Why are so few doctors entrepreneurs? If, by entrepreneurs, we mean people who deploy innovation (creating value that people are willing to use or buy in exchange for something of value) to pursue an opportunity, my back-of-the-envelope guess is that 1 percent of doctors are truly entrepreneurs or have an entrepreneurial mindset.
I think the main reasons are:
- The medical culture treats entrepreneurship in the same vein as it treats business and money: dirty.
- After spending so much time, effort and money learning medicine, few want to reinvent themselves by doing what it takes to be successful entrepreneurs.
- Doctors have a hard time reconciling the ethos of medicine with the ethos of business.
- Doctors have been trained, even to a fault, that patients trump profits.
Entrepreneurs are hard-wired to do what they do. Many are sitting in medical school classrooms, making rounds and doing surgery. The future of healthcare depends on innovation and entrepreneurship just as it always has and the medical establishment should support the creation of an innovation ecosystem that allows physician entrepreneurs to thrive.