Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries today. The digital health market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.4% between 2017 and 2025. Advances in research and technology—especially in data science, artificial intelligence and gene therapy—are giving rise to new innovations and possibilities.
Companies worldwide are tapping into opportunities in this sector and are working to improve patient care and make access to healthcare easier.
The role of experts
Large medical companies are supported by full-fledged R&D teams that comprise specialists and scientists of various disciplines. However, smaller organizations do not have the resources to hire full-time experts, in-house. Freelancing platforms like Kolabtree help startups and SMBs access and afford scientific expertise, on demand.
Individual consultants have always been invaluable to the healthcare industry, especially in fields such as public health and epidemiology. Governments often hire experts to work on implementing a new healthcare programme or initiative. Research organizations hire freelancers to conduct a literature search and identify knowledge gaps. Expert statisticians are consulted to validate research findings and design robust clinical trials. But where do organizations find such specialists?
Robert Goldberg, the co-founder of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI), found himself in a dilemma when he needed to urgently hire a freelance health economist. He posted his job on Kolabtree and was contacted by a highly-qualified scientist from India within 24 hours. He hired the scientist and was able to get his job done in six weeks. This is typical of the kind of project that organizations increasingly come to Kolabtree for on a daily basis.
Numerous and diverse innovations are taking place in the healthcare space on a daily basis. Techniques like CRISPR are being investigated to treat life-threatening diseases, whereas the legalization of medical cannabis in some countries has kickstarted a whole new range of treatments and products.
The FDA reports that it can take up to twenty years for a drug to travel from the laboratory to the market. The journey of a drug involves a large number of complex steps—desk research, lab studies, preclinical testing, human clinical trials, and more. A medical device too undergoes a similar approval process that validates its safety and efficacy.
While it is a long and arduous process for a healthcare SMB to get a product to the market, having access to specialists helps to save precious time and energy. For example, Jon P. Mendelson, the CEO of Ice Cold Mouthpiece, a medical device company, was all set to launch his oral cryotherapy device. However, he needed supporting documentation, including a compilation of clinical trials and a summary of outcomes. Through Kolabtree, he found a PhD-qualified scientist who was able to conduct the necessary research and produce it in the required format. Jon was then able to successfully launch his product in the market.
Organizations are attracted by Kolabtree’s risk-free approach that allows them to engage in dialogue with multiple experts before they commit to one, with payment only due on satisfactory completion of the project. The platform has helped over 1,000 businesses access scientists from institutions such as MIT, Harvard University and Cambridge University.
This kind of cross-border collaboration helps companies break boundaries and tap into a global talent pool. Data from Kolabtree shows that organizations have saved up to 40% by hiring freelance experts on the platform as compared to hiring full-time. Kolabtree’s scientists have helped organizations design clinical studies, draft medical grant applications, and develop new products. As healthcare becomes more interdisciplinary and new startups enter the market, the demand for medical innovation experts will only rise.