1995 Craigslist started to move local listings online. Over time vertical specialists emerged, improved user experience and hugely expanded the vertical markets in size. Short term sublets is a great example of a market that existed already on Craigslist, but became a profitable global market after Airbnb emerged.
Andrew Parker created this image 2010 to describe different vertical players that emerged after Craigslist:
Image from: Andrew Parker
How is Craigslist related to Digital Health?
I recently came across similar image that illustrated the state of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems. This is a generic name for software that runs the medical practice from billing to scheduling and prescription to lab works. Epic is the largest provider of EMR (or EHR) software, and large scale implementation can cost up to billions of Dollars. Epic and other EMR systems offer holistic feature-set that can run the whole practice. The size and long feature set make the systems very complicated to use. doctors and staff often need to train weeks to be able to use the new system.
Digital health companies are trying to do the same to large scale EMR companies that vertical marketplaces did to Craigslist. By taking a vertical approach the new entrants can build better more optimized experience. Also starting from the clean slate is a lot easier than rejuvenating an old complicated software that is being users by hundreds of thousands of users.
Image from: referralMD
It’s very interesting to see what will happen in the next few years. Will the new entrants replace the large scale systems, or can the old players acquire new features/talent.