The Critical Roles of Clinicians in Product Development

by | Jun 12, 2024

In the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare technology, the integration of clinicians into product development teams has emerged as a crucial element for success. As a panelist on “Clinicians who VC,” I had the opportunity to discuss the multifaceted roles clinicians play in product development and the unique value they bring to the table. I was joined by an all-star panel of clinician leaders who had navigated their way into health tech companies in various roles:

  • Dr. Rebecca Mitchell – Vive Collective
  • Sandeep Palakodeti, MD MPH – Rebel Health Alliance
  • Dr. Sohaib Imtiaz – NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Fellow
  • Rik Renard – Awell
  • Jay Parkinson, MD, MPH – Sana
  • Andrew Schutzbank, MD, MPH – Iora Health & Cricket Health, Schutzworks
  • Sarah Zweifach, MD, MBA – Story Health

Here are the key insights from our discussion:

Importance of Clinician Involvement

Clinicians bring a unique perspective to product development, emphasizing patient-centric solutions and a deep understanding of clinical workflows. This perspective is crucial for creating viable healthcare products that truly meet the needs of patients and providers. By focusing on the end-user experience and clinical relevance, clinicians help ensure that products are not only innovative but also practical and effective in real-world settings.

Defining Product in Healthcare

The role of a product manager in healthcare varies widely, encompassing everything from pure product management to clinical product strategy. This diversity highlights the need for cross-functional skills and a deep analytical understanding of the problems at hand. Clinicians transitioning into these roles must be adept at navigating different facets of product development, from ideation and design to implementation and scaling.

Transitioning to Product Roles

For clinicians transitioning into product roles, acquiring skills in design thinking, understanding the product life cycle, and learning to navigate the tech industry’s culture and language is essential. Embracing these new skills allows clinicians to contribute more effectively to product teams, bridging the gap between healthcare and technology.

Provider Experience in Product Design

Focusing on the provider experience is becoming increasingly important in healthcare product development. Happy providers are essential for delivering better patient outcomes and improving healthcare systems. By designing products that enhance provider workflows and reduce administrative burdens, we can create a more efficient and satisfying healthcare environment for both providers and patients.

Challenges in Healthcare Innovation

Clinicians face several challenges when innovating in the healthcare space. These include navigating cultural differences between healthcare and tech, managing expectations around change, and overcoming the industry’s cautious approach to innovation. Addressing these challenges requires a collaborative mindset and a willingness to adapt and learn from both sectors.

Skills Gap and Cultural Differences

There is a notable skills gap and cultural differences between clinicians and tech companies. This gap underscores the need for mutual understanding, a shared language, and aligned goals for successful collaboration. Bridging this divide involves continuous learning and mentorship, as well as fostering an environment where diverse perspectives are valued and integrated.

Role of Clinicians in Tech Companies

Clinicians in tech companies play a critical role in bridging the gap between technology and healthcare. They ensure that products are clinically relevant, evidence-based, and aligned with the needs of healthcare organizations. Their involvement helps to ground technological innovations in the realities of patient care and clinical practice.

Impact of Clinician Voices

The inclusion of clinician voices in product development leads to more effective and user-centric healthcare solutions. Clinicians’ insights and experiences are invaluable in designing products that truly address the needs of users, from patients to healthcare providers. Their early involvement in the development process can significantly enhance the quality and impact of healthcare innovations.

Navigating Product Management

Clinicians in product management must balance clinical excellence with technical feasibility and business viability. This requires a comprehensive understanding of both patient care and the commercial aspects of healthcare products. By maintaining this balance, clinicians can help create products that are not only clinically effective but also financially sustainable.

Mentorship and Continuous Learning

Mentorship and continuous learning are vital for clinicians moving into product roles. Seeking guidance from experienced professionals and staying updated with industry trends are crucial for success. This ongoing learning process helps clinicians adapt to the fast-paced world of healthcare technology and remain effective contributors to their teams.

Clinicians Are a Healthtech Company’s Superpower

Clinicians contribute significantly to healthcare innovation by applying their medical expertise, patient care experience, and understanding of healthcare systems to the design and development of tech solutions as well as deep empathy for the end user whether it be the clinician and the patient.  Their unique contributions help create products that are not only innovative but also practical and impactful, ultimately leading to better healthcare outcomes.


At MDisrupt, we believe that clinicians should have a seat at the table and a voice in the process of every health product innovation. We have worked with hundreds of companies over the years and see a direct correlation between companies that include clinicians in their teams and utilize them effectively, and their success in adoption by larger healthcare stakeholders.

In conclusion, the critical roles clinicians play in product development cannot be overstated. Their involvement ensures that healthcare products are patient-centric, clinically relevant, and designed to meet the complex needs of the healthcare industry. By embracing their unique skills and perspectives, we can drive meaningful innovation and improve the overall quality of healthcare.

At MDisrupt our expert consultants span the healthcare continuum and can assist with all stages of health product development: This includes regulatory, clinical studies and evidence generation, payor strategies, commercialization, and channel strategies. If you are building a health product, talk to us.

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