to introduce a more efficient solution for this purpose. Benchling also offers the ability to integrate with many other kinds of R&D systems, which makes it an exceptionally user-friendly product and ensures more researchers are able to take advantage of it.
One smart move Benchling made early on was to make its product available to academic research labs for free in exchange for their feedback. This allowed Benchling to tweak their product using feedback from real users before fully launching it.
Today, Benchling uses a freemium pricing model that offers a free tier to academic users and paid tiers for industry researchers. This keeps customer acquisition high and provides plenty of data insights from users that the company uses to enrich the platform further and create more reasons to upgrade to a paid tier.
6. Lyra Health
Lyra Health is an employer sponsored benefit that offers mental health care to members. Lyra provides personalized mental health care services to their members based on each member’s needs and preferences, including in-person, video, or text-message mental health care options. Companies can partner with Lyra to provide the service as a benefit to their employees.
Why Is Lyra Health a Good Startup Model?
Lyra Health helps address important problems in the healthcare industry like the lack of employer-sponsored mental health care options and the stigma associated with seeking mental health care. Developing solutions to under-addressed needs is at the heart of the startup ethos.
Lyra’s digital approach to mental healthcare is also a smart approach for an employer-sponsored healthcare benefit at a time when remote work is so popular. Plus, the digital approach makes it possible for Lyra to easily expand the geographical range of their services, which they are doing with a focus on providing culturally-conscious mental healthcare to employees all over the world.
Fuel Your Healthcare Startup With Advice from a Mentor
Each of these healthcare startups is a great example of an innovative company that’s successfully disrupting the healthcare industry in one way or another. However, none of them achieved their success overnight. If your startup is currently in a rough patch or you aren’t sure where to begin, a mentor can provide the guidance you need to find the right path. Get in touch with a healthtech founder today for personalized advice and experience-based insights.