The Digital Health Validation-Seed Catch-22

Digital entrepreneurs are hard at work creating things like wearables and biosensors, patient portals and telemedicine platforms. However, there are several significant gaps remaining in design, development, testing, clinical validation, adoption, and deployment.

Digital health means using information and communications technologies to improve and manage health. Digipreneurs are hard at work creating things like wearables and biosensors, patient portals and telemedicine platforms to engage patients and investors are throwing cash at the industry.

However, there are several significant gaps remaining in design, development, testing, clinical validation, adoption, and deployment. One is the validation-seed Catch 22. For, you see, to clinically validate that your digital health idea works, you need to find a place or population to test it, and that often takes money you don't have or can't bootstrap. But, to get seed funding, you need to show that your product clinically works.

So, what to do? Here are some suggestions:

1. Build as much value and buzz into your product before looking for a clinical test site partner.

2. Enroll in an accelerator or scalerator that has already hard-wired the connections you'll need to clinically test your product.

3. Compete in platforms that give winners the opportunity to pilot their products with a provider sponsor.

4. Find a connector, maven, or salesperson to introduce you to the right champions in a care delivery system, like the CMIO, CEO. or CIO.

5. Use community based innovation networks to test your products or crowd source your ideas.

6. Use friends, family, and fools to not just fund your project, but serve as testers as well, providing feedback and product development intelligence.

7. Build customer-funded business models.

8. Like most, disregard whether you product clinically does what it is supposed to do and just worry about it later after you have enough eyeballs in front of the mobile device. After all, investors want rapid scale.

9. Find the right angel with the right interest in your technology or disease population targets.

10. Engage philanthropreneurs.

When you run up against the sick care IT firewalls, don't despair. Like every entrepreneur, do the work-around.