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Medical & Healthcare Digital Entrepreneurship

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About Course

The emergence of the digital economy has unlocked new opportunities for entrepreneurs, leading to the creation of new business models, innovations and value in data driven sectors. The digital economy initially stemmed from the technology sector, but as new tools and techniques have become more accessible and widespread, new digital enterprises and entrepreneurs have begun to emerge in a variety of sectors notably the Healthcare Industry.

Entrepreneurs have been particularly keen to locate opportunities where digital business models can be created to unleash disruptive innovation, with serial venturing teams becoming digital entrepreneurs. Considerable wealth has been accumulated through digital entrepreneurship, but developing successful and sustainable ventures is a complex task. This module provides insight into the emergence of digital entrepreneurship, key concepts, business models, and the resources needed to develop successful ventures. Students will develop a business plan for a digital enterprise as part of a venture team and will present this plan in a business pitch. This module will be of interest to students planning on developing their own enterprise, or who intend on working in dynamic, digital businesses.

The topics covered in this module will include:

  • Defining Entrepreneurship
  • Defining digital entrepreneurship
  • Defining digital healthcare
  • The rise of entrepreneurship in digital health spaces
  • Opportunity development, assessment and evaluation
  • Developing digital business models that capture value and sustain their competitive advantage
  • Digital businesses role in social and sustainable development
  • The creation and development of the lean business canvas model
  • Pitching your idea to potential investors
  • Validating your product


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What Will You Learn?

  • Learning Outcomes
  • Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills
  • Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
  • understand opportunity recognition, development and evaluation of digital business ventures in a variety of contexts;
  • evaluate, analyse, understand and interpret the activities involved in digital business venturing.
  • converse with key stakeholders about issues relevant to the development of new digital ventures;
  • analyse and interpret different approaches to the creation of digital business models;
  • Knowledge and Understanding
  • Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
  • the criteria for the development of a successful digital business plan and business plan presentation.
  • the development of unique digital business models;
  • the skills and resources required for digital entrepreneurship;
  • the rise and development of the concept of digital entrepreneurship;
  • Transferable and Generic Skills
  • Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
  • synthesise, analyse, interpret and evaluate information from a range of sources.
  • self-manage the development of learning and study skills, both individually and as part of a collaborative learning group;
  • identify own personal attributes applicable to entrepreneurial situations in digital contexts;
  • contribute successfully to a peer work group;

Course Content

What is Digital Entrepreneurship?
Digital entrepreneurship is a term that describes how entrepreneurship will change, as business and society continue to be transformed by digital technology. Digital entrepreneurship highlights changes in entrepreneurial practice, theory, and education. Digital entrepreneurship includes everything that is new and different about entrepreneurship in a digital world, including: New ways of finding customers for entrepreneurial ventures. New ways of designing and offering products, and services. New ways of generating revenue, and reducing cost. New opportunities to collaborate with platforms and partners. New sources of opportunity, risk, and competitive advantage. On a practical level, digital entrepreneurship opens up new possibilities for anyone thinking of becoming an entrepreneur. Some opportunities are more technical, but many others are within reach for anyone who learns the basic skills of digital entrepreneurship. These basic skills include finding new customers online, prototyping new business ideas, and improving business ideas based on data. Beyond learning new practical skills, digital entrepreneurship is also about new ways of thinking about entrepreneurship itself—which is another way of saying it offers new theories of entrepreneurship. Digital entrepreneurship opens up new questions about strategy, opportunity, and risk. Does the best data win? How can I craft a business idea that can be prototyped digitally? How can I improve my business idea faster than anyone else? How can I easily switch between different business ideas, and revenue sources? What does it mean to be a global business from the first day? And why do people from around the world keep trying to break into my business? In terms of education, digital entrepreneurship opens new possibilities to train the next generation of entrepreneurs. The best way to learn entrepreneurship is to ‘do it’, and reflect on that experience. Starting a new business, or launching a new product, in the normal world is costly and risky for beginners. The digital world not just lowers the barriers for starting something new, but offers a variety of pathways to success. It’s just a different world educationally from case studies, simulations, and business plans. The exact definition of digital entrepreneurship is still being debated, partly because it’s early days, and partly because it’s a moving target. As digital technology evolves, what is new about digital entrepreneurship will change over time. Perhaps one day, most or all entrepreneurial ventures will be ‘born digital’, and digital entrepreneurship as a separate topic will cease to exist. Today, however, there’s a real need to better prepare entrepreneurs for the digital world, and to give more people a new path to entrepreneurship. If you want to learn more about digital entrepreneurship, you’re in the right place.

