Tue, 18 March 2014
As a neurology resident, Scott Zimmerman MD became aware that medical practice, beyond the rarefied atmosphere of training, was unlikely to fulfill the needs of his creative spirit.
With this foresight, he began to teach himself coding, scouring as many resources as he could find, between call days and patient care hours.
Zimmerman had spent his undergraduate years at Columbia University, cultivating an interest in economic development, poverty alleviation, and harnessing scalable instruments (namely software and tax policy) to address social ills.
Driven by these passions, his first software applications found their focus.
His gradual realization that medicine was unlikely to offer him the professional fulfillment he sought resulted in a move full-time to software and then the development of his own business -- Xola.com, an integrated booking, marketing, and distribution software used at this time primarily by the travel industry.
This is a longer interview than usual (about 33 minutes) and I apologize for not sounding smooth (I had had oral work that day), but please enjoy my interview with Dr Zimmerman here -- it was a fascinating, wide-ranging and very insightful conversation and he offers great advice to those of you seeking to divert your futures to a non-clinical career outside of medical practice.
Then please rejoin us at The Entrepreneurial MD Blog to add your thoughts or comments.
Mon, 3 February 2014
Dr. John Shufeldt is a driven man.
While many might consider being driven to accomplish a key ingredient of success, in this case, John is driven to learn, by being a "serial student".
His entrepreneurial bent manifested early – in the slew of moneymaking activities that marked both his childhood and his medical school days. While he always knew he wanted to be a doctor, he couldn't help his desire to improve processes and "things" that he noticed weren't optimized.
As he describes in his interview with me, his other overwhelming inclination -- his fierce desire to learn -- has had to be assuaged by going back to school every 10 years. First, his MD, followed by his MBA and 10 years later, his JD. That 10 years is almost up and he is getting set for his next adventure as a student.
When I gently accused him of being intimidating to normal folks like us, he protested and pointed out, as he did repeatedly in his book"Ingredients of Outliers" (reviewed here last week), that his journey has been a succession of small "fast failures" (one key to success, by the way), punctuated by intermittent successes. Of course, I think he's being unduly modest… but let's see what your opinion is!
Listen to his fascinating story here, and then return here to The Entrepreneurial MD Blog to add your comments, as I'd love to hear what you think!
Wed, 18 September 2013
A newly-minted physician entrepreneur, Dr Tara Coles is all energy - an ER physician, mother of four, artist, writer, speaker and self-professed healer with a zest for learning and putting her multiple talents to work.
Her passions extend to women's wellness, integrative approaches to health and nutrition, mindfulness and creativity, and she is fired up by the vision that, in the face of a failing healthcare system (as seen through the exhausted eyes of an ER physician), there has to be a better way to engage people, especially women through building community into their lives. And community is a place of shared struggles and triumphs, and laughter.
Tara's magazine-style website Women's Wellness and Health is currently her signature site, and is the launch pad for future websites that will focus on art, and services she plans to offer clients. She maintains a very active social media profile on Facebook and Twitter -- an excellent move to begin building an following for her future businesses.
Listen to Tara tell her story about her journey into becoming a physician entrepreneur and then join us back at The Entrepreneurial MD to add your comments or thoughts.
Wed, 28 August 2013
This is a first for me – the chance to interview an entrepreneurial physician married couple in which each of the partners brought different and complementary skills to the table to build a healthcare technology business together.
Drs. Manju and Gopal Chopra teamed up several years ago to bring to market a HIPAA-compliant secure communication platform (it's actually a smart phone or tablet app) called PingMD, that enables patients and families to rapidly communicate with their healthcare providers instead of being placed in an endless phone tag loop. In addition, healthcare providers can use the app to be in instant contact with one another via text messaging, for those invaluable curbside consults or referrals that result in enhanced patient care.
Dr. Manju Chopra is not only an entrepreneurial physician, but also continues to practice as a pediatrician focused on improving access and care for her patients and families. It was her frustrations inmedical practice that provided the germ of their business idea.
Her husband, Dr. Gopal Chopra, on the other hand, is a seasoned physician entrepreneur with an impressive history in investment banking, medical technology and business development. In addition, he owns several patents for inventions.
Listen to the story, along with the challenges, of how the Chopras ended up being in business together, while maintaining a marriage, a practice and their roles as parents.
And then do rejoin us at The Entrepreneurial MD to share your comments or questions.
Tue, 9 July 2013
A rare breast lymphoma showing up at age 13 has to be one of life's bigger lemons. Newly minted physician entrepreneur and business owner Sharon McLaughlin MD had to cope with cancer treatment including radiation to her breast and chest wall as she was entering adolescence, followed years later in her early 30s by an elective double mastectomy.
Frustrated over the years by the lack of comfortable yet feminine and even sexy clothing and underwear, this plastic surgeon, who has had experience firsthand and through her patients, decided to step back from her clinical practice and devote time to developing a line of clothing to please cancer and mastectomy women patients ... and their significant others.
In a candid interview (listen here), Sharon shares her very personal story and why she has chosen now to change her career direction and go into business as a cosmetic surgeon and clothing retailer as the proud owner of Courage Couture!
And then please rejoin us at The Entrepreneurial MD to add your comments and thoughts.
Mon, 20 May 2013
Dr. Richard (Rich) Sagall is a very busy physician entrepreneur these days. As co-founder and president of the 501(c)(3) non-profit NeedyMeds, he is reaping the rewards of having pursued his passion -- helping those whose circumstances make receiving affordable healthcare treatments and services a significant challenge.
Over 25 years ago, Rich began his clinical life as a family physician in practice and went on to work in occupational medicine, before ultimately moving full-time into his own non-profit start-up.
