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"I wouldn't do it twice, but I would not 'not' do it once."

- ZDoggMD

Entries in Physician Entrepreneur (4)


Innovating In Health Care As A Young Physican

Looking to change healthcare with your new idea but don't know where or how to start?

Look no further...

Arlen D. Meyers MD MBA, is the cofounder, and Chief Medical Officer of MedVoy, a medical tourism company. His is also a Professor of Otolaryngology, Dentistry and Engineering at the University of Colorado at Denver. He has authored of a new book called The Life Science Innovation Roadmap: Bioscience Innovation Assessment, Planning, Strategy, Execution, and Implementation and currently serves as CEO and President of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org

I asked if he could give a quick overview of the change in healthcare that is happening right now and some areas where these changes are creating opportunities for young physician entrepreneurs to make a big impact.

Enter Dr. Meyers

None of us needs to be told that the US healthcare system is undergoing change. Designed for yesteryear and showing signs of dysfunction and age, our system is cracking under the strain of an aging population, escalating costs and poor technological progress.

Things have changed in several important ways:

  • Health Insurance Reform and changes to the Reimbursement model
  • Decentralized patient–centered care
  • Downsizing /right-sizing the healthcare workforce
  • Electronic medical records, healthcare information exchanges and data analytics/BI
  • Acute to preventive care
  • Disconnected to integrated care
  • Medical travel: The search for value-based care
  • Mobile health
  • The emergence of non-US markets for biomedical innovation
  • Increasing regulatory scrutiny
  • The changing intellectual property landscape
  • New healthcare delivery models: telemedicine, concierge medicine, hospitalists
  • Physician-industry conflict of interest and transparency requirements

These market shifts can be lumped into four categories, each an opportunity for you to make a difference.

The first is healthcare information technology. The infrastructure emerging has four basic components: electronic medical records, health information exchanges, data analytics and business intelligence and telehealth/telemedicine. They all serve as elements of a rapidly evolving national healthcare information architecture that will be second nature to you and your patients someday. Using the system will be as easy as putting your card in an ATM machine in Nairobi and getting US dollars.

The second category are those changes and models designed to deliver care more efficiently and effectively than the present face-to-face model, where the patient has to come into an office or hosptial to see the doctor for minor check ups or follow up visits. Examples include on-site clinics located in businesses, disease management facilities, intermediate care clinics and pharmacy based offices.

The third group attempts to make billing and collection better, faster and cheaper. Processes like identity verification and authorization, real time benefits verification, dependent validation and benefits comparisons are designed to make sure the right person is getting paid the right amount for the right reasons.

Finally, the ground is shifting under the biomedical innovation infrastructure. Changes in regulatory rules concerning manufacturing, marketing, FDA approval, and intellectual property are but a few of the manifestations. There are huge opportunities to create positive change for the way doctors treat disease.

If entrepreneurship and innovation sound interesting to you, start learning about it now. (in medical school, residency, or even college as a premed) This is not something you will get during your medical training and there are lots of resources to help young physicians learn the world of bio innovation.


A big thanks to Dr. Meyers, and if you want to learn more...

Join the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, it's free and there are a ton of great resources to help doctors learn to be entrepreneur. Check out SoPE Here

Check out Dr. Meyer's new book The Life Science Innovation Roadmap: Bioscience Innovation Assessment, Planning, Strategy, Execution, and Implementation.



A CEO & Entrepreneur Who Also Happens To Be A Surgeon; An Interview With Dr. Arlen Meyers

"Taking Care of Business Is Taking Care Of Patients." -Dr. Arlen Meyers MD MBA

When you ask most physicians what they do, the answer is expected to include their specialty and maybe a bit about a fellowship or possibly some research. With Dr. Arlen Meyers, it's not quite that simple. A professor of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado Denver, he is also cofounder, President and Chief Medical Officer of medvoy.com, a globally integrated, doctor to doctor referral platform. He has been named one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 by Modern Healthcare and is currently serving as the founding CEO and President of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs and Director of the Certificate Program in Bioinnovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado. This is just the tip of the iceberg; Dr. Meyers is working to radically change the way doctors do business. I was able to catch him for a quick chat.

Enter Dr. Arlen Meyers

What Does Your Job Entail

Basically, I have two lives. The first as an academic head and neck surgeon which involves teaching medical students, residents, staffing clinics, and all the other medical stuff. The other side of my life is all about bioentrepreneurship. My second world is about the research, education, and practice of bioentrepreneurship in medicine; specifically ENT surgery, and that’s how I spend my time.

