Digital Health Product Development Process Details

  • What are the distinct phases for a digital health product development from idea conception to market?
  • On average, how much time and funding is required at each stage?
  • What are the key challenges and risks associated with each phase?

We understand that this could vary depending on the type of product. Please use examples from your own personal experience or others that you have closely followed.

Hi @RahulJindal, @addy_kulkarni, @dollendorf, @Nitesh, @paulauerbach, @rajpanda - As you all have experience in digital health initiative, we feel you might be able to share your thoughts on digital health product development life cycle. Any items that jump out at you as key things to explore?

Hello @SArora, @ajchenx, @bngejane, @tylerbn, @scveena, @joshnesbit, @supratik12 - You all have been involved with Digital Health Initiative. We feel you may be able to share your experiences on phases of digital health product development process. Join the discussion.

Hi @Lauren, @kevinnicholasbaker, @ArdenVent, @shamakarkal, @jonc101, @Rajen, @elekaja, @Vishalgandhi, @rguimara, @kkatara - Curious to know if you have any inputs to share on phases of digital health product development process. Any items that jump out at you as key things to explore?


Although my “voice” has not been solicitated, I have many years of experience incubating digital health startups. My single most important piece of advice is to understand the level of disruption that the product/solution creates. The more disruptive, the more of the value chain that the startup will have to control in order to succeed. My recommendation typically, given the constraints of funding, is to find a beachhead goto market strategy which is most aligned with current clinical workflow practices. This is what Montfort did.
The other advise is to check whether the proposed digital health product may fit the Veterinary market. Race horses cost a lot a owners are will to pay to keep them in shape, not to mention pets.
Always start with a niche market, small as it may be, where the product stands out relative to current solutions and practices.

@ymedan - Thanks Yoav for sharing insights on market strategy. We welcome all the contributions from members, the more inputs the better that’s the reason we mention about the latest discussions in our weekly newsletter. My tags are random, so please don’t think that your voice is not solicited. Now that I know your background, we would definitely love to know the challenges faced during the different phases of product development. Thanks.

@Shashi no offense. An example for a DH company that had to develop and manage the whole value chain in order to break into the market is AmplioSpeech.
Covid-19 made it much easier to sustain and grow exponentially (10x).
For a proper disclosure, I am a co-founder and CTO of the company.

Hi @Hlantum, @care2communities, @LaurenMW, @jenyxp, @arun_venkatesan, @dykki, @biki, @Manoj_Nemocare, @siimsaare, @Debbie_Rogers, @praveenraja, @krp, @mashizaq and @Ewunate - What are your thoughts on the challenges faced during the development of digital health products.

My experience is in developing ’ incubating hardware based med products - which take much longer than app based ones. The former requiring 5-7 years for market entry and roughly INR 2 Crores (USD 280K) and this is with active mentorship. DH products can be deployed much faster - say in 1-3 years, with roughly $100-150K. With DH - especially in the present COVID scenario - cycles are much shorter, since user-behavior has changed and much higher risks are being taken. My guess would be 6-18 months -depending on the application - due to reduced validation cycles.
We have tried many interesting ‘hybrid’ approaches - where the DH part is supported by a hardware component and that has reduced launch times…

@Shashi A digital health platform that treats chronic diseases for say 6 out of 10 adults sounds like a huge total addressable market that’s just waiting to be captured. Still, there’s a great deal of uncertainty as we don’t know what shape digital health will take in the end or how successful it will be.
Perhaps short-sighted investors see a digital health product as driven by say a pandemic while the real story here is in case of a digital health platform that disrupts the entire healthcare industry.
Patient-to-doctor physical contact is a crucial part of the healing process. That may be changing, but not because of social distancing. A doctor’s time costs a lot of money. So does the receptionist who welcomes the patient, leasing the building and running the lights, janitorial services, and of course all the extra process that comes with a pandemic.
The industry is undergoing some consolidation, and investors may consider waiting for the dust to settle before taking a position in either of these digital health products.

Thanks @arun_venkatesan for sharing insights on time and cost required to get digital health products to the market. It would be great if you could throw some light on the challenges faced by you during the DH product development.

Hi @RickyM, @JohnParrishSprowl, @preciouslunga, @Neal_Lesh, @elayer, @alabriqu, @Davisthedoc, @drdavewinkler, @timothymusila, @JoanneP, @Deepti, @ajeeta, @anitasmoore, @Riika, @LeeStein - What are your thoughts on the challenges faced during digital health product development.

Hi @acowlagi, @clairecravero, @gajewski, @pglass, @ShmuleyG, @CHardaker, @abejanis, @Marthavjennings, @RKadam, @kakkattil, @vipat, @mendezra2 - Curious to know if you have any experience to share on digital health product development.

@ymedan ~ Thank you so much for your contribution here! And I love your focus on the go-to-market strategy. Once that strategy is in place, what are the other elements necessary in the product development lifecycle? For instance, when the digital health technology is being developed does it undergo iterative points in development such as prototypes, user testing, regulatory review, regulatory approval, etc.? We would love to understand what the A-Z process is for developing a product and the costs associated at each point. As someone who has incubated many such startups, what are the types of support each startup needs at each stage in the product dev lifecycle before actually hitting the market?

@HeatherSutton Thanks. The short answer is “it depends”. I typically follow the Lean Startup development methodology and put an emphasis on partnering with potential customers and users as early as possible. There is a fork in the decision tree which depends if the solution requires a regulatory approval or not. Working on reimbursement from the outset is a must.

@arun_venkatesan ~ Thank you very much for sharing your experience. It’s really helpful for us to have these types of estimates/benchmarks for both deployment timing and costs. Do you happen to know what the validation cycles are for a digital health product? Also, from your experience, what are some of the risks associated with developing a new health product (physical or digital)?

@mashizaq ~ Thank you for your thoughts. I like that you are thinking about long term disruption and impact. It does seem as though the pandemic has spurred at some additional experimentation with virtual doctor visits and, to your point, it’ll be very interesting to see how that bears out as we move through and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

Here are my thoughts
What are the distinct phases for a digital health product development from idea conception to market?
I will split my answer into 2 parts.

  1. Technology: If it is a new technology Healthcare follows similar standards like NASA TRL (Technology Readiness Levels). In India, BIRAC has defined a similar standard.
  2. Business: Standard Business Model phases

On average, how much time and funding are required at each stage?
Time: If it is an AI product then time to collect data will be the bottleneck. Especially if you are trying something new and data availability is an issue. In terms of funding, we are bootstrapped (<$150k) but in my perspective, It is true that you could speed somethings up by pumping money in.

Wow @reubenwenisch! - Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. These are great guides. Can you throw some light on the key challenges and risks associated with various phases of product development.

@Shashi @HeatherSutton we might also want to chat to these guys, just so we can do justice to this topic.