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    1.1.2 Prepare: Knowing Beforehand

    Tech innovators like to describe healthcare as a pitiful cesspool of orthodox people and organizations with their heads stuck in the sand. Strict hierarchies, twisted politics, change resistance, tech ludditism: Pick any mangled aspect of doing business in health and you can easily find supporting evidence and a litany of personal anecdotes from those who have worked in the space.

    But the vast majority of individuals working in the healthcare industry didn’t intend for it to be this way. There is plenty of healthcare talent and vision that constantly tries to course-correct. Aspiring health entrepreneurs need to learn about what goes on in the trenches of the actual system before embarking on an expedition to reinvent it. Without that preparation, there is a significant risk that the only thing they will change is their own mind about the merits of pursuing healthcare disruption.

    The transformative power of technology is celebrated in spaces like social networking (think Facebook), communication (Apple), transportation (Uber), and lodging (Airbnb). But using that power as an excuse to not learn the fundamentals of an industry is a bit foolhardy. Failure to understand the incumbent forces in healthcare is probably the biggest reason startups fail to gain traction. In order to transform healthcare, one must work with the system.

    This brings me to the reason for writing this book.

    My goal was to write a simple guide for the brave individuals who have decided to venture into the frigid waters of healthcare. I truly believe that if the smart people who want to disrupt healthcare learn about the industry’s existing state, they can calibrate their vision and execute better.

    This book is based on facts, anecdotes and insights gathered during my adventures with health technology. Having had the good fortune to see the space from the perspective of vendors, providers, insurers and startups, I can show readers the landscape from a high vantage point.

    Readers who can benefit from this book include anyone who is:

    • Interested in creating (or investing in) a health information technology offering
    • Mostly unaware of the inner workings of the industry (that is, an outsider)
    • With a previous or current background as an engineer, product person, investor or entrepreneur

    If you want to understand the big picture of healthcare information technology market, this book is for you.