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Naomi Fried has watched the same plot unfold over and over again: A digital health startup pitches software to accelerate drug discovery, track medication use, or identify patients for clinical trials. But initial interest from pharma executives quickly fades. They stop returning emails, often with no explanation.

But if the reasons are mysterious to startups, they are not to Fried, who has spent her career driving technology innovation at Biogen, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Kaiser Permanente. She said the startups are simply misunderstanding their audience and the business concerns that drive decision-making.

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