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Drivers of International Physician Entrepreneurship


Life science entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity with scarce, uncontrolled resources with the goal of creating customer/user-defined value through the deployment of biomedical and clinical innovation. Innovation can come in many forms, not just products and services.

Life science entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity with scarce, uncontrolled resources with the goal of creating customer/user-defined value through the deployment of biomedical and clinical innovation. Innovation can come in many forms, not just products and services. There are many new exciting business opportunities for innovators to develop and commercialize their new products and services.

However, the life science innovation roadmap is risky, expensive and time consuming. To be successful, bioentrepreneurs whether healthcare professionals, scientists, engineers, investors or service providers, need to work as a team with their organizations to overcome the multiple hurdles taking their ideas to the market and patients. The process is neither linear nor predictable and outcomes are never guaranteed. In addition, because of global macroeconomic conditions, investors are unwilling to gamble on unproven technologies in a more hostile regulatory and legal environment. Consequently, commercializing bioscience discoveries is becoming more and more difficult. However, innovators still thrive. Where are some of these exciting business opportunities for bioentrepreneurs?

An initial understanding of the changes happening in US healthcare is the first step in identifying potential market opportunities. Here are but a few:

1. Major and continual healthcare policy reforms

2. Migration away from fee for service payment

3. Consumerization, commoditization, internationalization, customization and digitization of care.

4. Changing from a sick care system to a preventive and wellness system

5. Defined benefit to defined contribution health insurance coverage

6. Rightsizing the healthcare workforce

7. Do it yourself medicine (DIY)

8. Mobile and digical (physical and digital) care delivery models

9. The growth of employed physicians

10. Innovation management systems and increasing attention to health entrepreneurship.

11. Increasing demand for high touch care

12. Increasing discontinuity of cares changing quickly.

All of these changes present biomedical and healthcare entrepreneurs opportunities to create new products, services, models and platforms. Patients are taking more control of funding and contributing to basic and clinical research using the internet, and social media continues to play a bigger and bigger role in healthcare marketing and delivery.

The drivers of physician international entrepreneurship include:

1. Fear: Doctors are afraid they will suffer the professional, personal and economic consequences if they don't adapt to change.

2. Greed: Physician incomes are threatened by innovation and new business models

3. Necessity: Most doctors in industrialized countries have a realatively high standard of living. They did not bother themselves with innovation or entrepreneurship because they didn't have to.

4. The innovation imperative: The pace of change has accelerated and markets and employers are demanding more with less

5. Generational demands: Medical students and residents are questioning their career decisions and demanding that schools provide them with the innovation and entrepreneurship education and training knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to thrive after graduation and throughout their careers

6. The shifting doctor-patient relationship: Technology and DIY medicine is disintermediating doctors and fundamentally altering the doctor-patient relationship

7. Resources: The internet, local ecosystems, accelerators and access to early stage capital has made it easier to start a business or develop an idea. People are connecting to the global economy.

8. Portfolio careers: The sick care gig economy is growing and the future of work is changing. Fewer are committing to one lifetime career or job, including clinical medicine

9. Opportunities: With change, comes opportunities and those few doctors with an entrepreneurial mindset are actively pursuing them. The opportunities in health entrepreneurship are sizeable and physician entrepreneurs are increasing well positioned to capitalize on them.

10. Culture: The culture of medicine is changing and encouraging creativity and innovation

The future of medical innovation and entrepreneurship is bright and physician entrepreneurs around the word are eager to participate.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice