10 Reasons Why Biomedical Associations Should Embrace Physician Entrepreneurs

There are many gaps along the life science innovation roadmap. A wide one is industry new product development and marketing in collaboration with physician innovator and early adopters. The problem exists in biopharma and medtech and is particularly pervasive in digital health. Knowledge exchange at research universities, while increasing, is sparse. Bioentrepreneurship and innovation offerings in medical schools are virtually non-existent. Instead, "innovation" is about tinkering with existing processes of care instead of making them obsolete. Conflict of interest issues abound. Technology transfer at most major research universities is broken and the industry is looking for a new way to do business.

Given all this, you would think medical  and life science associations would embrace physician and bioscience trainees and practitioners with an entrepreneurial mindset. But, not so. Instead, they narrowly focus on "immediate relevance" to the organizations as seen through a myopic lens used to maintain the flow of membership dues so as not to distract from their perceived mission. In my view, this is another example of paying too much attention to the now, and not enough attention to the new.  

Here are 10 reasons why biomedical associations should embrance physician entrepreneurs:

1. It integrates physician entrepreneurs into the local bioinnovation cluster

2. It introduces companies to early innovators and adapters.

3. It is a source of additional dues revenue

4. It serves as a platform to educate doctors about the process of drug development and discovery and other aspects of bioentrepreneurship.

5. It expands networks for sales, marketing and brand development

6. It serves as a platform for experiential learning

7. It serves as a platform for knowledge exchange

8. It introduces companies to a potential talent pool

9. It uses a model that has been proven in many countries and US states

10. It identifies potentlal physician investors for early stage drug development.

Medical societies are losing credibility and trying to be relevant. Members are increasingly looking for help with the business of medicine "surthrival" skills and alternative career development and , by offering bioentrepreneurship education and training, they can meet the needs of a changing member base and add value.

Bioscience and medical associations ignore physician entrepreneurs at great peril. For too long , they have ignored the two  main elements of the innovation supply chain, doctors and their patients. No longer. Bioscience and medical associations are either with us or we'll move forward with those who are interested in partnering with the only ones who can prescribe what , together, we can invent , make or discover-doctors.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA
Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado School of Medicine and CO School of Public Health
President and CEO, Society of Physician Entrepreneurs (SoPE) at www.sopenet.org
Contributor at http://www.hcplive.com/physicians-money-digest
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ameyers