Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Should entrepreneurs in the medical tech industry believe the NHS's PR. No and thrice no.

I was recently reading an article in the FT that argued that the UK’s medical tech sector was in good shape and although the US was ahead in terms of capital for start-ups the size and nature of the NHS market could give Brits an edge. It is behind a paywall, but here is the article.

The head honcho of the NHS England has made lots of positive noises about the importance of technology. I spotted one sentence in the article that echoed my sentiment: 'entrepreneurs say there is a gap between the rhetoric and the inertia often encountered at grass-roots level in the NHS'.

The simple argument goes something like this. The finances and organisation of the NHS are in a mess. The quality of IT is beyond description. Answer. Get a lot of new tech and it will help solve the problems. So if you are in the medical  technology sector all is well, you have a single large customer.

Here is my take on the situation. Totally agree with all the negative observations about the NHS, although I would probably state them in stronger language. The response of medical technology startups is to avoid the NHS like the plague. It will consume endless amounts of time and get you nowhere.

The two channels to market for medical technology are the private sector and direct to the consumer. Simple as that. Dick Stroud

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