Being a successful entrepreneur requires a talent for spotting opportunities that hold untapped potential. Certain sectors offer more obvious possibilities and resources — the beauty industry, logistics, and food production are all among popular areas for concentration at the moment. However, to fill market gaps, it can be vital to explore areas that perhaps aren’t immediately evident but still have development opportunities.
The healthcare industry can be a great prospect in this regard. Whether you are a medical professional, or a business person looking for a fresh niche, there is growing potential to become a contributor to a sector that is relatively stable, essential, and open to innovation. It’s certainly a challenging area to be a part of — there is necessary regulation, some stiff competition from large corporations, not to mention the occasional interference of insurance companies. However, with some focus and planning, there are rewarding entrepreneurial possibilities to uncover.
We’re going to examine a few of the key healthcare niches that offer opportunities right now and for the near future. Where can you best place your focus and investment? What tools, fields, and innovations are worth exploring?
Therapeutic medicine can be a particularly rewarding sector to focus on. You have the opportunity to get meaningfully involved with patients’ journeys toward recovery or wellness over a long period of time and develop relationships that impact their lives. Therapy also happens to be a popular area for healthcare entrepreneurs — there is an increasing demand for services, and opportunities for varied, personally driven approaches to your field.
Starting your own physical therapy (PT) practice is an option here. It is considered to be a field that yields relatively high success and satisfaction rates with patients. As such, PT is well regarded among funding networks, with referrals generally accepted by private and public insurance companies, workers compensation schemes. It can also be used to address the needs of a diverse range of potential customers; including those with acute injuries, range of motion (RoM) issues, musculoskeletal disorders, respiratory illness, and Parkinson’s Disease. For entrepreneurs, this gives ample opportunity to either develop a comprehensive service or specialize in a niche.
Mental health care is also one of the most popular fields for entrepreneurs at present. As stigma surrounding illness in this area is beginning to wane, the demand for solutions is growing. As with physical therapy, there is the chance to specialize in niches — depression, family counseling, trauma, and grief among them — or partner with more than one therapist to create a practice that offers a wide range of therapeutic services. As mental health is now a more widely discussed issue, your therapeutic business doesn’t have to be limited to your practice. Therapists are utilizing speaking engagements, podcasts in their specialty, and even consulting with businesses on how to improve wellness among employees. Whichever direction you go in, it is still important that you gain and maintain your clinical licensing. Aside from the legal imperative here, your expert medical advice will shape the direction of people’s lives.
The pandemic has been a challenge for many businesses. However, for telehealth, it has proven to be a contributor to success. One report found that physicians saw upwards of 175 times more patients by telemedical calls than they did pre-COVID. This is important for entrepreneurs because it means more than just a momentary boost due to a crisis. It has also introduced more patients to how convenient, safe, and accessible this method is and is likely to improve uptake in the long term.
You can take advantage of these opportunities in various fields. While many patients have been using telemedicine with their general practitioners, there has been a rise in implementation of this method with specialist consultations that don’t necessarily require in-person examination in all cases. Urology, mental health counseling, and dermatology are all starting to become popular telehealth services. However, it’s important to remember that while the services may be virtual, there is still a necessity for the attending professional to have a license for the state in which the patient is living. Therefore, if you’re planning on offering a truly diverse national or international business, it’s vital to partner with qualified doctors in multiple locations.
As telehealth represents another in the continuing line of digital medical advancements, this also offers entrepreneurial opportunities for developers. There is a growing market for patient-facing apps and connected medical software that makes it easier for patients to visit their doctors remotely, and to share medical data with them. Challenges still face telehealth — reliable real-time patient monitoring, cybersecurity, and data integrity among them. That said, developers need to be cognizant of how their software adheres to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance requirements and provides sufficient data encryption.
When we think about healthcare businesses, these are usually the traditional service and care-oriented enterprises. However, it would be a mistake not to consider how wellness retail is on the rise, and providing interesting opportunities. There have been distinct changes in retail spaces over the last couple of decades, alongside the way professionals deliver care — it’s worth taking a moment to understand how this can translate into a profitable enterprise.
One of the main areas of development here has been in pharmaceutical provision. It is no longer necessary for patients to go to their pharmacy to pick up their prescriptions; online medication provision is a burgeoning sector. It’s important to acknowledge that this is an area that is often dominated by big corporations such as Amazon Pharmacy and CVS. Don’t seek to compete with them; rather you should seek to understand the distinct advantages to setting up more local community-centric enterprises. You can gain a better market share by specifically targeting the needs of your community. Seek to build strong relationships both with patients and healthcare providers in a way that larger corporations don’t have the time or inclination to.
As the healthcare industry continues to develop, so do the opportunities for entrepreneurs. Explore the potential for therapeutic services, and how technology such as telemedicine is opening up markets. Be open to reviewing how the development of online retail spaces can gain your market share in pharmaceutical retail. With a little creative thought and a commitment to quality and medical compliance, you can achieve long-term success.
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor