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Why do digital health startups keep failing?

Paul Yock | Via Fast Company | October 17, 2018

The “move fast and break things” approach that works in tech doesn’t translate well to healthcare. Instead, digital health startups should try need-driven innovation.

A decade ago, a wave of companies promised to transform people’s health by allowing them to track data about their eating, sleep, exercise, and other habits. One hot startup of that moment, Zeo, raised more than $30 million from investors to develop a headband that tracked users’ sleep patterns and an accompanying app to serve as their personal “sleep coach.” Despite devoted users and buzz about its product in publications like Wired and Popular Science, Zeo quietly went out of business a few years later.

Zeo is just one of many digital health startups whose early promise failed to materialize into lasting impact. Money continues to pour into the space–to the tune of nearly $12 billion in investment in 2017–but few companies have cracked the code for delivering technologies that truly transform healthcare. Why?

Many digital health companies fall short because they apply a strategy to healthcare that was developed and refined in the tech sector, an entirely different industry with its own set of rules… Continue reading.

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