Where do I go with a great health/technology idea?
October 11, 2011 2:51 AM   Subscribe

I have an idea for a web based health platform, that would be completely ground breaking-I've mulled it over and have done some basic research and there is nothing like it yet.My question is where do I go from here?I have no idea where to go, to sound it out or how to remotely take it to the next stage, I do have some money to invest in it and i have a lot of time to dedicate to it -but what do I do next? Help me Mefites!
posted by hitchcockblonde to Technology (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I would start by researching previous attempts like this. Google Health was an example.
posted by devnull at 3:38 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

It sounds like you want to launch a startup. There are tons of things to do.

Do you have business experience? How about domain experience? If you answer no to both questions, you really need to immerse yourself in these two things. Just googling around won't do - you need to have a structured approach to learning about running a business. How? Read three paragraphs down.

There are tons of incubators all over the world and these are an incredibly useful resource who can help you with your idea, connect you with people, etc. Great stuff if you're new to starting a tech business.

Doing a startup by yourself is not recommended, so you might seriously want to consider finding a co-founder who can complement your skills and put in equal amount of effort and passion. Your co-founder doesn't have to be perfect but these three things - complementing you, working hard, have passion for what you're doing - are non-negotiable. If you don't know such a person, there are services such as PartnerUp, CoFoundr, FounderLink and Techcofounder. There might also be startup spaces/conferences in your city.

Want to know how people go from idea to launching a startup? Read The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steven Gary Blank or The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Both books can be overwhelming if you haven't been involved in the startup scene, but they are very practical guides by very sharp people who are widely respected in the community. Blank and Ries have web sites where you can read most of their content - so check them out before you commit to buying the books. Blank has an excellent list of books that might interest you.

Let's briefly talk software development. Increasingly often, business people are realizing that although they don't need to become programmers to launch a tech startup, they at least need some basic understanding and appreciation of software development. I'm not saying you should spend years learning how to develop web apps that are highly scalable and performant, but you *really* need to know basic HTML, JavaScript, CSS and a server side programming language (Python, Ruby, PHP, Java). Why? Because it is empowering and makes it so much easier to make decisions related to technology, which is core to a web startup.

I could go on and on with hundreds of links but the stuff above is sufficient to keep you occupied for the next few years if you choose to pursuit your idea. Please MefiMail me if you have more specific questions.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:47 AM on October 11, 2011 [18 favorites]

Without knowing more about what you're proposing (is it a consumer product? for healthcare providers? for people with a specific illness? is it some kind of EHR? is it for healthcare systems? will it contain confidential information? drug information?) and your background in healthcare I can't give you really specific advice for where to look, but I think you should talk to (and ideally partner with) someone who is already involved in this field, to get an idea of the obstacles you will face and the specific challenges of working with healthcare information. the American Medical Informatics Association might have some resources for you (again: hard to tell without knowing you or your idea).

If you're in the US and plan to be dealing with any kind of individual consumer healthcare information you should educate yourself about HIPAA (the privacy parts).
posted by mskyle at 4:35 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Devnull,I've done that -there isn't anything there to compare it to-Foci for analysis -I cannot thank you enough for this -I have no business experience myself, which has really put me off doing ANYTHING.Thank you so much-I have access to people with money to invest , I think it is a great idea - but I am soo frigging scared!I'm going to the first quantified self conference in Europe next month in Amsterdam, and that might be be a platform to talk.
.You're going to think that I am very silly , but I've been wavering around this and thinking, not doing - and Steve Jobs died and his question was "What do you want to do to change the world? "I don't care that it doesn't work- I care that I didn't try.Thank you again!
posted by hitchcockblonde at 4:43 AM on October 11, 2011

If you are in the US, many major universities (or state university systems) have some sort of technology start-up program to help new or expanding business gain access to university resources (and potentially bring business to that state). Here is one such program for my state; look around for something similar near you.
posted by TedW at 5:35 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

You're welcome, hitchcockblonde.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:40 AM on October 11, 2011

If there's nothing to compare this to then something to consider is Why is there nothing to compare this to?

Certainly ideas are cheap and plentiful, so is there some fundamental problem with the idea? Is there no business case to be made? If so, you may need to rethink/adjust your idea to account for these problems.

On the other hand you could certainly be looking at a legitimately new and untried approach.

My suggestion is that as part of your process of starting your project, you should do enough research to find out which of the above situations you're in.
posted by haykinson at 8:30 AM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

The folks at ETR have quite a few programs designed to help people do exactly what it is that you're proposing. I have never done any of them although I have purchased quite a few products through them and I regularly use their advice and tips for my own (non-web) business. They are a good, practical synthesis of business advice for a starting entrepreneur.

Best of luck.

ps. I almost forgot - Tim Ferriss' 4 Hour Work Week and the associated blog have good tools and tips for you too.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 12:32 PM on October 11, 2011

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