Fundamentals of Medical Practice Entrepreneurship

Physician entrepreneurs have different goals and play different roles. Some are trying to get an invention or discovery to patients. Some are social entrepreneurs trying to improve the human condition. Some are intrapreneurs,employees acting like entrepreneurs. But, they all have something in common- the pursuit of opportunity with the goal of creating user defined value through the deployment of innovation.

Medical practice entrepreneurs are not different. Running a medical practice these days should be about medical practice entrepreneurship not medical practice management.

"Practice management" is an archaic, out-dated term that limits the scope of what 21st Century physicians need to know and know how to do to serve the need of their communities of patients, while making a fair profit doing it. While operations management is important, instead, the future belongs to those who add user defined value through innovation. In other words, medical schools and graduate resident education programs should offer mandatory courses, and require demonstrating competencies, in medical practice entrepreneurship, not practice management.

A course in medical practice entrepreneurship should provide the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for medical practice professionals to create and scale a medical professional services organization. As we know by now, a medical practice is not a flower shop or a restaurant and it requires particular entrepreneurial skills which are not taught in medical schools or during residency training.

 At a minimum,courses should include:

1. Revenue Cycle Management including coding, billing and collecting

2. Human Resources

3. Digital Health, Social Media and Information  Systems

4. Innovation,Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship

5. Marketing

6. Personal Financial Planning

7. Basic Accounting and Financial Statements

8. Operations Management

9.  The legal and regulatory environment of health 

10. Comparative health care systems and alternative delivery channels

11. Business Models, Business Plans and business strategy

12. Exit strategies

13. Financing  your new practice

14. Intellectual property

15. Product development and product line extension

The competencies should provide practitioners with the ability to practice Othercare .

There are many ways to offer these courses and education through medical societies, business schools, trade associations and non-profit educational and research foundations. However it is done, practitioners need to use the information  to evolve  from knowledge technicians, to managers, to leaders to entrepreneurs to leaderpreneurs. It will be the primary way for doctors to regain control of our profession.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.