Why Do People Still Say Doctors are Lousy Businesspeople?

Why Do People Still Say Doctors are Lousy Businesspeople?

Despite the many doctors creating user defined value through the deployment of innovation, people still insist doctors are lousy business people. The reasons vary, but the most common ones are :

  1. The confuse "business" with something else. A business is an organization or economic system where goods and services are exchanged for one another, for something of value, or for money. Every business requires some form of investment and enough customers to whom its output can be sold on a consistent basis in order to make a profit. Businesses can be privately owned, not-for-profit or state-owned. Sick-care in the US is, in fact, a business but with peculiarities, like third party reimbursement, opaque pricing schemes and poor quality outcome metrics.

  2. They used imprecise metrics to measure whether someone is "a good business person" or not.

  3. They don't factor in the differences between the practice and ethics of medicine v that of business.

  4. Their opinions are tainted by bias, political beliefs and private experiences with their last sick care encounter.

  5. They confuse experience with quality, which are unrelated.

  6. Doctors are obliged to take care of patients regardless of their ability to pay and put the interest of the patient above other conflicting interests, something most non-sick care businesses are unwilling to do.

  7. The business of medicine is not part and parcel of medical education or residency training. Consequently, doctors don't make it a priority.

  8. Doctors are not chosen because they have an entrepreneurial mindset.

  9. The sick care ecosystem does not encourage innovation or early adoption of new ideas or technologies. Crossing the chasm can take years if not a generation for pragmatists to accept it.

  10. Doctors perpetuate the myth.

  11. They are service providers who need to perpetuate the myth to sell their wares.

  12. I many instances, doctors don't pay attention to the business of medicine and, in fact, go bankrupt, ignore fundamental principles of marketing or simply don't pay attention to their patients and other stakeholders. That fact casts a halo over the increasing numbers of clinicians who do.

Here are some reasons why doctors have the potential to make great businesspeople or entrepreneurs. Don't be fooled by the cynics.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.

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  • Jack Bryers

    The best businessmen are cut throat, and money minded, and would do anything for their top most position. That definitely can't be a doctor.

  • Danny Vernon

    Many physicians have side ventures, but all of this depends on time constraints.

  • Mike Hitchen

    Not all doctors are businessmen !

  • Ashley Ghilardi

    Informative post

  • saad zafar

    I many instances, doctors don't pay attention to the business of medicine and, in fact, go bankrupt, ignore fundamental principles of marketing or simply don't pay attention to their patients and other stakeholders. That fact casts a halo over the increasing numbers of clinicians who do.
    ;)

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Healthcare Guru

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org. He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at www.bridgehealth.com and www.cliexa.com and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at www.globalminded.org, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

   

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