  • Importance of Entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurial Qualities
  • Entrepreneurship Innovation
  • Five Simple Types of Digital Business Ideas
  • The ABCs of Digital Business Design: Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion

What is Digital Healthcare?
The broad scope of digital health includes categories such as mobile health (mHealth), health information technology (IT), wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine, and personalized medicine. From mobile medical apps and software that support the clinical decisions doctors make every day to artificial intelligence and machine learning, digital technology has been driving a revolution in health care. Digital health tools have the vast potential to improve our ability to accurately diagnose and treat disease and to enhance the delivery of health care for the individual. Digital health technologies use computing platforms, connectivity, software, and sensors for health care and related uses. These technologies span a wide range of uses, from applications in general wellness to applications as a medical device. They include technologies intended for use as a medical product, in a medical product, as companion diagnostics, or as an adjunct to other medical products (devices, drugs, and biologics). They may also be used to develop or study medical products.

Why Become a Digital Entrepreneur?
Many doctors are engaged in business entrepreneurship: 1. Running hospitals 2. Starting clinics and diagnostic centers; 3. Starting pharmas 4. Research 5. Running businesses unrelated to medical practice Digital health is here to stay and will continue to play an increasingly critical role in improving healthcare. With average projected growth at approximately 12 percent per year and a minimum of 8 percent growth across all value pools through 2024, digital health value pools provide a significant opportunity for both new entrants and established players to capture value. To build a successful digital health business, each of the six building blocks should be considered. Every company’s journey will be unique, and past success does not guarantee future success. Nevertheless, those just setting out can learn from those that have gone before.

The Impact of Digital Technology on Healthcare
Digital technology has become an integral part of healthcare and is all set to revolutionise the practice of medicine. Digital technology has greatly improved operational efficiency with respect to standards of medical care. The transformation has significantly enhanced the overall experience of both healthcare professionals and patients. Some of the areas where digital technology has made an enormous impact in healthcare include: 1. Improved Access to Medical Information and Data: One of the biggest benefits of the digital revolution has been the ability to store and access data. Healthcare professionals can now retrieve patient data from anywhere. Also, the intranet and internet have allowed healthcare professionals to share medical information rapidly with each other, resulting in more efficient patient care. 2. Big Data: Another great benefit of digital technology is that it allows clinicians to gather big data in minimal time. For those conducting epidemiological studies, research, or clinical trials, digital technology allows for the instant collection of data from a much more diverse and larger population than ever before. Such data collection allows for meta-analysis and permits healthcare professionals to stay on top of cutting edge techniques and trends. Also, access to big data allows clinicians to identify risk factors and recommend appropriate preventive/intervention steps more effectively. 3. Improved Lines of Communication: There was a time not too long ago when healthcare workers used a beeper to communicate. But today, digital technology has made communication between healthcare providers and patients very easy. Healthcare workers can stay in touch through email, smartphones, text messaging etc. No longer do physicians have to mail out letters to patients reminding them of their appointments and tests. Technology has made all this much simpler and much more cost-effective. Also, medical professionals can make their own webinars, videos and use online platforms and social media to communicate with other professionals. Teleconferencing has made it easy to communicate beyond geographic borders. 4. Electronic Health Records: The introduction of digital technology has been a blessing when it comes to patient medical records. In the old days, large paper files were moved from department to department. It often happened that during transport, patient medical charts went missing or were damaged. It sometimes took a long time to find medical records in emergency departments if patients came at night or during the weekend. Referring patients was also a tedious process and physicians had to send a large box containing the patient chart. Medical records were all over the place; some records remained with the dentist, some with the psychiatrist, some with the internist and some with the rehabilitation specialist. In simple words, it was total chaos. All this has changed with electronic health records (EHR) which have made life easier for both healthcare providers and patients. Access to EHRs has resulted in a centralised storage of all patient data and faster access for improved care and better outcomes. EHRs also enable faster, smoother and easier medical billing. 5. Telemedicine/Telehealth: There are still many places around the world that are rural and have a shortage of healthcare providers. One important benefit of digital technology is video conferencing. Not only is telehealth cost-effective, but it can also help determine who needs emergency assistance. Today, psychiatrists often deliver counseling via telehealth for patients who are not able to physically come to their clinic. Telecommunication is also being used to provide education and training to healthcare workers residing in remote areas. 6. Online education: Another important benefit of digital technology is the availability of online education, specifically in regards to healthcare related degrees. Today, students interested in pursuing a career in healthcare can complete their healthcare degrees completely online. This enables them to study where they want, from whichever school they want and in their own time. The availability of online education for healthcare professionals has eliminated the need to travel long distances and take time off work. 7. Health Apps: The digital revolution has also resulted in the development of hundreds of health apps. These apps enable patients to monitor their health and disease, provide them medical information, allow them access to test results and prompt them when it is time to get their check-up. Also, healthcare apps enable healthcare workers to quickly check on test results, drug dosing recommendations and other information they need urgently. Overall, digital technology has transformed healthcare. And this transformation is expected to continue in the years to come. Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, blockchain, healthcare mobile apps, wearables and many other such advancements will change the future of healthcare. As long as healthcare organisations and healthcare professionals keep their minds open and create the required infrastructure and systems, there is no saying how far digital technology can go in healthcare.

