Why We Should Teach Digital Health Entrepreneurship

Why We Should Teach Digital Health Entrepreneurship

Digital health products and services are rapidly diffusing into clinical medicine. Technologies like telemedicine, artificial intelligence and remote sensing are the new tools in the black bag of increasing numbers of clinicians.

Yet, few know how to create them or contribute to their development. Consequently, like electronic medical records, the end products are frustratingly disconnected from the jobs doctors want them to do or are not clinically safe and effective.

When it comes to digital health products and services for doctors, the dog won't eat the food unless you create a carefully made QWILT that delivers both qualitative and quantitative improvement in:

Quality: Something that delivers evidence based improvements in quality of care

Workflow : Something that eliminates waste, improves throughput, takes advantage of the savings from business process outsourcing and, thus, reduces costs in their practice

Income: Something that will generate more money for the doctor, e.g. more time to see patients, more time seeing new patients, using the platform to submit MIPS reports for chronic disease management or improving patient compliance, engagement and outcomes

Liability: Something that will reduce the risk of getting sued

Time: Something that will save time

Here are some reasons why we should teach doctors digital health entrepreneurship:

  1. They all have good ideas
  2. They have no idea what to do with them
  3. They are presently unlikely to be taught what to do with them during their formal training
  4. They are rich sources of market intelligence and problem definition
  5. They have the potential to make great entrepreneurs
  6. They want to collaborate with industry but lack the knowledge, skills and abilities to contribute meaningful value
  7. They are being paid to create value but lack the skills to do so
  8. They are the ultimate end users and are crucial parts of the value chain
  9. They will be sabateurs if they don't participate in product design and development
  10. They are looking for entrepreneurial side gigs

There is a big difference between an idea, and invention and improvement and an innovation and skills and mindset required to transform one to the other. Are you sure your Chief Medical Officer knows how to add value?

For too long, the two most important people in the digital health technology value chain have been ignored-the doctor and the patient. While that is changing, OJT and trial and error are a painful way to find out whether the dog will eat the food.

Many businesses have a hard time practicing what they preach. University faculty have a hard time practicing what they teach. For digital health, it's time to teach what we practice.

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

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  • Daniel Heckmann

    This is some revolutionary stuff! Thank you for highlighting the importance of digital health entrepreneurship.

  • Matt Thomas

    Well explained, thanks!

  • Fahim Mahtab

    Brilliant, thanks for providing a fresh perspective on this topic !

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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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