How to Avoid Pilot Purgatory in Healthcare Innovation w/Dr. Joseph Kvedar, VP of Connected Health with Partners HealthCare

The consensus-driven decision making process in healthcare makes it challenging for people trying to make sales. -Dr. Joseph Kvedar

The commercialization process in healthcare is very complex, and it’s impacted by a multitude of factors and circumstances. Why is commercialization so much harder in the healthcare industry? What are the biggest mistakes innovators are making, and how do these mistakes make growth impossible? What do we need to be mindful of when trying to get into a delivery network or hospital system?

On this episode, I’m joined by Dr. Joseph Kvedar, VP of Connected Health with Partners HealthCare. Dr. Kvedar is a pioneer, early adopter, and influencer in the field of connected health. We talk about overcoming the commercialization difficulties in healthcare that so many innovators face.

3 Things We Learned:

Why it’s so much harder to commercialize an innovation in healthcare

In all of healthcare innovation, the clinical voice always has to be part of the process of commercialization. We have an obligation not to hurt people, making us more risk averse, which makes the sales cycles longer. The process is also lengthened by multiple eyeballs that have to look at the innovation before it goes to market.

Why having the most advanced/superior innovation is meaningless

Having an innovation that is technically or functionally superior to what’s available on the marketplace doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. If it addresses a problem that is a low priority of the target audience, it’s pointless. A lot of healthcare innovators waste time by constantly arm-twisting the target market to buy into the problem. It’s also critical to avoid over-customizing the solution for each new customer, especially in the early phase when getting initial customers is so critical.

How to successfully get into a delivery network or health hospital system

The innovation has to either enhance practice delivery or if it’s on the efficiency side, it has to enable and empower patients to do more of their own decision making, and inspire them to take better care of themselves.

When healthcare innovations are still small, just starting to garner entry level interest, is when they are most vulnerable to facing issues that impede commercialization. Whether it’s losing a key team member, or encountering changes in the market, that randomness is inherent in bringing innovations to market. There are ways to mitigate this, however. It’s critical to settle the “people issues” early on and understand your product-market fit. Raise only the right amount of money, and spend it thoughtfully. Line everything up to present the best business case possible.


Guest Bio:

Dr. Joseph Kvedar is the Vice President of Connected Health and Partners HealthCare. Dr. Kvedar helps providers and patients manage chronic conditions, maintain health and wellness and improve adherence, engagement and outcomes. He has authored two books: The New Mobile Age: How Technology Will Extend the Healthspan and Optimize the Lifespan (2017) and The Internet of Healthy Things (2015). Dr. Kvedar is also the Program Chair for Connected Health Conference. He is recognized globally for leadership and vision in the field of connected health. Go to for more information or to read the company blog and listen to the podcast. Connect with Dr. Kvedar on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. He can be reached by email at