Contributed By Tom Garz – TG Ideas LLC
Are you looking for new product or diversification ideas for your company, particularly in this economic recession? Well, there is a hidden gem out there that you might be able to cash in on – Do It Yourself Healthcare.
There is a growing trend in the world for this DIY Healthcare, partly out of need and partly because people want to be more active in their own healthcare. As a gauge of public interest, Google gives the following results:
Symptom Checker - 1,630,000 hits
Do It Yourself Health Doctor - 34,200,000 hits
The do-it-yourself movement is not new. Some examples of how this happened before are as follows.
- In the early days of radio, average people experimented with their radios latest parts and gizmos. Thus grew Radio Shack and many other electronic parts stores.
- Similarly, average people wanted to be able to fix and maintain their cars themselves, instead of taking it to the car dealer for diagnosis and repairs. Thus grew AutoZone and many other automotive parts stores.
- Also, many people do fine on home repairs and modification with information and materials from Home Depot and many other home improvement stores.
- Same goes for tax preparation software, thus grew TurboTax.
- And the list goes on to the next big wave….DIY Healthcare!
The common thread above is that people were provided with just enough information and materials to do it themselves.
So here we are today with frustrated healthcare consumers and in the midst of healthcare reform. Some look at this as a problem, yet others might see this as a great opportunity. It might be the next do-it-yourself movement. For those who want to ride this new opportunity wave, read on.
Even if your products are nowhere related to healthcare, think again. Let’s say you’re an automotive manufacturer – think about it – you are experts in machine diagnostic software for your vehicles with many patents and trade secrets to prove it! Expand your viewpoint, and see if you could modify your diagnostic tools to work on the human body, or even pets and farm animals! Sounds like good opportunity to me for new patents, patent continuations, etc. If you don’t want a piece of this new action, you could sell your patent rights on your new technology and pour this new money back into your automotive products.
If you are a healthcare product manufacturer, it makes it that much easier, in some ways. You might have to break out of the mode of thinking that healthcare professionals are the ones calling the all the shots now. Yes, they still are and always will be, but that seems to be changing. Many people nowadays want/need the knowledge and tools to “doctor themselves” for the most part and only go to a healthcare professional as needed.
Here’s a few suggestions on how you can you be a part of this new wave as a corporate innovator or new-product developer.
Research Consumer Needs
Start with yourself and your family – Do you go to the doctor every time you have a malady….or do you try to fix yourself….and only go to the doctor if it doesn’t go away? Ask around how others do it, Focus Groups, etc.
Then go to Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, or other consumer healthcare stores and see what knowledge and tools are available to do a better job in DIY healthcare. Not much, eh? Where can your company fit in to this obvious need?
Build on the work of others.
My Resources page shows what’s been done before - http://doityourselfdoctoring.blogspot.com/2009/04/do-it-yourself-doctoring-resources-now.html
Another resource is to find out the ingenious ways people doctor themselves throughout the world, particularly where there is no doctor. Check out Doctors Without Borders and Engineers Without Borders for possible new product idea leads.
Keep up on what the world is doing on this topic with news alerts.
One way might be to set up a daily Google news/blog search. Copy/paste the following search string into Google News/Blogs and see the interesting “new product idea seeds” you pick up - self-diagnosis OR self-diagnose OR self-medicate OR self-medication OR symptom-checker OR symptom-checkers OR telemedicine OR health-2.0 OR medicine-2.0 OR e-doctor OR e-health
- Find out what your competitors are doing.
- Use patents to brainstorm how your existing products might fit into this “Do It Yourself Doctoring” trend.
- Find possible merger and acquisition prospects to diversify your product/service portfolio.
For example, let’s say your company made flexible tubing for the now sagging automotive industry. You now need to diversify where your product could be used. Go to Google Patents - http://www.google.com/patents and enter the search string - (medical OR health) AND flexible tubing. From the results, brainstorm how your company could break into the health/medical area. Maybe your flexible tubing could be used throughout public healthcare kiosks, located in pharmacies, malls, and the like.
Another example, let’s say your company makes endoscopes already and you want to expand into telemedicine for possible home use. Go to Google Patents - http://www.google.com/patents and enter the search string - endoscope telemedicine. From the results, brainstorm how your company could expand endoscopes into home use.
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I look forward to using your innovations and new products!
About the Author
Tom Garz, Manager TG Ideas LLC
Tom is recently retired, having worked as a Patent Searcher, Engineer, Electrician, Technical Writer, and variations thereof for many years.
Tom formed TG Ideas LLC in 2003 to “Help make this a better world by providing information to others on what has been done already and offer up ideas on what else might be done”. Tom does this by writing – three Blogs and other writing opportunities, one of which is for Brainwaves Emagazine.
Currently, Tom has three Blogs to help fulfill the mission above.
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