10 Reasons Why Medical Societies Should Offer Bioentrepreneurship Education

10 Reasons Why Medical Societies Should Offer Bioentrepreneurship Education

Doctors are questioning the value proposition of national, state and local medical societies. In addition, their membership base has shifted from independent physicians in private practice to employed physicians working for fewer and fewer consolidated integrated delivery networks with more and more market and employer power.

Consequently, medical professional societies are rethinking their traditional missions of advocacy, education and professional domain specific professional development.

Here are some reasons why they should offer biomedical and clinical innovation and entrepreneurship education and training:

  1. Employed physicians are expected to add more and more value as intrapreneurs.

  2. More and more doctors want side gigs but don't have the knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies to add value.

  3. There are many ways to create patient defined value other than starting a company or seeing 20 patients a day.

  4. Innovation requires involving end users early to be successful.

  5. As we migrate from paying for volume to paying for value, we should teach doctors how to create it.

  6. Doctors are interested in social enterprise and social entrepreneurship.

  7. Doctors are interested in alternative non-clinical career development.

  8. We need more leaderpreneurs.

  9. Every doctor has a great idea. Unfortunately, few have an entrepreneurial mindset, know what to do next with their idea and are unlikely to be taught what to do with it in medical school or residency.

  10. It is a way to recruit new members and generate dues revenue.

Many offer courses in various aspects of practice management. Unfortunately, while operations management is important and cash flow mission critical, they should be teaching medical practice entrepreneurship and preaching the gospel of Othercare.

Some medical societies resist because "we don't want to teach doctors how to leave practice" when the reality is that practicing entrepreneurship as a doctor, i.e. the pursuit of opportunity with scarce resources and conditions of uncertainty with the goal of creating user defined value through the deployment of innovation, is not an either/or proposition. 

Medical societies should offer their members bioentrepreneurship education and training because it's what their members want, it adds value to their practice and their employers, it's good for patients and it helps the societies retain members. What's there not to like?

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

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  • Emma Joyce

    Doctors need some training to become experienced entrepreneurs. They can't do it all on their own.

  • Jamie Slaunwhite

    They don't want to teach doctors these practices because they don't want them to leave their job.

  • Chris Taylor

    Universities should add some marketing and entrepreneurial classes to help doctors know what it takes to succeed in other areas. I know several doctors that have complained about this issue.

  • Andy Smallbone

    No, we need more doctors in hospitals.

  • Martin Schrader

    Good article

  • Keith Berger

    Couldn't be more true. Medical expertise doesn't substitute for business expertise and no business (i.e., a medical practice) can survive much less flourish without entrepreneurship. A necessary ingredient. Everybody talks about 'burnout' like it's a disease but it's just the natural outcome of trying to have your business/career work without the necessary resources. Medical schools train doctors, but leave physicians to fend for themselves to succeed at business, which you MUST do if your practice is going to survive. I have countless friends and colleagues who were GREAT doctors but lost their practices because of this. Or, they became employees with little of no say. That in itself killed their own integrity. KEB

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

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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