The combination of the Affordable Care Act and the desire to generate new revenue streams have led to a growing number of physicians becoming entrepreneurs. And one nonprofit group wants to cultivate these hybrid professionals by organizing local chapters around the world.
The Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, has chapters in Washington, D.C., New York Tri-State area and Denver.
At a recent meeting of the Villanova Entrepreneurs Network, Jeffrey N. Hausfeld, a co-founding member of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, said it’s launching SoPE chapters this year in seven cities: Philadelphia, New York City, Toronto, London, Sacramento, Boston and Tampa Bay.
Vikas Khurana is heading up the Philadelphia chapter. With a background in internal medicine and gastroenterology, he is the co-founder of HealthTime TV, a health education program that’s aired on a local NBC channel.
The nonprofit group expects to have about 5,000 members by the end of the year and currently has more than 3,800 in its LinkedIn Group.
SoPE wants to jump-start networking between physician entrepreneurs to help members collaborate and exchange their knowledge and experiences. It also provides education opportunities through the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer and World Medical Device Association supported by its foundation. It will soon offer its own courses to help members advance their ideas to the preliminary stages of commercialization, according to its website.
Hausfeld said physicians who are aspiring entrepreneurs often don’t have the business background to advance their medical device or health IT concepts to the commercialization stage. One of the biggest misconceptions he hears among new physician entrepreneurs is that they can retain 100 percent ownership of their company.
“SoPE serves as a networking and education platform for healthcare providers who want to commercialize their innovations,” Hausfeld said. Members can join and not pay any dues, or they can join as a premium member and receive special benefits.
Hausfeld is the chief medical officer of CORAnet Solutions, a company that consolidates electronic health records into a personal health record in read-only mode for mobile devices using a HIPAA-compliant system. The data can also be used in an app for emergency personnel when users are unconscious, for example. He’s also a consultant for a few companies including GoodChime!, a social networking website in which celebrities set down challenges for members with implications for healthcare. One recent example earlier this year had Matthew McConaughey setting a jump rope challenge.
With provisions of the Affordable Care Act calling for reduced hospital readmissions and better patient outcomes, physicians with insights gleaned from seeing patients and studying the healthcare system have ideas on how to best solve these problems. Some physicians aren’t even waiting to finish their medical school training to develop their business ideas. Some members of startup accelerators in healthcare classes suspended their studies to develop their companies.
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