Opportunities in Primary Care Entrepreneurship

Opportunities in Primary Care Entrepreneurship

We need more primary care entrepreneurs. Fewer adults are seeing their primary care physician (PCP), opting more often to see a nurse practitioner (NP) and physician assistant (PA), according to a new research brief from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), a non-partisan, non-profit organization launched in 2011.  

In defining primary care, it is necessary to describe the nature of services provided to patients, as well as to identify who are the primary care providers. The domain of primary care includes the primary care physician, other physicians who include some primary care services in their practices, and some non-physician providers. However, central to the concept of primary care is the patient. Therefore, such definitions are incomplete without including a description of the primary care practice. Here are some definitions concerning the different parts of primary care.

Digital medicine, the use of information and communications (ICT) technologies to exchange medical information, is being promoted as the salvation of our sick, sick care system. Here are some takeaways from a recent conference, for example:

  • Key Takeaways
  • Creating a digital medicine toolkit becomes more relevant as we transition away from fee-for-service and into value based reimbursement.
  • But it is very important to note that in healthcare the biggest ROI for any investment is to invest in primary care. Tools to assist, complement, and support the primary care physicians can potentially of most value.
  • High priority items to invest in - telemedicine, data analytics, behavioral health.
  • Incentive structures from payers or employers are necessary components to the success of a digital intervention

Consequently, primary care is changing in response to many factors, including consumerization and the hightened patient and care community service, cost and quality expectations.

With all this change, as always, comes opportunities for primary care entrepreneurs interested in creating multiples of user defined value through the deployment of innovation:

  1. Digital health development, dissemination and implementation.

  2. Office based clinical research using digital tools.

  3. Edupreneurship opportunities.

  4. Business model innovation.

  5. Patient experience innovation.

  6. Doctor experience innovation.

  7. Working with patient entrepreneurs and prosumers.

  8. Non-clinical physician entrepreneurship career opportunities.

  9. Care coordination tools.

  10. Participation in early stage drug, device, digital health and care delivery product design and development.

  11. Intrapreneurial leadership as an employed physician or health professional.

  12. Social entrepreneurship.

  13. Physician investing.

  14. Mentoring.

  15. Transforming medical education.

  16. Interprofessional entrepreneurship.

  17. Building community based biomedical and clinical innovation networks.

  18. Encouraging medical societies to offer biomedical entrepreneurship education and training.

  19. Building and participating in accelerators, scalerators and other regional innovation ecosystems.

  20. Expanding your internal and external networks.

  21. Track and triage using AI engines to predict and personalize care.

  22. Ganjapreneurship.

While the opportunities are great, so are the barriers to physician entrepreneurship. Here are some ways to overcome them. Here are some ways to get started.

There are three basic ways for primary care docs to innovate their way out of the mess we've caused: technology innovation or adoption, execution and customer/patient experience.

Physician entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity under conditions of uncertainty with the goal of creating multiples of user defined value through the development, deployment and dissemination of biomedical and clinical innovation. 

Primary care is under stress and needs to be unbundled. It is getting harder to save private practice. The only way to transform it is to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset and follow the rules of Othercare. Or, you can just fake it 'till you make it.

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

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  • Barry Haggerty

    The primary care industry remains one of the biggest opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors.

  • Lyndell Marie

    Well the lack of competition results in a highly artificial market plagued by problems of high costs, inconsistent quality and poor access.

  • Duane Burnett

    Entrepreneurship opportunities in healthcare are booming.

  • Samantha McNally

    Many physicians are starting to embrace entrepreneurial habits as a means of survival.

  • Owen Pollard

    It appears that entrepreneurship and primary care are linked and that they will continue to be connected for some time.

  • Adam Sparrow

    This can only create a universe of highly profitable products and services. Healthcare providers have to respond by marketing services, something that was virtually unheard of in the past.

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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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