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Breaking into Digital Health: Factors Companies Must Consider

Companies looking to enter the digital health field face myriad legal implications unique to doing business in this sector. Whether emerging or established, companies exploring health care opportunities benefit from careful planning around complex issues such as pace of development, reimbursement systems, strategies for responsible data collection and use, and effective corporate compliance programs. In this podcast, McDermott partners Sarah Hogan, Lisa Schmitz Mazur and Dale Van Demark take a closer look at these and other important factors companies should review when contemplating a move into the digital health ecosystem.

Q. What issues should companies consider before they enter today’s digital health care market?

DV: The first and perhaps most important thing to focus on is the business plan. A lot of business plans that may work in other service sectors may not work in the health care industry because of the way that it is structured or because of consumer expectations.

Beyond that, there are real cultural differences that we see technology companies come up against when they enter into the health care market. Frequently, technology companies are used to a very fast pace. They are used to making mistakes and learning from them, and evolving and developing to move forward. The health care industry has traditionally been much slower and more deliberative, with the goal of getting it right the first time being predominant. That cultural difference can cause problems in building relationships and setting expectations for both pace and service levels.

Finally, understanding the complexity of health care infrastructure is very important. Understanding how the health care system works and how your product, service and business plan work within that ecosystem is critical to establishing the relationships you want and really selling into that marketplace. (more…)

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UPCOMING WEBINAR | Digital Health: The New Dynamics — Big Data Part I: Data-Driven Life Sciences Innovation, Personalized Medicine and Research

Health care and life sciences companies increasingly operate in a digital environment. McDermott Will & Emery is hosting a complimentary four-part webinar series to explore the practical business considerations and to simplify the regulatory complexity of digital health, including health information technology (IT), big data, mobile health and telehealth.


Big Data Part I: Data-Driven Life Sciences Innovation, Personalized Medicine and Research

Date:  Tuesday, December 9
Time: 12:00 – 1:30 pm EST

Data-driven solutions are a powerful tool for the life sciences sector and research community. This program will explore how life sciences companies, research institutions, providers and informatics businesses can successfully navigate the regulatory landscape for big data to develop, introduce and differentiate products. The following key questions, among others, will be addressed:

  • Overview of Regulatory Framework — How can big data initiatives be structured to comply with key federal laws?
  • Data Registry Creation and Management — What are the data stewardship and data governance considerations?
  • Emerging Partnerships — What is the role of the government and industry for data initiatives in the life sciences?
  • Personalized Medicine — How is data used to deliver personalized medicine at the bedside?
  • Biospecimens — How does the introduction of annotated biospecimens affect the big data landscape?
  • Genomic Age – What does it mean to engage in big data initiatives in an age of genomic medicine?


Amy Hooper Kearbey, Partner, McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Matthew Hawryluk, Ph.D., Senior Director, Corporate & Business Development, Foundation Medicine, Inc.

Jennifer C. King, Ph.D., Director of Data Governance for CancerLinQ, American Society of Clinical Oncologists

Sari Heller Ratican, Chief Privacy Officer, Amgen


Jennifer S. Geetter, Partner, McDermott Will & Emery LLP


  • WEBINAR THREE: Big Data Part 2: Data-Driven Changes to Payment Models, January 13, 2015
  • WEBINAR FOUR: Mobile Health & Telehealth: Mobile and Telehealth Technology Create New Business Opportunities, February 10, 2015

Click here to view WEBINAR ONE: Health IT: Collection, analysis and sharing of health information

For more information, please contact McDermott Events.

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