Quick reads

Healthtech researchers and entrepreneurs will be the first people to tell you how expensive it is to develop new technologies that aim to solve the largest and most complicated healthcare issues of our time. Typically, new research and new technologies come to light because they have strong financial backing and institutional support. Universities that have large endowments can allocate millions of dollars a year to their research departments for state-of-the-art equipment while grant money, also in the form of millions of dollars, helps support research agendas that in turn produce these innovative technologies. This is the main reason why a majority of biotech start-ups, which originate from well-funded and private Universities, receive institutional investment funding in later rounds of financing.

 

While it’s no secret that most innovation does seem to come from well-endowed institutions in academia, are we missing out on new ventures that don’t come directly from this type of pipeline? Are there entrepreneurs out there with visionary solutions and trailblazing products that don’t necessarily have the same visibility and resources as someone from Harvard? While the answer is likely yes, many entrepreneurs in these circumstances struggle with the journey to continue due to “mental inertia.”

 

Mental inertia is a state of being that prohibits people from making discoveries or inventions even if all of the necessary elements and prerequisite knowledge already exist. For example, before the days of modern medicine, doctors would for centuries repeat deadly mistakes such as applying tar to amputated appendages. Nowadays, these methods are no longer used – let alone recommended – but back then there was little to no support to pursue other methods to treat amputee patients. Despite the gruesome nature of the procedure and the evidence of high rates of infection and mortality that ensued, doctors had limited foresight in finding new alternatives for these procedures largely due to the lack of financial and institutional support from their contemporaries.

 

Eventually, modern medicine has brought us to times where anesthesia is required for procedures like these and more sanitary protocols are put in place to prevent high rates of infection. Additionally, academic research has been a hallmark in addressing the major pain points, allowing relevant stakeholders to continue on the legacy of improving ways and methods of general health and wellness.

 

The overcoming of mental inertia was arguably the most significant factor over the past few centuries that guided healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs on a track to change the course of the history of medicine. Technology is finding inroads into healthcare at a fever pitch and now more than ever before, we need to continue to overcome mental inertia to find the most innovative solutions for the complex issues facing healthcare today.

 

For more on mental inertia: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=shneider+a+inertia

 

Image source: https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/medical-healthcare-infographic-brain-infographics-vector-illustration-51437956.jpg

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