The crucial importance of project management for healthcare startups

December 14, 2022 - 3 minutes
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By Clémentine Duflot, consultant at HC NEXT

In an effervescent healthcare innovation field, where risk-assessment and time-to-market are key to break through and survive, speeding and derisking drug and medical device developments to ensure each innovation becomes a product to benefit patients is essential.

A drug or medical device development project requires a high level of scientific expertise and must also comply with specific standards and regulations. The cross-functional coordination of all activities (R&D, clinical, regulatory, etc.) appears as a cornerstone to fasten and secure a successful market access.

For numerous healthcare startup leaders, who often come from a technical or scientific background, implementing company strategy into a concrete and specific action plan is a complex exercise. It quite often requires expertise they are not necessarily familiar with. 

Guiding them towards an agile model that can respond to the challenges their startup faces is a request more and more formulated by healthcare entrepreneurs.

Following an organizational assessment, the idea is to lay the foundations for cross-functional project management. Adding to the equation is a comprehensive view of development, management and coordination of all stakeholders, which allows them to break the project down and reach the milestones smoothly.

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What are the benefits of project management and how can it strengthen the startup organization?

Whatever the size, sector or mission of a company, project management makes it possible to move from an idea to a concrete result thanks to a set of tools, methodologies and processes. The implementation of project management helps companies to be more efficient by: enabling disbursement and maximization of resources; ensuring that the objectives set are achieved; allowing the project team to be guided in carrying out its tasks; and meeting deadlines and budget.

Project management ultimately allows a translation of a high-level roadmap into a crystal-clear executable action plan with intermediate milestones.

There are a wide variety of project management approaches and methodologies. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose, because all of them will bring many benefits to the organization as well as to all those involved in the project.

Opting for project management allows entrepreneurs to focus on the objectives to be achieved and to be more efficient in carrying out their tasks. The project manager is a conductor who organizes and plans the work according to the rules of project management, which can greatly increase the probability of the project reaching its goals.

Culturally, project management was not systematically applied to the healthcare industry and even less by startups. In the healthcare startup innovation field, long-term product development is a prerequisite and project-derisking a key element to survive the rollercoasters of investment rounds. 

Early integration of project management could become a key success factor that biotech, medtech and digital health startups can no longer ignore.

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Clémentine Duflot is a consultant at HC NEXT. HC NEXT consultants are project management specialists and generalists in the field of healthcare product development for biotech, medtech and e-health companies.

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