Why more doctors are thinking like entrepreneurs
Medical students and junior doctors are often among the most enthusiastic adopters of digital technologies and other innovations being developed to improve healthcare, and are paving the way of a new generation of medical entrepreneurs.
According to the British Medical Journal, in the UK alone, over 100 junior doctors have joined NHS England and Health Education England’s clinical entrepreneur training programme since 2015, and many students and doctors in training around the UK are now turning creative ideas into innovative products, apps, and services to improve patient care and enhance learning.
Closer to home, the Federal Government Entrepreneur’s Programme has already helped a number of medical innovation companies launch from the ground up. Meanwhile tertiary institutions like the University of Adelaide have innovation programs like the Australian eChallenge Medical Innovations initiative, which is designed to increase innovation within the medical field.
With cash prizes of up to $10,000, the initiative is designed to encourage medical innovations that introduce dramatic new capabilities, incremental innovations in existing medical products and processes, or modifying, upgrading and improving existing medical devices, products or services with an innovative step. Innovations accepted by the programme could also include taking and existing device and applying it to a new situation to achieve better outcomes for patients.
And there are a number of reasons why the next generation of doctors have the potential to be terrific entrepreneurs and innovators. Doctors are prone to be great entrepreneurs according to Arlen Meyers, professor of otolaryngology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, because they possess skills such as being able to build clinical judgement, deal with uncertainty and knowing how to question, observe, connect and associate.
Meanwhile, entrepreneurship is about research, testing and learning, something doctors and medical students do day in, day out. Thirdly, junior doctors and medical students are technologically savvy, and understand the need to innovate in order to improve the future of clinical practice.
Tips for taking a medical idea to market
- Identify a solution to a specific problem
- Think outside the box
- Look to other industries for inspiration
- Innovate beyond ‘sick care’ to enabling wellness
- Tap into the potential of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
- Make sure your idea is sustainable
- Build a team around you
- Examine all funding options