The Digital Health Value Ladder

The Digital Health Value Ladder

Creating a digital health company these days is easy. Creating one that adds value and that is scaleable is not. The process is fail it, nail it, scale and sale it and that means you have to climb the various rungs of the value building ladder. You do that by:

  1. Creating product-market fit.

  2. Creating a VAST business model.

  3. Protecting your intellectual property, if necessary, and knowing options to monetize them.

  4. Getting regulatory approval, if necessary.

  5. Demonstrating a reimbursement or recurrent revenue model, like consumables, XaaS, razor-blade model, subscription, auto renewal or contract model.

  6. Having positive cash flow.

  7. Demonstrating that you have improved quality, lowered costs, improved access or improved the doctor and patient experience with data driven pilots or proof of concept.

  8. Published your results to show that you have not only solved a technical and business problem, but a clinical problem as well.

  9. Integrated your solution into legacy EMRs or information systems.

  10. Overcoming the barriers to dissemination and implementation.

  11. You have an exit strategy, whether you execute or not.

  12. If you don't do these things, you will fail.

Putting the ladder in the right place is the first step. For example, The Market Opportunity Navigator provides a visual framework to discover, compare and prioritize different market domains and business contexts. It helps you to think about your arena, rather than your industry – a key mindset shift in today’s competitive landscape.

The Navigator walks you through a three-step process that helps you to make a more informed choice. It does so in a friendly, intuitive manner, with a visual design board and 3 worksheets to guide the process.

Climbing the value ladder will be a lot easier if you are careful to pick a spot that is not crowded. Start with getting to why.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs on Twitter@ArlenMD.

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  • Jayden Hickman

    Short and concise !!

  • William Bennett

    Spot on with your analysis of the digital health value ladder.

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at and and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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