Three steps to successful digital health transformation
When it comes to digital health transformation, there is too much emphasis on the technology itself and not enough on the people we are trying to serve. Most people think digital health transformation is about the transfer of data and view technology as the solution. In fact, behavior change is usually the largest barrier to overcome. That’s why the first step to successful digital health transformation is to understand the underlying problems. Understand the underlying problems When we’re working with people in a health system, we ask about their strategic initiatives for the year and what technology they need to transform to provide an innovative care model. It’s not about finding the coolest, most technologically advanced widget on the market. It’s about finding the pain points and determining how that translates to the needs of caregivers or patients. One client, for example, was focused on the transition of care as patients move from a hospital to long-term care or a skilled-nursing facility. But they weren’t simply trying to get the data from one facility to another. It was important to manage that transfer in a way that ensured they were improving the patient experience. Know how technology fits into workflows A second key focus should be on how the technology fits into the workflow of the healthcare provider. That means treating the work less like an IT project and more like an operations project so it is aligned with the strategic initiatives of the overall department. Take, for example, a project that focuses on operating room procedures to replace hips and knees. From a technology perspective, we might focus on getting data from the electronic health record to optimize inventory levels of replacement joints, resulting in a boosted return on investment by sterilizing fewer instruments, reducing employee costs, and other efficiencies. But if you talk to the operations people, say the director of the OR, they might have several additional departmental goals, such as more accurate and timely data to help with supply chain management or budgeting. Standardize everything A third element to successfully incorporating digital health is standardization. Not just the technology tool itself but all the processes you need to support it, such as compliance, training, and support procedures, so you can reduce complexity each time you want to add another application to your ecosystem. Even deciding whether and how to add new technology should be standardized. Too often, the IT team hears of a new piece of technology that can change the way care is provided and their first thought is to build it themselves inside their existing technology, without a process in place to understand whether it’s a smart long-term investment. Technology dominates the digital-health conversation because technologists are driving the discussion. Most people outside of IT don’t know what is possible so we’re still training and giving them information they need to be more effective when making technology requests.

