Pivoting to Save Women’s Lives Was the Key to Success for This Medical Technology Startup
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Here’s an upsetting statistic: approximately 800 women in developing countries die every day from preventable complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth. When Asa Nordgren and her co-founders realized that physicians were using their digital sonogram service Trice—originally invented as a way for doctors to avoid tedious printouts and CDs in Sweden — to collaborate remotely, they decided to pivot into the global healthcare market to help save women around the world.
Trice’s original product allowed doctors, nurses and midwives to send medical images directly from an imaging device to a patient’s cell phone. The system was all mobile. “You could connect your ultrasound device through the mobile network and send the data to any cell phone that could accept a text. This was very unique, making it possible to share images from rural villages where they have minimal access to doctors,” Nordgren explains. To show the value, Trice launched The Mobile Ultrasound Project with Qualcomm QCOM -2.22% in Morocco, and demonstrated how the technology reduced diagnostic costs from $80 to $2 per patient, and reduced the time it took to get a diagnosis from two weeks to less than 24 hours.
They observed how customers were using the tools and built out more collaboration features based on how the technology was being used in the field. Now, physicians and other medical staff can collaborate, consult, and provide second opinions directly between any imaging device (such as MR, CT, Ultrasound, etc.) and any device with a browser such as smart phone, tablet or computer.
Nordgren attributes their success in part to the fact that the founders had no healthcare IT background. Instead of being led by the technology, she and her co-founders Johanna Wollert Melin (COO) and Martin Westin (CPO) approached the problem from a digital media and consumer-focused orientation. They listened to the needs of their customers and looked for the simplest way to meet their needs. Instead of being seen as a complicated IT solution, the fact that practitioners can simply put the recipient’s phone number and email address into the imaging device and hit ‘send’ – even from a moving vehicle – makes the technology superbly user-friendly and highly adaptable to a wide variety of field conditions.
- Health Care