On the advice of his father, he wisely looked ahead while still practicing clinical medicine, and anticipated the day when providing care one-on-one to patients would no longer satisfy his sense of purpose. He began to acquire multiple ancillary skills, including computer programming and comptency with the Internet.
A chance conversation with a medical social worker colleague, Libby Overly, provided his next opportunity and NeedyMeds was born in 1997.
NeedyMeds started life almost as a hobby and has evolved to the point that it was named one of theTop 50 Non-Profit Best Places to Work in 2013, alongside such luminaries as the American Heart Association, the Alzheimer's Association and The LIVESTRONG Foundation. Its statement is as follows:
Listen to my conversation with Trailblazer Rich Sagall MD of NeedyMeds and then rejoin The Entrepreneurial MD to add your thoughts.
Wed, 17 October 2012
Dr James Bernstein is a man of many careers and talents.
Starting out as a newly minted internist and then surgeon, he was invited to work in Dr Jonas Salk's lab. With a bit more time on his hands (no night or weekend call!), he reflected on what he really wanted to accomplish with his life. His chief insight at the time was that, as a practicing physician he could impact several lives, one at a time. But, inspired by role models like Dr Salk, he quickly recognized that his desire to make a real difference to many more people could only be realized using leverage as a businessman. Finding ways to funnel his medical training and experience into businesses that made things and delivered services to hundreds if not thousands!
From there evolved his career as a serial entrepreneur - and his philosophy of social business that has increasingly sought to improve the quality of life for millions of impoverished people in the world.
Listen to his inspiring story and shared wisdom in our informal conversation. Please then rejoin us on The Entrepreneurial MD Blog to add your comments.
His email address if you would like to contact him is James.Bernstein@EniwareSterile.com and you can join his Global Ambassador Corps here.
Sat, 26 May 2012
Most physicians graduate medical school, or later from our residencies, our heads and hearts filled with idealistic aspirations. We carry internal visions of what we hope to do with this hard-earned degree ... make a difference, do special work, earn the respect of our colleagues and love of our grateful patients...
What we didn't expect was how hard it would be to face the realities of starting a practice, developing our own following of patients or physician referrals, and making a living.
This shock was no different for Jeffrey Hartog MD - a South-African born plastic surgeon who started his career training as a dentist (we discovered we were classmates in South Africa for the one year that dentists and medical students trained together!) and went on to retrain several times as a maxillofacial and then plastic surgeon. His dream - to become a highly specialized pediatric cranio-facial expert.
Instead, he faced the reality of needing to support a growing family and setting his sights on new and different goals.
To indulge his entrepeneurial spirit, he built his own surgical clinic. To appease his restless spirit, he began several years ago to explore the newly-developing field of fat-grafting, resulting in the development of his own FDA-registered fat back, which he describes as follows:
In this 18-minute podcast interview, I explore with Jeff the challenges and opportunities that being an entrepreneurial physician has dished up.
When you are done listening, please return to The Entrepreneurial MD Blog to add your thoughts or comments.
Tue, 8 May 2012
How many steps does it take you to reach your referring physician colleague to give feedback regarding your recent consultation with his or her patient? Do you have to dictate a letter that must get into the hands of the physician? Must you have your staff get him or her on the phone?
What is involved in finding an expert who can quickly answer your pressing clinical question while the patient is still in your office? How do you find that expert, and then actually reach him or her?
And, most importantly, how much productive time are these activities costing you each week or a month, as a result of this effort?
Jeff Tangney is out to transform your experience and return hours of time to you, using the connective power of technology.
As a co-founder of Epocrates, he saw firsthand what having "power in your pocket" looks like - instantly available information that a physician can look up in a moment, to ensure the best care.
This got him wondering about the other transformative powers of mobile technology.
What if you were able to access the intelligence and years of experience of a group of physicians, with a few taps on your mobile?
How would physicians be able to use mobile technology to collaborate? And what was needed to rapidly connect with a referring physician or specialist to who you'd like to refer a patient, or get a quick curbside consultation?
To respond to this perceived need, Jeff Tangney founded Doximity, one of the fastest growing physician networks. Not only is the company thriving, but Jeff has a vision of how networks like his can help sustain the professional freedom that we physicians have come to appreciate and value as necessary to provide the best patient care possible, despite the increasing "corporatization" of medical practice.
When you have finished listening to this interview podcast, come back to The Entrepreneurial MD to add your thoughts or questions
Mon, 12 March 2012
I confess that I have long fantasized about writing a book, along with learning Italian and learning to play the piano, or reconnecting with my adolescent guitar-playing self ... for now the fantasies have to remain just that. I guess this blog is my creative outlet for the near future!
But for those of you for whom writing a book is a pressing or deeply engaging matter, the news is good. Help is at hand.
My "Insights from the Professionals" conversation today is withLisa Tener, a book writing coach, published author, blogger and speaker who is passionate about helping aspiring authors get their message out by helping them write a book and get published.
Not only does she have her own company, but she also serves on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School continuing education course of writing and publishing books.
Lisa is a whiz at what she does - she has helped several of my clients figure out how to express themselves and their expertise or ideas through the written word, and we talk about some of her book-writing success strategies, such as:
... how to overcome those blocks to getting started
Lisa is about to launch yet another of her excellent Bring Your Book to Life programs ... designed to walk you through the process of getting your first draft written by the end of the program. It is the one that several of my clients have participated in and used to get their books written and comes highly recommended by them.
Note: She has generously offered a 40% discount for my readers for the class if using the paid in full option, using the coupon code "SAVE40". This is only available until 3/20/2012 so act quickly if you want a considerable savings.
Listen to my conversation with Lisa and then return to The Entrepreneurial MD Blog to add your comments or questions.