Biomedical entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity under conditions of uncertainty with scare resources with the goal of creating stakeholder defined value through the deployment of innovation using a VAST business model. Consequently, there are many ways to practice entrepreneurship without doing it full time and without necessarily creating a new company. The goals are stated to be better quality, lower costs, equitable access, a better patient and doctor experience and improved efficiencies and effectiveness of business and operational processes.
However, the fruits of our entrepreneurial labors in sickcare are neither equitably available nor equitably disseminated.
Take DNA testing, for example. Seizing on the surging popularity of at-home DNA testing kits, top academic medical institutions are opening clinics that promise to probe much deeper into your DNA — if you’re willing to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of pocket to learn about disease risks that may be lurking in your genes.
Health care inequality is when one group of people in an economy are in much worse health than another group. In the United States, health inequality is correlated with income inequality. Research has found that the higher your income, the better your health.
Envision biomedical entrepreneurs working to create a world without sick care inequities. What will it take?
- Resolving the ethics of business with the ethics of medicine
- Changing the rules
- Patient and physician education, engagement and enablement
- Measuring the impact of innovation and entrepreneurship on underserved populations
- More diversity and inclusion in innovation ecosystems, including clinical trials
- Recognizing the differences between equity, inclusion and diversity
- A systems engineering approach to the causes of disparate health outcomes
- Changing patient and physician behavior
- Monitoring and modifying the adverse impact and unintended consequences of technology
- Eliminating technology adoption errors
- Reforming medical education and training
- Measuring equitable innovation outcomes, dissemination and implementation, not process
- Viewing biomedical entrepreneurship as a social enterprise
- Practicing reverse innovation
- Changing mindsets
- Avoid iceberg innovation
- Overcoming unconscious bias and racism in decision making. Recent data also shows that present-day doctors fail to sufficiently treat the pain of black adults and children for many medical issues.
- Interprofessional entrepreneurship
- Acclerators and scalerators designed to launch products and services that serve diverse populations equitably
- Social enterprise sickcare startup funding
- Here's how to close the sick care digital divide.
- Rethink how we create Doctors 2.0
Inequality is a major social policy problem. Until and unless we address how sick care entrepreneurs create products and services that are equitably created, developed, launched and disseminated, we continue to be part of the problem, not the solution. Some say the future is now, just not evenly distributed. Keeping it that way is not a sustainable future.
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs on Twitter@ArlenMD and Co-editor of Digital Health Entrepreneurship.