Coronavirus: It's Time for Physician Entrepreneurs to Take Action

Coronavirus: It's Time for Physician Entrepreneurs to Take Action

These are scary times. But, if you are a physician entrepreneur, don't fall prey to fear and to playing defense.

Now is the time to flex your medical and entrepreneurial muscles to not only contribute to managing the pandemic, but setting the stage for the recovery. Take COVID action, not small doses of covert action.

We are now in the post-Corona economy and things have changed and will continue to evolve in fundamental ways . Generally those changes will be about:

  1. Rules and regulations
  2. Ecosystems
  3. Business models
  4. How we innovate
  5. Crisis leadership
  6. Corporate culture and employee relations
  7. The nature of work
  8. Corporate salary and benefits
  9. Personal attitudes about life and work-life balance
  10. Rethinking the pros and cons of living in an interconnected world

You know what you are supposed to do personally- social distancing (particularly if you are young and not in the vulnerable population), hand washing, stay away from people if you are sick, use the telephone or virtual care platforms to see if you need to be tested.

Here's a to do list of what you can do as, not just as a physician, but as a physician entrepreneur as well:

1. Continue to work on your business using apps and virtual work platforms

2. Volunteer to staff shifts on virtual urgent care platforms even if your medical license has expired

3. Reach out and touch (not exactly) someone who might be suffering from additional social isolation

4. Use your moral compass to follow your true north rather than taking advantage of people who are frightened and susceptible to misinformation and scams.

5. Look for business opportunities . Join one of the amazing Open Source Ventilator Projects to contribute your passion, creativity, time and expertise to help develop low-cost ventilators to fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Here are some ways of getting involved and some inspiration and some cheaper ventilator options:

  • Ultimate Medical Hackathon
  • Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies group on Facebook
  • DIY Pandemic Ventilator (built during Avian Flu crisis and shared on Instructables)
  • Story on OneBreath winning PopSci Innovation Award in 2010
  • OneBreath company web site ($4,000 low cost respirator vs. $35,000 traditional solution)

6. Lobby and vote to change archaic laws and regulations that have crippled our ability to respond to national or global public health crises. For a start, we need a national medical and telemedicine licensing or reciprocity agreement and refunding of public health agencies.

7. Create products and services that truly add value and transform sickcare into health care.

8. Follow the shifting investor money and take advantage of state sponsored advance technology investment tax credits. Health tech innovators are developing capabilities, products, and services that will likely be critical to the future of health. And as health tech investors and innovators continue to develop differentiated products and solutions for this market, they should consider where the industry is headed in the future.

9. Take advantage of dropping prices and increasing availability of talent, technology and money and other resources to start and grow your business.

10. Pay attention to cash flow and manage your operating reserve. Cut unnecessary expenses and control payables and present and future receivables. Did you save for a rainy day? If not, learn your lesson and start when you can to deal with the next catastrophe.

11. You may need to pull the plug on your idea. Add it to your failure resume without shame.If so, do so boldly and learn from the experience for next time.

12. Build your virtual side gig profile and portfolio. Learn to thrive in the medapocalypse.

13. Participate in crowd sourcing solutions.

14. If you are looking for a job, perfect your video-interviewing skills.

15. If you are a medical student entrepreneur, your match day on March 20 or graduation celebrations will be put on hold, cancelled or be virtual.

16. Reset all of your value proposition and business model assumptions.

As long as you are stuck at home, take a minute after reading this and list what the world will look like after the pandemic ends and think about how you can pursue the resulting seven sources of opportunity. The depression and WWII defined my parent's generation. The great recession molded the millennial mindset. Generation Z might be the Corona generation, and I don't mean the beer.

Then, go wash your hands for 20 seconds (that's singing happy birthday to yourself twice), or use the countdown timer on your phone. Here's how to clean it after you are done.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs on Twitter@SoPEOfficial and Facebook.

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  • Shanice Newman

    Powerful read

  • Kevin Ashby

    Some hospitals have closed overnight....

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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 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 and and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at, 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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