What’s the secret to becoming an entrepreneur and a surgeon?

I don't think it's a secret, but I'd say you need to get up early and work your ass off (said with a grin). I don’t know what else to tell you. We only have 24 hours in a day, and we just choose to use them in a certain way.

When did you first develop an interest in entrepreneurship?

Well in retrospect, probably when I was 8 or 10, but I think I was too stupid to know that at the time. Fundamentally, my view on this is that becoming an entrepreneur is about 15% being hard wired to do it, and it’s about 85% getting the knowledge, skills, abilities, and work experience to make it happen.

What is your advice to physicians or medical students who are considering getting an MBA?

It's really quite simple. Basically you are going to get your ticket punched, and everyone’s going to say, “Hmmm, this doc is an MD MBA.” You’re going to meet a whole bunch of business minded people, and you’re going to learn some stuff. Those are the three reasons that you go to business school. Now, what opportunities will you have if you get an MBA? That’s always the real question.

Doctors who get an MBA basically are doing it for 3 main reasons:

1.They’re interested in furthering their education and getting credentials so they can be in a health service leadership position—VP for medical affairs, medical officer, president of the hospital, whatever.

2. They want to do it because they’re interested in health service research or strategy, so they want to run a public health office in their state or something like that.

3. They want to start a company or they want to be an entrepreneur.

My advice would be that an MBA makes the most sense if you’re in category 1. If you’re in category 2, you probably shouldn’t be pursuing an MBA. You should probably be doing a Masters in Public Health or Public Administration. And if you find yourself in category 3, you shouldn’t waste your time with an MBA; just go out and start a company.

Why did you decide to start the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs (SOPE) and what kinds of things does it do for physicians who are interested in entrepreneurship?

I started it because it needed to be done and no one else was doing it. The Society of Physician Entrepreneurs is a lesson in entrepreneurship and that is something that doctors are not trained to do. Basically, in order for you to start something to be successful, it has to satisfy three objectives: One, it has to be a big unmet market need. Two, you have to create something that satisfies that need in such a way that people are willing to pay for it. Three, you have create a business model so it sustains itself. We do not get trained about this stuff in medical school or residency.

To me, the biggest opportunity in US Health care reform is innovation. However the sad truth is that most doctors don’t get it. Remember the typical line, "doctors are terrible business people." Actually, I don’t think they are but that’s a whole another conversation. I want to fundamentally change that stereotype and SOPE is one way to make that happen. Our focus is not on practice management in the traditional sense, our focus is on innovation and on bioentrepreneurship. We want to show how to get a life science idea to market and change health care with your idea. It’s not how to squeeze another nickel out of your accounts receivable.

Do you have a book recommendation for our readers?

The one that I’m writing called The Life Science Innovation Road Map. You will hear more about when it is relased, I hope it will help doctors learn how to make there ideas a reality.



Starting A Company As A Medical Student: An Interview With Stephanie Bravo

Having A Good Mentor Can Make A Big Difference

It has been said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around. If that is true, the formula is simple; find people that are doing what you want to do and tag along. Unfortunatly, it's not always this simple; however, StudentMentor.org is changing that. This company is dedicated to helping college students find mentors to help them along their journey. They are working with students from over 700 colleges in the the United States. They are currently partnering with the White House on several national education initiatives. It's an impressive operation!

So how did this whole thing get started? I caught up with Stephanie Bravo who is Co-founder of studentmentor.org. At the time, she was a medical student at University of California Irvine School Of Medicine. She is currently President of the company and works full time with the organization and has alot of good advice for medical students.

How did you decide to start StudentMentor.org?

I decided to start StudentMentor.org after having a life-changing experience with a mentor during my years as an undergraduate. I was a first-generation college student who felt completely lost at a large public university and was unsure about my future. But then I found my mentor through the Stanford University Minority Medical Alliance Medical Mentorship Program, and this experience changed my life. My mentor, Dr. Matthew Goldstein (http://www.studentmentor.org/about-us/advisory-board/#goldstein), was a medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine, and he provided so much guidance throughout my studies, especially during those challenging times when completing college and attaining a career as a physician seemed out of reach. Even more than that, we got to talking about life, family, and a variety of other things where he provided tremendous support for me at times when I had no one else to help me. Because of my life-changing experience, I wanted to help other students connect with mentors who could help them at crucial stages in their academic and career pursuits. Thus, StudentMentor.org was born to help students complete college and enhance their career readiness by connecting them with seasoned professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds and industries.

What where some of the challenges/perks of starting a company while in medical school?

