The Entrepreneurial MD for Women

Finding the balance between medicine and business

Innovation, entrepreneurship: in brief a book for physician entrepreneurs

One of the perks of being an active physician blogger is that I am sent books to review from time to time. A book that recently caught my attention is Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Healthcare Sector: From Idea to Funding to Launch by Luis G. Pareras MD, from GreenbranchPublishing.


I've decided to launch a new category I've titled "Books' Big Ideas" in which I plan to summarize the key ideas in books that I believe have merit for you, my readers.


Here is a summary of my first book's Big Ideas, with some author background first.


Equipped with an MBA, a PhD and a wealth of experience as a physician entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Spanish neurosurgeon Luis Pareras is well-positioned to offer aspiring entrepreneurial physicians an exhaustive blueprint for launching a business.


He begins by distinguishing innovation (a world of ideas) from entrepreneurship (a world of action).


He sees as the three greatest drivers of innovation and sources of ideas:




  • existing problems

  • dissatisfaction with what is

  • market opportunities



Big Idea Number One:


There are three types of innovation:




  1. Oriented towards the consumer- changing the experience of the healthcare user. This is especially relevant for patients with chronic disease who need complex care coordinated.
    One example of this kind of innovation example might be the elimination of the waiting room at the Virginia Mason Kirkland Clinic in suburban Seattle.

  2. Based on technology - new therapeutic agents, medical devices, or information technology tools. Examples would include novel monoclonal antibody drugs, knee prostheses or error-reducing software.

  3. Based on a business model - integrating hospitals into a chain or a hospital and its clinics into a system.



Big Idea Number Two:


Nobody invests in an idea. Instead they invest in its execution.


Big Idea Number Three:


Despite the chaos and creativity that typify a startup, there are identifiable phases to starting a business, accompanied by questions that are essential to be asking. This is succinctly illustrated on pages 30, 31 and 32.


For example, in the earliest phase, the question to ask is "Is my idea a good one or just an opportunity?"


Later, you might ask what your options are for making your efforts profitable, once you have developed a business plan - Should you sell or license your patent? Should you be seeking an alliance? Can you do this by yourself?


Big Idea Number Four:


It's vital to understand and position yourself within the healthcare value chain. Dr Pareras describes this important business concept in a blog post.


Big Idea Number Five:


The purpose of a business plan is to explain the story of the opportunity your  project or business poses. It also provides a road map to making the idea happen. It is above all a communication tool -- to ourself, to outsiders and to insiders who will work with and for you.


Big Idea Number Six:


The most important asset of any business or idea is the people behind it -- the team that will execute the idea. This will demand leadership and management skills.


Big Idea Number Seven:


Financing your business is a challenge that takes planning and awareness of the multiple ways a healthcare start-up and business can be financed. Whether you are using your own money, R and D development subsidies, grants, debt or investment -- you will need to know what is out there to help you raise the money you need to start your venture.


So there you have it - the seven big ideas that jumped out at me from the book. What is particularly valuable is in the extensive details - the many "hows" that are explained and answered.


Although the book is expensive (you can rent Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Healthcare Sector: From Idea to Funding to Launch from Amazon as well, for half the price), I would highly recommend that any physician with an entrepreneurial spirit and an urge to start a business, of whatever size, have it on your library bookshelf - as underlined or highlighted as my copy is!


Philippa Kennealy ran a private family practice, and a hospital, before building her coaching business helping MDs launch and run successful practices and businesses. Visit her online atwww.entrepreneurialMD.com to learn more.

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