Every doctor has great ideas about how to fix sick care. Unfortunately, many physicians will never pursue their innovations due to the high cost of switching from practice to entrepreneurship.
Doctors spend up to 15-20 years in education and training. Some train for longer than they practice. In many instances, they make more money than 99% of the world's population.
So, given the time, emotional commitment, energy, income, and debt obligations, it is easy to understand the high opportunity costs of leaving clinical practice to pursue physician entrepreneurship. But, for too long, physicians have been disintermediated or ignored as critical parts of the sick-care innovation supply chain.
Things are changing, but the opportunity costs are simply still too high for most doctors to get involved.
Here are some ways to lower the switching costs:
1. Create entrepreneurial medical schools and integrate physician entrepreneurship education into the curriculum so that every graduate has an entrepreneurial mindset.
2. Reduce medical student debt.
3. Assist doctors with how and when to make career transition decisions.
4. Eliminate the credential mentality and expectation to participate.
5. Expand education and training in medical practice entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and intrapreneurship.
6. Eliminate the perception that the goal of physician entrepreneurship is to create companies, instead of user-patient defined value.
7. Give doctors the education, resources, networks, mentors, and experiential learning they need to succeed without having to quit clinical practice.
8. Change the models of accelerators and incubators to accommodate the needs and schedules of clinicians.
9. Change how we select medical students and train residents.
10. Recruit and develop medical school faculty physician entrepreneurs.
Every doctor has great ideas about how to fix sick care. They just don't know what to do with them. They shouldn't have to quit clinical medicine to find out.
The decision should not be “either/or.” It should be “and.”