Breaking Into the Channel: Expert Insights on Getting It Done
Locus Health is a six-year-old startup company that specializes in in-home remote monitoring software for pediatric patients that allows them to be treated outside a hospital while staying in touch with their doctors, nurses and health care facilities. The company’s goal is to find channel partners that would help them shop their iPad app directly to members of the medical community, so it would be used more widely and grow the company’s business and revenue.
But so far, the Charlottesville, Virginia-based health care company hasn’t been able to get in the door of many channel partners to talk about their application because they haven’t sold enough and don’t have enough users and proven buyers. Complicating that, the channel partners they have been talking with are focused on technology leads within hospitals and medical offices, rather than on the clinicians who would actually be using the app with their patients. Locus Health is trying to create a broader market for in-home patient monitoring while also working to make their app the preferred tool in the marketplace.
It’s a Catch-22 for Locus Health and for many startups that have not yet been able to connect with the channel on a wide scale.
So far, all of Locus’s business is through direct sales to medical professionals, Lindsey Koshansky, a registered nurse and the company’s vice president of clinical innovation, told Channel Futures. Locus Health has only three full-time salespeople and four nurses who support app demos and meetings with health care professionals.
“As in-home care monitoring becomes more popular, we hope to get into the channel model,” Koshansky said. “Clinicians are hesitant. They have to believe that in-home monitoring may be as effective as being in the hospital,” she said, adding that clinicians must also seek justification for the monitoring, because medical insurance reimbursements for the technology don’t provide clinicians with the same monetary reimbursements as hospital stays.
Right now, Locus Health is continuing to work on producing some early patient outcome examples that the company can use to seek partners to help expand its sales, said Koshansky. “That is a game-changer,” she said. “Until valid and data-based results are there, no one wants to see it. Now we are getting there with some numbers. Once this is seen, our scalability will change and partners will want to engage.”
Competitors, including Philips and Vivify Health, are already in the marketplace, which also makes it harder for Locus to get serious traction. Once in-home monitoring apps are seen as standard care tools by more clinicians, there will be a trigger point for partners to get into the market, said Koshansky.
Several hundred medically complex patients a day — mostly pediatric cases, but some adults as well — report their conditions to their doctors through their iPads and the iOS-based Locus app so they can be monitored at home. Several thousand patients have used it over the last few years. Some 20 children’s hospitals across the country are using it.
Created in 2016, the Locus app is…