Turning Your Pilot Into a Success…Was a Success!

By Ariella Cohen

This past week, Health 2.0 CEO and Co-Founder Indu Subaiya led a session at SXSW 2015 on “Turning Your Pilot Into Success”. Entrepreneurs, developers, representatives of health care organizations and hospitals, designers and leaders in the industry were all in attendance! For those who caught the talk Live in Austin, the event was a stimulating presentation of proven solutions and real-life examples of companies who faced challenges and pilot successfully. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here are some of the highlights of the session from SXSW!!


Key Takeaways:

If you’re a startup, there are clear advantages to doing a pilot: Pilots…

-Validate your solution

-Guide product iteration

-Test the waters of instant distribution channels

-Bolster your FDA application

What’s in it for the host organizations?

-In an ACO-driven world, providers are more accountable for outcomes now than ever before

-Health care organizations are now being paid for performance, not fee for service

-Hospitals get to test new tools in their workflow

-New technologies can result in better outcomes and money saved

-Large organizations can gain a competitive edge

Take note of what hosts are looking for.

-Company stability (money, resources, experienced team)

-Flexible IT structure

-Workflow (does your tool fit easily into their workflow?)

Keep the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ in mind.

-Too often the “customer relationships that come through accelerators result in unpaid or low-paid pilot programs that never quite mature into long-term revenue agreements” according to a 2014 report from the California HealthCare Foundation by Lisa Suennen.

-This is why startups need to continue to pay attention to the quality of their pilot programs, and ensure that they are designing theirs well.

“It takes contracts to make contracts”

-Leverage your resources as startups (go to conferences!)

-Attend and participate in developer competitions (see what orgs are looking for, find a partner)

-Maintain a robust media presence (write articles on your solution, the health tech world, and share your story)

-Use the help of an accelerator or industry partner, like Health 2.0 or NYCEDC.

The 4 main entry points of a host or health care system.

  1. The Innovation Center
  2. Clinical Department
  3. IT
  4. Executive level

-Find multiple stakeholders at all levels of the host organization (in legal, admin, IT, senior leadership, and clinical departments). This ensures that if the structure of the host organization shifts, your pilot can continue to be hosted successfully.

IMG_6456This is a pilot, not a first date. So who pays?

-It depends. Pilots can be expensive. The protocol calls for the host organization to sponsor the pilot, but some participants at the event believe the financial burden shouldn’t lie only on the host.

-One idea that emerged during the session was that perhaps providers should be given equity in startups in exchange for hosting pilots, an interesting perspective.

Tips on dealing with the IRB process.

-Everyone who does a pilot will have to submit a report to the IRB (Institutional Review Board)

-Submit your first proposal to the IRB well in advance of your pilot start date – since it is rarely accepted on the first try

-If you have materials that have passed through IRB for one hospital or organization, try to re-use and recycle parts of it for another

Don’t lose hope during recruitment and implementation.

-Work with patients that fit the study criteria

-Make sure the providers are using your tool and follow up with them

-Maintain positive patients’ and providers’ experience with your product by answering their questions and being available

-Take feedback from the providers and patients and be willing to adapt your product

So you successfully completed a pilot. Now spread your results!

-Market and publish your positive pilot data along with your host organization

-Use your results to secure new customers, showing how your product could be useful to potential clients

Health 2.0 has had a great deal of experience running successful pilots with NYCEDC and the ONC, helping secure $165M in venture capital funding and over 1,000 meetings between hosts and startups. For those who missed the event, stay tuned for a recording of the SXSW presentation and continue to check back with the Health 2.0 Developer Challenge team for resources and upcoming pilot program deadlines.

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