Tomás Iglesias
Startup Contributor

Why Healthtech?

By Tomás Iglesias | Mon, 10/11/2021 - 15:04

It is important to understand what healthtech actually brings to humanity. Often, I’ve heard “jurors” question entrepreneurs about the social impact of their projects. The true answer is really mesmerizing: it saves lives actually or, in the worst-case scenario, it improves quality of life. But I’m pretty sure those jurors are actually expecting the romantic answer that “for every 10 dollars generated, we’ll donate 0.01 dollars to a jungle restoration project.” With all due respect, I believe that helping a life directly actually counts more toward good karma (aka, social impact) than donating to the foundation of your choice. Again, I’m not against donating but I believe helping a life directly should be considered to have more of a “social impact.”

With that being said, why healthtech? To save lives and/or to help improve a person’s quality of life. That about sums it up. That should be the main motivator for an entrepreneur or business person to create and operate a healthtech business. Sounds quite easy right? But as with all industries, we have to watch out for the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

I love a good origin story. I’ve had the privilege of co-creating and leading Mexico’s largest healthtech community and afterward, Latin America’s first digital health marketplace, so I’ve had the chance to sit one on one with many healthtech entrepreneurs and owners and just have an honest chat with them. As a medical doctor, I know what drives me every day in the healthtech world, but I’ve always been curious and I’m a great listener so I decided to start asking everyone I could, “What drove you to start something in this industry?”

I’ve heard some really moving stories about what drove a person to start his healthtech project. Often, it has been a result of suffering they endured themselves, often as a result of a suffering family member, and often, they just met someone who had an ailment and just decided to create something to help that person.

I can’t describe how it feels when something inside you just clicks and you just devote yourself to helping others. It’s still harder to describe the feeling when you meet someone who has the same drive and you can see it in their actions and hear it in their words. I bet they feel the same way; I hope they feel the same way. Whatever it is that happens in those interactions, it draws us together, with more and more of us getting to know each other and knowing we have the same goals and objectives: to help others.

I truly can’t tell you if all other industries are the same. I do believe they have a common drive to achieve what needs to be achieved in their industries but when we talk about people’s health it is a whole other conversation.

We want to help. That’s the answer to “why we started and continue in the healthtech industry.” I learned early in my medical training that I can never speak in absolutes, so I can’t say, “All of us want to help,” but I can say, “Most of us want to help.”

One important question that has to be answered is, “How can we help?” That question is answered individually by anyone who has entered or wants to enter the healthtech industry. Everyone possesses different knowledge and a different set of abilities, which they put to use brilliantly to create innovative tools that improve existing processes to help improve medical care.

I believe the real question to be answered is, “How can we help even more?” Or, to adjust it to the social impact many people look for, “How can we impact people’s lives even more?” I think the answer is simply just unity.

I understand it’s hard to sit with a competitor in the industry and for both parties to arrive at a win-win situation. Believe me, I know how hard it is. But once we are able to have a dialogue and truly see in each other that we share the same goal of helping more and more people, it becomes easy.

I really hope this article helped you change the way you see other people in the healthtech industry. I hope it makes you see what I’ve been able to see in the last year: that everyone you see, every new app, every new platform and every new idea probably comes from someone’s will to help others. Someone who, first-hand, saw, lived, and shared some kind of suffering by someone they love or just knew.

And I hope that now knowing this, something will change within you as it did in me, and understand that even though we compete in the industry, we share the same goal and collaborating between each other is a possibility. Collaboration might be the way we can help more and more lives with our healthtech projects and platforms.

Photo by:   Tomás Iglesias