6 Steps to Launching a Startup in the Medical Sector

July 13th, 2021 - By Andrew Fearnley

Women working on a laptop

Today, many entrepreneurs are curious about launching their own medical startups in the healthcare sector. There are plenty of opportunities for aspiring business owners who are knowledgeable about the intricacies of delivering quality patient care and navigating the healthcare system.

But launching a medical startup can be more complicated than starting a business in another sector. You will have to abide by strict legal regulations, and you’ll also need to ensure that you’re effectively meeting a high standard of care to support your client’s needs. Therefore, thoroughly researching every aspect of launching a medical startup in advance is essential.

Create a Business Plan and Budget

Perhaps you already have a fantastic idea for a medical startup – but before you go any further, you need to draw up a business plan and reasonable budget. As you create your plan and budget, you will spend time thinking about your approach to marketing, management, operations, and product design. You will also consider how you will obtain and spend your startup capital.

As you develop your business plan, think about how you can put your client’s health first. PrognoCIS recommends keeping the fundamentals of “value-based care” in mind. You’ll want to focus on improving patient access to the healthcare services that they need, making it easier for patients to engage in preventative care, and streamlining physician workflows so that they can help more people in an efficient manner. The key is balancing convenience with a stellar standard of care for your clients.

Choose Your Medical Advisory Board

Working with the right people on your medical advisory board can make a world of difference for the success of your startup. If you choose advisors with little experience in the sector, you might feel like you’re flying blind – but if you select people who know the ins and outs of this market and have extensive experience working in this industry, you’ll be able to benefit from their expert guidance. Building a fantastic team starts with your advisory board, so you want to choose your members carefully.

Ensure HIPAA Compliance

If your medical startup or patient website will offer online accounts or online billing services, you will need to comply with all of the legal standards set out by HIPAA. This also applies if you will be maintaining patient information databases. If you fail to ensure that your medical startup is HIPAA compliant, you risk facing legal action. In addition, potential clients are unlikely to place their trust in a company that does not prioritize HIPAA compliance – they need to know that you take their concerns about privacy seriously.

As the owner of a medical startup, what are your responsibilities in regards to HIPAA compliance? Accountable HQ states if your business will be using protected health information (PHI), you will need to comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule, Security Rule, Breach Notification Rule, and the Omnibus Rule. This will likely involve implementing strong security protections and safeguards for any software that you use. You will also need to brief your future team members on the rules that they will need to follow, especially in regards to disclosing PHI. In order to make sure that you are not violating any of these crucial rules, you may want to get in touch with a consultant or legal team who specializes in HIPAA compliance.

Develop Your App or Website

Chances are, you’re going to need to launch an application or website in order to market and sell your product or service. Even if you will be selling physical products like medical devices rather than providing a telemedicine service, you will need a website. Realistically, your needs for this platform will be rather complex – you might need to enable eCommerce, build a patient portal, or offer video chatting functionality. This is why you’ll probably want to budget for a web or medical startup app developer and designer, even if you have some experience creating websites.

It’s also a good idea to work with developers and designers who specialize in collaborating with medical startups. After all, you will likely need to consider HIPAA compliance in regards to your website or app functionalities and privacy protections, so hiring a developer who is familiar with these principles is crucial.

Hire Staff and Establish a Payroll System

Hiring staff for your medical startup can be an extensive process. Hiring staff with a background in healthcare is paramount, even if you’re looking to fill roles like a content manager or social media marketer. You also need to ensure that any candidates you hire understand the importance of HIPAA compliance and how to properly adhere to these legal regulations.

But before you officially start advertising for open positions, you need to set up your payroll system. There are plenty of different payroll software options on the market, but you’ll want to think about which specific features you’ll require to manage your startup’s finances before making a decision.

Once you’ve chosen the right software, you’ll have to complete a few additional steps prior to hiring your first employee. For instance, you will need to come up with a consistent pay schedule for your future employees. You will also want to come up with a system for entering your financial information in an organized fashion so that you’re always organized before tax season! QuickBooks states that as part of establishing payroll when you’re just starting out, you should also take note of IRS deadlines in order to file on time. Remember, before entering any new staff members into your system, they will need to fill out W-4 forms to determine their withholdings.

Continuously Improve Your Service

After you launch your medical startup, you’ll need to consider how you can continuously make your service better for your clients. They are trusting you with their health and quality of life, and by optimizing your service for their specific needs, you can make a difference. You may want to administer surveys to collect and analyze client feedback or instruct your providers and other client-facing team members to ask about their experiences directly so that you can implement their recommendations for improvement.

There is more than enough space for more entrepreneurs in the medical sector, especially with patients becoming interested in telehealth and virtual therapy. However, trying to establish a medical startup in this sector without a thorough understanding of HIPAA compliance, other legal regulations, and how to provide excellent patient services is unwise. But with these tips, you’ll be prepared to turn your plans for a medical startup into reality.

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