There were not enough hours in the day for me to be a well-balanced person, succeed in medical school, and lead an organization. It was very difficult to maintain my course load and go through the process of creating something from scratch. I had to rely on my StudentMentor.org co-founder and friends in medical school to help me juggle. Shifting between these roles was tough, but both required a great deal of tenacity and a strong work ethic. With those in tow, I pursued both medicine and my startup nonprofit for a while. I managed to survive by being very diligent, disciplined, and organized. But, because I was incredibly passionate about StudentMentor.org and the broader issue of higher education, I decided to fully commit to leading my organization and put becoming a physician on the backburner. I know I made the right decision when we received a call from the White House inviting us to meet the President and speak with officials about StudentMentor.org in December 2011. Additionally, after one year, 5000+ mentors and students from all around the nation are connecting and beginning meaningful mentorships. It’s very exciting to be at the helm of an organization that is soaring to great heights at a record pace.

How can medical students and residents get involved as a mentor and what is the time commitment that a mentor makes?

The time commitment for mentors varies depending on their availability. You can communicate with mentees at any time convenient for you. We recommend that mentors set aside about 30 minutes a week to mentor one student. Since professionals come from a variety of industries and backgrounds, it’s very flexible to their schedules. Medical students all the way up to attending physicians can serve as mentors. We even have resident physicians in the program who somehow find time to help their mentees. I hope that those UncommonStudentMDs will consider joining StudentMentor.org too.

You have become an expert at helping people find mentors. Can you give some advice on how to find and approach a mentor?

The best way to reach out to potential mentors is to ask them if they have time to grab coffee. If you speak candidly about looking forward to hearing their experiences and learning from them, then a potential mentor will be receptive. It’s not a good idea to lead with what you want to get out of the relationship, e.g. a letter of reference, the contact information for their colleague, etc. Like with any relationship, you have to put in the time to build trust, and that starts with putting yourself out there by telling your story, sharing your goals, and realizing that a mentor’s insight is extremely important in helping you achieve your goals.

Do you have any advice for medical students who would like to start a business?

Taking time off from school might be the best move since building a business is a huge time commitment—kind of like medical school, but without a 4-year plan or any other roadmap. That being said, I’ve had amazing classmates at UC Irvine School of Medicine who have written and published novels, created student organizations, and ran underserved clinics while still maintaining a full course load—so it is possible!

Another, big tip is to reach out for help and persuade people to your cause. If you can build a movement that your classmates are passionate about as well, then you’ll have 100+ medical students in your corner to help get your business off the ground. It’s very important to build and utilize your networks in any business, including medicine.

Why did you want studentmentor.org to be a non-profit instead of a for profit company?

There are pros and cons to both entities. In a for-profit entity, the bottom line would always rule and not necessarily doing the most good for the cause. We decided to become a nonprofit to keep the monies accrued by the organization focused toward achieving its goals. Additionally, it was a lot easier to recruit mentors who are all volunteers.

If you could pick one book for every medical student to read what would it be?

I would recommend “The Empowered Patient” by Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent. It’s great to read books on the “white coat” reading list, but a holistic understanding of the medical profession comes from reading books written for patients as well. This book by Cohen offers patients insight into how patients should go about getting the best medical care possible. She argues for being a “bad patient” by asking questions and not blindingly doing what you are told until you understand what and why you need to do it. As future physicians, it’s absolutely critical to be able to communicate with patients. So, learning more about the patient's perspective and trying to meet them where they stand is a good start to becoming a great physician.

 Video: Why I Started StudentMentor.org

 Video: How StudentMentor.org Works




Money Management + Medical Students

If you've been in medicine for even a little while, you know there are a number of taboo subjects that just aren't discussed.

One of the most important discussions that medical students do not have while in training is the subject of money and overall financial management.

It's been very exciting for me to watch this very cool website, Uncommon Student MD, so quickly develop into the premiere source for honest, practical information for medical students. Over on Freelance MD, we've written a number of articles about investing and money management for physicians and medical students.  Here are some of our prior posts:

I also would like to recommend to you all Dr. Robert Doroghazi's book entitled The Physician's Guide to Investing.  I wrote a brief review of the book here on Freelance MD, and while I would differ from the author on a few of the finer points, I think the gist of the book is excellent.

Last, at our most recent Medical Fusion Conference I was able to sit down with Dr. Setu Mazumdar, an Emergency Medicine physician turned financial manager.  Setu gives his perspective of "financial independence" in this interview.  Check it out...it's worth watching.  Hopefully, by learning a bit about finances while in training you'll avoid some of the common pitfalls of physicians and money.

Click to read more ...

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