by adgrooms on February 20, 2020

We have been talking in recent posts about large healthcare tech companies that are changing healthcare. They play an essential role in the overall ecosystem, some bringing years of tested experience to their solutions. But the way healthcare serves patients is changing as we go through a transitional period into a new era of connected healthcare. The patient is becoming empowered with their health information as interoperability makes it portable and useable in new ways.

Big tech companies will come up with their solutions, and those will be great for some organizations. But there are opportunities for the organization to be part of the creative process, to add fresh ideas from their own unique experience. Collaborative innovation between healthcare and smaller tech companies can produce excellent solutions for several reasons.

Smaller companies are more agile.

Change is a part of healthcare. The demands placed on institutions are evolving at a pace that is hard to match with solutions. Regulations are always changing, medical procedures change, and expectations from patients change. Larger tech companies adapt to the changes, but not as fast as smaller ones. Larger companies may have hundreds or even thousands of customers. Finding a solution that meets everyone's needs takes time to develop. The solutions also have to pass through layers of bureaucracy for approval. Partnering with a smaller company enables faster development, better implementation of new ideas, as well as quick adaptation to inevitable changes.

You are going to be heard by people that make the decisions.

Leaders of small companies are more accessible. If you want an improvement to the software, or want to give some feedback, it is unlikely that the leadership of a large company will be listening to you directly unless you are a key client. The account manager can hear your ideas and concerns, but you are unlikely to get improvement ideas very far up the bureaucracy ladder otherwise. A small technology company often has leadership that is hands-on with the development and outreach. They are better able to listen and improve their product or service based on customer input. It can feel like a more personal, collaborative relationship when leadership is accessible to clients.

You can have a hand in developing new solutions.

One reason new companies exist is to develop solutions that don't yet exist. Some of the best results come from tech partnering with the companies who know what is needed out of the solutions, giving them a role in creating something new that could benefit many in healthcare. Working hand in hand on new software and making existing technology better with a small tech firm can lead to better solutions than a large company is offering. You also get to be an early adopter of new technology.

You receive white-glove concierge service.

Smaller companies aim to please. They provide much better customer service than their large counterparts. A smaller business that is focused on service takes on fewer clients and gives personal attention to each one. While some problems and solutions take time, you are more likely to get a realistic timeline and honest status updates from the smaller company. They usually are aimed at providing a custom solution rather than out-of-the-box ones offered by large companies.

In healthcare, taking a calculated risk on an important improvement or advancement can be advantageous. Any project will need careful planning to align goals and expectations. You want to be aware of the risks, put in place the agreements, make sure key needs are met. Any project that pushes boundaries is not guaranteed to be successful, no matter how much experience a company has. It is beneficial to have a backup plan, so something is gained, no matter the outcome. The experience itself can be a valuable knowledge foundation for more collaborative projects in the future.

Smaller companies provide big benefits in a partnership. They can maneuver and deliver groundbreaking custom solutions in the evolving healthcare ecosystem. These partnerships, while carrying some risk, have the best chance of breaking the status quo.