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Sunday
Dec122010

Working on the edge

If you are looking for a place to play, check the interface.

In my technology business development consulting practice, I work with several interface technology companies. Interface technologies are those that have products intended for non-medical use but overlap or bump up against medicine in the sense that they have potential medical or healthcare applications or seek to penetrate medical markets. There are several such overlapping industries that include nanotechnology, aerospace, photonics, telecommunications , financial services and information technologies.

Take Sentegra , for example (http//ww w.sentegra.com). Sentegra invents, develops and sells secure mobile electronic transaction products for payment, ticketing or authentication. I was asked to help identify and build an application for third party medical, dental and veterinary billing.

Or, consider NVOQ (www.nvoq.com). They are a software-as-a-service voice to text company, primarily serving customer call centers, exploring  uses in medical transcription. Likewise, I am the Chief Medical Officer for Pluralsoft (www.pluralsoft.com) , an IT company started by a management team with extensive experience in the telecommunications and financial services industry. Their focus now is data analytics and business intelligence for healthcare systems, payer and health information exchanges.

Non-medical innovation is often the tail that wags the medical dog. Telemedicine products were video-conferencing products adapted to the medical market. As a result, they are incomplete. They don't embed the interaction into medical records , create a clinical note or generate a bill. We all use the credit card industry to process patient payments, but there are gaps or crevices in servicing healthcare payments because of the unique medical , third party payment environment. Again, as a result, the solution is incomplete. Travel agencies are trying to penetrate the medical travel market and build another revenue generating vertical, like Medvoy (http://www.medvoy.com)

Playing in the interface involves networking with people who are not doctors or healthcare experts, learning more about emerging interface technologies , and , identifying healthcare problems that might be solved by applying value added interface solutions originating in other industries.

Get out of your box. If you keep your eyes open and allow yourself the freedom to play in unfamiliar territory, great opportunities will come your way.

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