How to hack a new field or how we entered digital business with LINET

Reading time: 3 min.

LINET is a unicorn among Czech companies. Since its establishment in 1990 the company has become number 3 in global medical and nursing beds production. And it keeps working on its growth and discovering new areas of development. The company sees its future in digital services, the area that it is now entering for the first time with a new product called SafetyMonitor. That was also the goal and aim of our cooperation – to launch this unique monitoring system to the EU markets in just 6 months. We’ve made it. And so now we are heading together to the USA. 

Care of the future 

LINET has been working on developing SafetyMonitor for almost a decade. Its goal is to increase safety standards in hospitals and nursing homes and ease the work of staff who are often overloaded. SafetyMonitor monitors patient data and thanks to the integrated bed sensors also continuously checks the main safety features of the bed. In case any of these features is compromised, the situation is reported and the staff can react immediately without having to check each of them manually. SafetyMonitor’s records are also automatically synchronized into the hospital information system. The nurses can thus save time doing administration.

Not so fast or when you are designing without the end user

Originally, the SafetyMonitor product appeared to be almost finished with only minor tweeks needed to be done before the market launch. However, the opposite was true. After a series of empathetic interviews with potential users and international workshops it became obvious that SafetyMonitor’s control mechanism is so complicated and user-unfriendly that hospital staff would simply not be using it. So even though we planned to focus solely on the software “behind the wall”, in the end we had to redesign also the controls of the product on the bed itself – the parts outside of the beds had to be developed from scratch and the mechanisms in beds had to be adjusted and simplified.  

And so our race against the clock began. The entire project included 20 people in the core team – 10 from Direct People, 10 from LINET. It was different and more complex mainly due to the fact that we weren’t preparing the product just for one market but for the entire European Union. On top of that, healthcare is an extremely regulated area. Due to the changes we’ve made, we also had to rewrite the regulatory, product, sales and marketing documentation and have it approved again as well as run new field tests. 

America, here we come!

We made it and in June 2019 SafetyMonitor was ready for the EU. However, that’s not the end. For LINET, SafetyMonitor is also a way to catch up with its US competition. Together we are currently working on adjustments for the US market. The product should be launched in the USA in the second half of 2020, but the pilot installations will take place as early as the end of this year. Our team is currently conducting emphatic interviews that will help us better understand the US market and what solutions would work better. 

“With Direct People joining in on the project we were finally able to finish the SafetyMonitor product and make the system stable. So after 10 years we can finally offer it to the customers. I wish there were more companies like Direct People in the Czech healthcare.” 

Zbyněk Frolík

owner and founder of LINET

 

Direct People were alternately engine and fuel of the project. For a very long time we did not have the inner strength to finish the product and launch it. Without Direct People we still wouldn’t be there.

Jan Purkrábek

Head of Innovations LINET Group

About Linet

LINET spol. s r.o. is a major European manufacturer of hospital and nursing beds. Established in the Czech Republic in 1990, it has around 900 employees and manufactures around 40,000 hospital beds every year, the vast majority of which are intended for export to more than one hundred countries worldwide.