Marrying Innovation and Collaboration: Leveraging resources, technology, and industry know-how

The last few months have seen a substantial uptick in digital health partnerships, agreements, and acquisitions. The trend catalyzed by COVID-19 has experienced continued attention due to the rising demand for remote patient monitoring, increasing support from governments regarding digital health policies and reimbursement, higher adoption rate of smartphone users, improvements in mobile health technologies, and the rising involvement of people in their own healthcare journey. As digital health solutions continue to expand there will be a continued need to build ecosystems that are based on innovation and collaboration.

Digital health partnerships are more prevalent and arguably more important than ever. As these partnerships can empower both users and providers to facilitate prevention, diagnosis, and management in a manner that reduces inefficiencies, improves access, reduces costs, increases quality, and addresses some of the shortcomings of traditional treatment. The potential upside for healthcare outcomes is well documented, but there is still a long way to go for us to truly reap all the benefits of these partnerships.

Most partnerships, agreements, and acquisitions that we have seen over the past few months have been through corporate-startup collaborations. You will be hard-pressed to find an article that does not allude to these collaborations as the proverbial miracle cure for digital health innovation. This has certainly become a new market standard for companies to drive innovation (for valid reasons), but as with any “marriage” there is a continued need to work on the relationship.

For most healthcare stakeholders such as pharma, insurance, and medical device companies the introduction of digital health solutions holds the potential for new innovative service offerings. Unfortunately, as with most innovative endeavors there will be hurdles along the way that hinder progress, stunt growth, and ultimately result in failure.

Just in the last few months we have seen numerous collaboration activities in the digital healthcare space, most notably Cigna’s Evernorth acquisition of long-term partner MDLive, the joint venture between French firms Sanofi, Capgemini, Generali and Orange and the expansion of DarioHealth into the musculoskeletal sector with the acquisition of Upright Technologies. If these collaborations are positive, they could have massive upside for digital health and the users that engage with the services, but there are many such collaborations that never see the light of day.

Failure is unfortunately an unavoidable byproduct of innovation, but we have seen that certain steps, mindsets and approaches can be adopted to help improve the odds. Thus, at Research2Guidance we provide digital health innovators innovation management support to help companies increase the number of successful partnerships.

We support companies in 5 phases of innovation management to help navigate the complexity and uncertainty of innovating within an organization.

  1. Awareness & Insights
    • Understanding market trends and competitor activities.
  2. Prioritization & Roadmap
    • Defining partnership areas with highest impact.
  3. Screening & Partner Search
    • Identifying and selecting best partners.
  4. Partner Management
    • Starting and testing partnerships.
  5. Upscale Integration
    • Integration into organization and service offering.

The R2G Innovation Management approach is based on experiences from numerous partnership programs with startups. We have continuously seen the miss alignment of resources, where to much time and effort is spent on aspects of the process that are not correlated to the risks of failure.

Central to the R2G Innovation Management approach is the R2GConnect Platform, a global matching platform for the digital health industry. The platform has been designed to help select the best possible corporate-startup match through specific partner briefings. R2GConnect is of value for 4 main reasons:

  1. Get high quality applications from startups that fit.
    • Drive high quality application numbers up.
  2. Save screening and evaluation time and cost.
    • Filtering and prioritisation of applications.
  3. Raise awareness.
    • A global initiative, making the briefing programs widely known in the digital health industry.
  4. Increase impact of digital health partners.
    • Corporate partners can concentrate on integration and testing.

Marrying innovation and collaboration between corporates and startups it is incredibly challenging, as these organizations are often polar opposites. However, through leveraging resources, technology, and their respective industry know-how these collaborations have the potential to flourish as digital ecosystems continue to grow.

For the foreseeable future, digital health partnerships will continue to play a massive role as they prove to be more cost-time-and-resource efficient. Corporates-startup partnerships will be the key driver in innovation that will bring the promise of digital health to fruition.

At Research2Guidance we have done extensive research on partnerships within the digital healthcare landscape. We understand the challenges and shortcomings of certain approaches, whilst still recognizing the immense value of these relationships.

Get in touch if you would like to further explore partnerships, innovation management and startup collaboration as you build your digital health ecosystems.

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