Ian Mulvany

February 2, 2023

What are the hard problems in innovating in healthcare?

Someone pointed out GlassHealth to me - https://blog.glass.health/company/ - a new startup that is building tools to help doctors. Their first tool is Glass Notebook, an online notebook for doctors to track their information, inspired by tooling like Notion, and dare I say it tools like ToddlyWiki.

This whole area of semi-structured documentation tools is a rich one, and indeed could be considered in the class of "tools for thought". I am of the opinion that large language models will make such tooling more powerful, but the challenge will be in finding the right integration points, and the right user experiences, legal experiences and workflow experiences to make such tools be adopted. (recently I read a nice take on where Evernote fell down - a tool that worked for the individual but not at group level - the story being that integration, and the social aspect of your software need to be baked into the tool from the get go). 

So back to GlassHealth, this looks like a good tool, and it might be an bridgehead into the wider ecosystem of electronic tools, for it to have an impact I think it needs to be.

For me that hard parts in innovating in healthcare are around:

  • Integration points into primary and secondary care infrastructure (EHR/EMR systems) 
  • Providing the right advice at the right time in the right workflow (Active Decision Support) 
  • Ensuring that data that flows into these systems is safe (Patient Safety) 
  • Ensuring that data that is extracted from these systems is well governed (Privacy) 

These are all well known issues, but they are hard hard issues, and often very unglamorous. 

I wish GlassHealth every success, and I hope that they have a roadmap and plan to look at some of the issues I mention here. 

About Ian Mulvany

Hi, I'm Ian - I work on academic publishing systems. You can find out more about me at mulvany.net. I'm always interested in engaging with folk on these topics, if you have made your way here don't hesitate to reach out if there is anything you want to share, discuss, or ask for help with!