What Business Ideas Should I Consider?
The healthcare industry is changing at an alarming rate. The combination of increased access to medical care and the continued emergence of new medical technologies is driving this change. The healthcare industry is also facing a massive shortage of skilled personnel. This is creating enormous opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Business Skills Every Healthcare Professional Needs
1. Analytics Analytics can help physicians identify disease outbreaks, track health epidemics in real time, and deliver more personalized care to patients. Achieving those goals requires developing a data mindset, however, and understanding how to recognize trends, analyze relationships between variables, and estimate the accuracy of statistics. “My business analytics course covered regression analysis and, most importantly, the meaning of statistical significance and hypothesis testing,” Pitts says. “These are essentially the same tools that are used in healthcare to decide the outcomes of various treatments in medicine.” 2. Financial Accounting Given how focused healthcare organizations are on reducing costs, it’s imperative for physicians to have a basic understanding of financial accounting. Not only can that knowledge lead to more strategic business decisions, but it can also help physicians analyze their team’s performance, measure the impact of their work in terms of revenue, and manage the department’s budget. 3. Ability to Lead Large, Diverse Teams The health system Pitts works for is composed of 111,000 employees, 38,000 nurses, and 20,000 physicians alone—leading to large, diverse teams. And when faced with statistics like one in four Americans has multiple chronic conditions, it’s becoming more apparent that patients require care from multiple providers for optimal results. The New England Journal of Medicine notes that physicians who want to lead effectively need to know how to “develop a team culture of feedback to improve patient care.” This includes understanding what motivates the team, regularly soliciting advice and incorporating suggestions, providing ongoing feedback, and acknowledging successes while constructively addressing the team’s weaknesses. 4. Strategic Management As teams grow, so do departments’ needs and priorities. It’s important for leaders to set an organizational structure and strategy to not only guide their team but also help employees determine what to pursue and what not to pursue. Physicians should start first with defining their mission—what the organization stands for—and then begin answering the tough questions. Where are revenues coming from? Is money being spent in the right places? How can the team optimize operations to improve the patient experience? With each response will come a clearer picture of where the team should focus their efforts. 5. Effective Communication Skills Strong communication skills go far in healthcare. Physicians need to practice empathy and know how to properly speak with patients and their family members. Beyond that, they also need to communicate with key stakeholders, including other physicians. The more effective they are, the stronger their operations and more streamlined their processes will be.

Business Modelling
A business model is the plan your business has for making money. It’s an explanation of how you deliver value to your customers at an appropriate cost. This includes descriptions of the products or services you plan to sell, who your target market is, and any required expenses. The business model lets entrepreneurs experiment, test, and model different ways to structure costs and revenue streams. For those just starting out, exploring potential business models can help you determine if your business idea is viable, attract investors and guide your overall management strategy. For established businesses, it serves as the basis for developing financial forecasts, setting milestones, and setting a baseline for reviewing your business plan.

Lean Business Canvas Model
The Lean Canvas is a business modeling tool created to help deconstruct a startup idea into its key and most risky assumptions. Deeply influenced by the lean startup methodology, the Lean Canvas servers as a tactical plan to guide entrepreneurs navigate their way from ideation to building a successful startup. The Lean Canvas is composed of nine building blocks, just as the Business Model Canvas. But, on the Lean Canvas, these blocks have their titles and purposes modified, in a logical order that begins from your customer’s problem. Let’s understand better how this modeling system works.

Pitching your Startup Idea
What is a Pitch? A pitch is basically delivering a business plan verbally. A pitch typically takes the form of an entrepreneur or group of entrepreneurs presenting or describing their ideas to prospective investors.

Product Validation
New products need both quantitative and qualitative data that validates their ideas. It’s because validation is about being objective and building a product the market wants (and not what you think they want). Validation means identifying that there is a problem, that your product has the potential to solve that problem, and that your product can solve it in a financially viable way. It’s about putting data behind what often starts as a gut-feel idea so you’re confident that you’re building a product that your audience actually wants. With in-depth research and prototyping, you will work your way to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This is basically just a test version made with the only most essential features. An MVP helps you determine which of your product’s features are of value to customers, so you can serve them as efficiently and profitably as possible. For example, let’s take a simple product like an electric toothbrush. The main purpose is to brush your teeth, so your MVP should be able to do that. Anything else is extraneous. While it might be nice to have a hidden floss compartment, it’s not crucial. By creating an MVP, you can see what is necessary—and what is not. This validation happens in 3 phases: Gap validation -- proving that there is a problem that you can solve Product validation -- Proving that your solution to the problem is something people actually want (and will pay for). Financial validation -- proving that the price and the costs add up to a viable business.

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