Test The Waters

Doctors Orders

Knowing he had to get more real-world information than medical journals could provide, Ahmed took his research to the next level by assembling an informal focus group of 14 people who treated diabetics, including endocrinologists, diabetes educators, nutritionists and nurses. He talked about his idea, then asked the participants for their input. The group's advice coincided with Ahmed's doctor's advice: The product was needed, but doctors had a greater need for it at this time than patients did. The group also gave Ahmed insight into the features his product should have and offered suggestions on how it could be improved.

Ahmed originally planned to introduce three products: the Diabetes Partner PC software program, which patients could use at home; CliniPro, a diabetes management system for medical professionals; and an online service that would transmit patients' readings to their doctors' computers. Although he first thought he'd concentrate on the patient software, after his research, he changed his initial market emphasis to the clinical software for professionals.

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This article was originally published in the January 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Test The Waters.

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