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

- ZDoggMD

Entries in Physician Entrepreneurship (2)

Thursday
Jun212012

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.

 

Tuesday
Jan102012

Interview: Preparing for Physician-Entrepreneurship

Troy Heidesch, Founder of Smart HouseCalls, speaks to students about starting a business.

Remember the blog post in December about Dr. Toby Bond? Well as it turns out, Troy Heidesch consults as a part-time Nurse Practitioner in his office and is equally as innovative. Troy is founder of Smart HouseCalls, a new start-up which connects patients to their physicians more effectively using webcam technology. His system is HIPAA compliant, high definition, stable, secure and most importantly, billable. Using this technology, quick follow-ups and educational meetings can be arranged over the internet face-to-face with the provider rather than over the phone with the office staff. This has the potential to make an enormous impact in rural areas where access to healthcare is a serious issue as well as add convenience to patients who might not otherwise follow-up due to a busy schedule. I was able to sit down with Troy to discuss his work during the start-up process--hopefully you'll find his insights helpful.

Q: Tell me what you're up to.

A: I am the founder and CEO of a Biotech startup called Smart House Calls. We have built a telemedicine platform that allow physicians to communicate with patients from anywhere to anywhere with an internet connection and then charge  either the patient or the insurance company for that interaction. This improves patient access to timely and convenient care, decreases emergency room visits, and is an income accelerator for primary care providers.

Q: What has been the most challenging part about starting a business?

A: Patience and getting over self-doubt. You expect that a great idea will sell itself. After a few months you realize that success is in the execution rather than in the idea and execution takes time. I believe that self-doubt is common to most entrepreneurs. You think, “Who am I to build a potentially very large enterprise?” Then, as you immerse yourself into trying to succeed, you start seeing that you are really no different than other successful entrepreneurs. You read voraciously, talk with anyone who will listen, and suddenly you find that you are executing and doing a respectable job.

Q: How have you changed your clinical practice to allow time for your business?

A: I work as a consultant for primary care practices seeing patients and then installing our system. This is now giving way to full time within the company as sales begin to ramp up. I get up at 5 AM, do a little work for Smart House Calls, go see patients, and then work until about 7 or 8pm before spending some time with my family. On the days when I do not see patients, the hours remain about the same (and that includes weekends!).

Q: What should students who have entrepreneurial interests be doing to prepare for a different career when they graduate?

A: Read. Great book to start with is “The E-Myth Physician” by Michael Gerber. Decide whether you want to be an employee in your own business or be a CEO at the beginning. They are VERY different from each other. A physician as an employee will spend the day seeing patients and spending time every week to make sure the staff is paid and will pay attention to billing. The CEO will build systems that will work regardless of personnel and will be able to scale. They will spend most of their time thinking five years ahead and implementing strategies to push the business in the direction they envision.

Q: Any other comments?

A: If you have a great idea, talk about it to everyone person you meet. Do not worry about someone stealing your idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen, it’s the execution that is hard. By talking with everyone about your idea or plan, you will gain insight into the marketplace to help determine whether you really have something that people would want to pay to get. Finally, drop any ego or worry of losing control, hire people who are obviously much better than you. They will make you better and will pull your business to success much faster (success may not happen at all without this type of talent). A people should hire A people. If you hire B people they will hire C people and so on. Your idea will flounder and die if your first hires or partners are not exceptional.

So readers, what are your questions about starting a business? Leave comments and we'll get the discussion started.

A big thanks to Troy for his time and insight into these issues. For more information, see their website at SmartHouseCalls.com.

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