Home based ENT Healthcare | MedTech Startup Idea

Sourav Paul

This is one of the MedTech Startup Ideas from the 1001 Startup Ideas collection of YoStartups. This business idea is for Home based ENT Healthcare. The business idea is to integrate digital imaging and the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) for making healthcare of Ear, Nose, and Throat quick and easy, from the comfort of home. The startup will deploy a smartphone-enabled diagnostic toolkit to the subscribed users and communicate the images to a physician for diagnosis and prescription. The startup through this business idea should aim to help doctors remotely diagnose common diseases and to free hospitals and dispensaries for more critical cases.

Market Definition For This MedTech Startup Idea

According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 23% of the world population is affected by allergic conditions affecting the ear, nose, and throat (ENT). A study by the European Federation of Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Association shows that 43% of patients with these conditions have sleep disturbances and 39% have difficulty in falling asleep. This has a negative impact on work/study and daily life activities, and hence affects the patient’s quality of life as a whole.

Despite this dismal scenario, such conditions are underdiagnosed. Less than 45% seek medical advice or treatment for their condition which results in under-treatment and poor control of symptoms. Surprisingly, it is estimated that approximately 45% of patients have never received a diagnosis.

According to the World Bank Data, the number of physicians is less than 2 per 1000 people worldwide. The access to quality healthcare currently is limited due to constraints with time and access. Although high in number, ENT issues if detected on time are relatively easy to cure. Such detection and diagnosis procedure if made efficient, will not only help reduce the number of affected individuals but also improve resource utilization and boost productivity in the health sector. This can free up healthcare professionals who can then be deployed in more critical areas/ cases.

Competitor Analysis For This MedTech Startup Idea

Cellscope is a company that has developed a smartphone-enabled diagnostic toolkit that turns a smartphone into a digital otoscope with seamless, secure data transmission. Home users, can add the digital device to their smartphones and take a video of the inside of the ear. The transmission of the images and data of the condition enables virtual visits saving time and money, as well as waiting time, and avoids the harm of unnecessary antibiotics.

CliniCloud is a company that has developed a non-contact thermometer and a digital stethoscope set that can record temperature and heart/ lung sounds and transmits them over the smartphone to a physician.

Pain Point and Target Audience For Home based ENT Healthcare

The target customers for this business are both healthcare seekers and healthcare providers (doctors, hospitals etc).

More than 55 % of those affected by ENT issues trivialize their condition and do not seek medical advice or treatment for their condition. As a result, their situation turns chronic and leads to the use of high dose medicines, which is an unnecessary burden on the healthcare system.

Patients in rural areas live on with such conditions, relying on non-prescribed OTC medication, due to unavailability of quality healthcare nearby.

Value Proposition For Home based ENT Healthcare

The subscriber will get a kit comprising of a digital stethoscope, non-contact thermometer, digital otoscope, and a digital device to record an image of the throat/ inside of the nose. They will have access to an expert panel of qualified doctors, who would receive the images/ videos and the digital data via a smartphone application. The doctors would review the data, diagnose the issue and prescribe the medicines, or suggest further action based on the diagnosis. It will also facilitate the consultation over a call.

Business Model For Home based ENT Healthcare

There are 2 key ways to monetize this business.

First, is to create a marketplace for doctors and patients. The device is sold at a capital cost to the subscriber. For every consultation, a percentage of the doctor’s fee is charged by the company, while the remaining is paid to the doctor.

Second, is to tie up with doctors and hospitals who would want to use the service to reach out to the suburban and rural population without having to set a facility in those respective locations. The hospitals can sponsor the sales effort of the devices at such a rural location, and restrict the impaneled doctors to those associated with the hospital. A pay-per-use model is then used for every consultation.

Way to market For Home based ENT Healthcare

The startup should focus at first at major cities in the country, demonstrating its benefits and then expand to other cities and smaller towns. Target customers would be those who suffer frequently with ENT issues and allergies. In today’s world, such individuals would range from toddlers to the old aged.

It can also do pilot projects with hospital and diagnostic centers to target sub-urban and rural areas.

Milestones For This MedTech Startup Idea

The startup should focus on developing and packaging the kit, conduct trials and then launch a basic version. By the end of a year, the startup should target to expand to 5 major cities in a country, and tie up with at least 5 major hospitals chains to expand to suburban and rural areas.

Investment Needed for Prototyping This MedTech Business Idea

The initial major costs are development and testing costs, equipment cost and installation costs. The startup should target to raise around $150-250 thousand from angel investors and incubators, for developing and testing the concept. The startup can apply for some of the medical devices and MedTech specific accelerators like Plug & Play Healthtech Accelerator, Medtech Innovator, etc for both seed money and domain-specific guidance.

Team Capability For Home based ENT Healthcare

The core team would comprise of healthcare operations professionals who have worked with hospital chains, a medical professional with the domain expertise, and IoT engineers.

Investors/ Expert Take For Home based ENT Healthcare

The above business idea solves a health issue that is neglected by many and therefore leads to poor quality of life and low productivity at work. Investors are keen to fund such concepts in the healthcare space, with a good potential for monetization. The startup needs to focus on increasing the network of users which would reduce the overall cost of use.

Gartner predicts by 2025, half of the population will rely on virtual personal health assistants for their primary care. Digging a little deeper here, Laura Craft, research director at Gartner, says the traditional system isn’t working. She says, “There is significant evidence that the majority of primary healthcare visits are of little value to the patient and represent a massive drain on trained physician time.”

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