Dr. Saif Abed shares five reasons US digital health companies should be making strategic plans for expansion into the UK.
Even though I’m based in London most of the companies I advise are actually based in the US. From large corporations to seed digital health funded startups, many are seeing the tremendous potential the UK has to offer as a Tier 1 economy for market expansion. Being an investment hub with highly trained professionals and a shared language is very appealing but the intricacies and ongoing developments within the health system are creating tremendous commercial opportunities for those with a sound plan. Today, I’m going to give you an introduction to some of these and why you should use them to your advantage.
1. It’s an Immature System
Over the past two decades hospitals in the UK suffered tremendously due to the failed National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT) leaving most without viable EHR systems. Now, the government and its associated bodies are playing catch-up setting ambitious targets to become paperless, secure financial savings and improve service delivery. Digital technology has been earmarked as one of the leading sources to achieve all of these over at least the next decade and has created opportunities for a range of vendors in sectors including care co-ordination, documentation management, remote monitoring and analytics.
2. There’s Money
To deliver on those plans someone has to pay for it. Hospitals need to be encouraged to adopt. The government has already initiated investment funds for technology: The Safer Hospital, Safer Wards Technology Fund (£260m; $431m) and the Nursing Technology Fund (£100m; $166m). These pots will be used by hospitals to pilot and procure technologies they need and although the first tranches of these have already been allocated it demonstrates a significant trend towards helping hospitals maneuver around funding as an obstacle to technology adoption.
3. We Like Preferred Suppliers
The National Health Service (NHS) likes to stick to what works. If a provider can establish themselves within the market and build a track record of delivering well then they tend to be highlighted as preferred suppliers within the entire market. Indeed, frameworks exist which identify lists of vendors who are recognised as preferred suppliers to support hospitals to streamline the procurement process. The right market strategy and combination of partnerships can swiftly lead to global suppliers securing market leading positions.
4. The UK isn’t just England
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are actually more digitally advanced than England and have been using national contracts to buy technology vendors’ services for quite some time. They are moving aggressively with significant digital strategies and remain open for business with vendors all over the world who make an effort to understand the intricacies of their systems. The individual markets may be smaller but offer tremendous commercial opportunities for those who know how to access them.
5. Upheaval = Opportunity
There have been sweeping reforms over the the last 3 years across reimbursement, procurement, quality control and stakeholder management in UK healthcare. There could be even more following next year’s elections. These all place stress and strain on healthcare providers to deliver more with less. Any technology vendor that can take the time to both understand, at a granular level, these intricacies and build appropriate business cases to help providers to achieve their targets and objectives will secure a position in the market.
So that’s a high level set of reasons for why you should be doing your research and making your strategic plans for expanding into the UK. It’s open for business and looking for the best to deliver!
Interested in finding out more about my work? Connect with me on LinkedIn –http://linkd.in/X0vtRV and tweet me @Saif_Abed