Biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurial opportunity is everywhere, yet some don't see it. One place that might not be evident is the patient sitting in front of you in the examining room.
Patient entrepreneurs abound and are passionate about solving their own health problems through the deployment of innovation. Confronted with unique challenges and problems that have not been solved by their doctors or Sick Care systems, they do everything from creating new prostheses or wheelchairs, to creating a biotech company to cure an orphan disease, to producing eCare or other digital health apps. While necessity might be the mother of invention, in many cases, it also spawns innovation.
The process of finding early adaptors or early evangelists is part of the lean startup methodology. In the case of a potential physician entrepreneur-patient entrepreneur relationship, though, things are somewhat reversed, where the patient has the idea and the doctor is the innovator or early adopter customer.
During most physician office visits, it is unlikely that, "What are you working on that is interesting to help yourself and others with your problem?" will find itself in the medical record. But, keep that conversation going long enough and you will find many sources of value generating and innovation opportunity.
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org