For entrepreneurs, the past few decades have been marked by the wild success of tech startups. Companies that can literally trace their origins back to garages have come to see remarkable growth. These days, there is a sense that if you have just a little tech savvy and a cool idea about how to use technology, you too can become a billionaire on the order of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Elon Musk.
While dreams of such unbounded success are not wholly accurate, there can be no doubt that many modern startups have done well by developing around clever tech ideas. However, entrepreneurs are fundamentally realists, and we all know that the technology isn’t an endless cornucopia for small businesses. The major players are settling into place and their presence—along with new policies about net neutrality—makes it more difficult than ever for newcomers to see resounding success. Many great ideas are brought up in their infancy, placing them under the umbrella of tech giants.
Therefore, entrepreneurs who see themselves as the future heads of powerful former startups need to find new niches to express their creative talents in. One of these niches is healthcare. Great thinkers have described the 20th century as the era of computers. The 21st century is expected to be the century of biotech, as computers come into their own and scientists make huge advancements in medicine and biology.
With healthcare business on the rise, it’s important to know how creative people can tap into this burgeoning industry. Here are some specific niches that you may not know about.
Serving Medical Professionals
Being a medical professional of almost any sort is tough work. Fortunately, advances in biotech are making things a little easier for today’s doctors and nurses. Today, medical technology is streamlining the work of nurses by making scheduling more efficient, cutting down on unnecessary tests and checkups, and providing instant access to patients’ records at the touch of a button.
Much of the great work in healthcare tech that remains to be explored will never be seen by patients at all. Instead, patients may start to notice that care is more timely, less intrusive, and less expensive, while medical professionals will experience enormous quality of life changes in their work.
Outside of hospitals, advances in medical technology can provide new ways of fighting global epidemics. Outbreaks like the Ebola scare of 2014 can spread at a frightening pace, so organizations like the CDC need solutions that can move at the speed of light. Fast-paced sharing of medical data and status updates will be critical to fighting the epidemics of the future.
Perhaps one of the most famous medical apps of all time is centered around the concept of educating the public on medical issues. I’m talking about WebMD. However, WebMD is quickly becoming outdated in the era of biotech. I’m sure that many of us are familiar with phenomenon of Googling your symptoms: cursory examinations of WebMD pages and self-diagnoses have led people to mistakenly believe that they are carrying a rare genetic disease—instead of a bad hot dog or a nasty pollen allergy.
Apps that can analyze a patient’s symptoms through implanted biotech or improved diagnostic tools—such as this early camera-turned-heart-rate-monitor—will be able to provide quick and accurate diagnoses, even if a person doesn’t know that they might be ill. Technology like this can be lifesaving in cases like heart attacks, where a person might suffer subtle warning signs. Imagine an app that could diagnose a heart attack in its user and dial 911 before the patient’s condition becomes severe. This is where the future of biotech is taking us, and small business leaders need to be on the forefront of these advances.
Many of the apps that have come roaring into stores in recent years are really just simple tools to make our lives a little easier. Hugely popular apps like Uber and Lyft simply make it easier to get from place to place on time. We can expect the same small advances to work in healthcare as well. Tools that help patients remember to take medication, help people schedule dental checkups, or perform routine eyesight checks answer a nearly ubiquitous need, paving the way for widespread popularity.
The playing field in computer technology is becoming solidified as major companies lay their claims to rising startups. On the other hand, biotech and healthcare are the new Wild West of innovation, full of opportunities for creative entrepreneurs to make their marks.
Author: Nick Cesare works at a local startup in Boise, ID. He’s interested in how businesses can rework themselves to be environmentally friendly and take charge of improving their own environmental communities. You can reach Nick @cesare_nick.