Healthcare: Advising is Not Doctoring

Healthcare: Advising is Not Doctoring

Healthcare: Advising is Not Doctoring

Doctors are now more interested in becoming advisors or consultants to sick-care companies.

But, many lack the knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies to add value. At the same time, companies looking for physician consultants and advisors, particularly startups with limited experience in sick-care, are not clear about who they want, what they want them to do or have unrealistic expectations about their ability to deliver results.

Part of the reason is advising is not doctoring. Some differences are:

  • Emphasis on results, not effort
  • No expectation to always take your advice
  • Less income
  • Less trust
  • Differences between the clinical and entrepreneurial mindset
  • The consultant is not responsible for the outcome
  • Usually temporary
  • Client-advisors relationships not as important in getting results
  • Different payment model
  • No fiduciary relationship
  • More limited liability exposure
  • Team dynamics
  • Importance of networks
  • Required experience and knowledge in sales and marketing
  • An entitled pay for effort, reimbursement, grant attitude v results based pay for performance attitude
  • Differences in real and perceived job security 

Conflict of interest is another concern. Are practicing physicians who advise medtech, big tech or biopharma companies influenced how they treat their patients?

Becoming an advisor or consultant to a sick-care company will require that you rewire, not retire to do a side gig. Anything short of that is a waste of time and money.

Digital Health Entrepreneurship is available on Amazon and Springer.

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

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  • William Spencer

    Innovation may be slower for healthcare entrepreneurs because it is such a sensitive matter.

  • Kumar Mohit

    Excellent overview

  • Kumar Mohit

    Many new entrepreneurs are bound to encounter serious resistance when trying to implement radical plans. Forget patients and focus more on customers.

  • Nathaniel Stewart

    Healthcare entrepreneurship is not only about providing value, it is also about covering the costs.

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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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