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

- ZDoggMD

Entries in Society of Physician Entrepreneurs (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.



Student Doctors: How To Get Rich In Medicine

Take a lesson from Trinidad Colorado. Sell the shovels, don't be the miner.

By Arlen Meyers MD MBA

Trinidad ,Colorado, located in the Southern part of the state on the Colorado side of Raton Pass, was, until recently, the "sex change capital of the world". More sex reassignment surgeries were done there than any other city, until recently when the surgeon left to take a job in San Francisco.

Trinidad , pop 7300, has a long, illustrious history. It grew up as a trading post along the Santa Fe Trail, one of the 3 primary "trails" in early 1800 America, that connected Independence, Missouri with Sante Fe, then part of Mexico and was a major trade route. The Trail provided entrepreneurs with two ways to make money. The first was by providing a way for people to do business or mine coal. The second was to sell things to the people who were doing the business or mining coal.

For example, the growth in traffic along the trail attracted Jewish merchants from the East Coast and Europe who saw a business opportunity providing goods, tools and supplies to Sante Fe Trail users. In 1883, they built Temple Aaron, now the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the state ( http://www.smallsynagogues.com/trinidad_co.htm ) The geneological connection to prominent Denverites exists to this day.

If you are looking for an opportunity, consider selling the tools to make the product, not the product itself. For example, there is tremendous interest in companies producing high speed automated DNA sequencers that will be able to deliver the $1 genome and provide an important tool to drive the personalized medicine revolution. Another company, Sharklet  (http://www.sharklet.com) is using a shark-skin like material that is bacterial resistent to coat medical devices, and, interestingly, the bottom of US Navy ships to prevent the accumulation of barnacles and other organisms that create drag on the hull.

Wars create fortunes. Be the guy who sells the bullets, not the soldier.

About: Arlen Meyers MD MBA is the cofounder, and Chief Medical Officer of MedVoy, a medical tourism company. He is also a Professor of Otolaryngology, Dentistry and Engineering at the University of Colorado at Denver and CEO and President of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.  Read more of Dr. Arlen Meyers posts on Freelance MD. 

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There Must Be A Better Way

Physician Burnout

10 Steps To Avoid Becoming "That Doctor"

“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” - Dr. Viktor Frankl

Recently, I was examining a 4 year old boy who came to the clinic with a cough. As I bent my six foot five inch frame down to his level and pressed my stethoscope to his small chest, he watched me intensely. I flashed him a quick smile; he returned the favor and continue to observe every move I made. When I finished listening to his lungs, his curiosity could no longer be contained. He looked at me and said, “Can I listen to your heart now?” So for a moment we traded places; he became the doctor and me the patient. He was actually quite good at imitating me by quietly tuning in to hear my heart beat and prompting me for a deep breath by inhaling and nodding for me to follow suit. As he was finishing with my exam, his mother, beaming with pride, said, “He wants to be a doctor, and that’s what I want him to do too.” I chuckled thinking at once of my many sleepless nights, stress over exams, and the events with family and friends I had already missed in pursuit of this noble goal, and I’m just getting started.

As the little boy and his mom left the clinic, I began to think about the many overworked physicians I see or speak to, who started out like my young patient then slowly had the wonder and excitement sucked out of their physician experience. Some doctors have even responded to my questions for advice with, “I have no idea why anyone would want to go into medicine any more!” If I’m honest, sometimes I feel they may have a point. Then again, I have met physicians who still love the work they do. Over the weekend, I spent some time with a family friend who is an ER doctor. I asked if he got frustrated by all the “waste of time” consults he sees in the emergency department. Looking at me genuinely he said, “Every patient visit is an honor for me, I see them as a life I can touch.” I guess I shouldn’t have been taken back, but I didn’t expect that response from an ER doc with 30 years under his belt.

The question that begs to be asked is simple, "What’s the difference?" We have all met different versions of both doctors and one has to wonder what makes a doctor bitter, miserable, and look 10 years older than they should and the other still happy to examine or even reexamine a child with a cold because his pushy paranoid mom insists her son needs a prescription right now! Does it all come down to specialty, work hours, who gets paid more, or just personality?

This question is one that I am not qualified to answer, and is one that I will likely continue to answer throughout my career. However, I did find a great start in a comment Dr. Arlen Meyers posted in response to my post on Practicing Medicine In The Year 2050. You can read it there, but it’s worth a reprint.

For those who don’t know, Dr. Meyers is and ENT Surgeon, entrepreneur, author, educator, and CEO and President of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.

Here's what I would say to students interested in medicine:

  1. Like anything else, follow your heart, not your parents.
  2. There are lots of ways to make a difference with an MD degree other than seeing patients.
  3. You will need to get your ticket punched (MD degree, residency) to do most of them.
  4. Don't tell the admissions officer at the medical school that you have no interest in practicing medicine.
  5. Hear all the people who are bitching. Just don't listen to them.
  6. Don't be a slave to debt if possible. Sacrifice and pay it off as soon as possible.
  7. Taking care of business is a part of taking care of patients. Start learning it as soon as possible on your own because you won't learn it in medical school.
  8. Innovate
  9. Innovate
  10. Innovate

These ten steps are not a prescription for an easy, turn-key career, but they will allow you to have a career on your own terms. I believe that these 10 things will make the difference between physicians who continue to stay engaged and passionate and those who become jaded and defeated.

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