Entrepreneurial physicians seek to innovate in medicine

Many physicians become innovators and entrepreneurs by finding unique ways to solve problems that cannot be solved in traditional ways.

Doctors are many things: diagnosticians, healers, health advisers and more. But many also become innovators and entrepreneurs by finding unique ways to solve problems that cannot be solved in traditional ways.

Large health systems may have the financial resources to see more patients, but the doctors who work there, like those who don’t, also feel frustrated with administrative burdens, the inability to spend quality time with patients, burnout and gaps in care. We spoke with four doctors who decided not to seek an answer outside of themselves, but rather tackle the problem by starting a business.

find the answer themselves

Luisa Duran, MD, is a board-certified endocrinologist and co-founder of Pink Coat, MD, a virtual community for female physicians that provides members with access to professional resources and peer support throughout the year. After several years of clinical practice, Duran began to experience the loneliness, isolation, and emotional exhaustion that she felt was associated with being the only female physician in her clinic. At the time, she didn’t recognize her feelings as symptoms of burnout, but now she knows better.

“Today, I understand that female physicians are at high risk of burnout, dying by suicide, and quitting medicine far too soon. They have a 60% higher risk than women in the general population. I didn’t want to become one of those stats, so I teamed up with my friend from Brown Medical School, Dr. Tammie Chang, to create Pink Coat, MD.

According to Duran, the healthcare landscape has become so “vast, impersonal and complicated” that “when I looked for the solution, it didn’t exist…I had to create it”.

Although she still has a full-time practice, Duran has benefited from the work she and others have done at Pink Coat, which she considers “a necessary resource that complements my clinical practice and helps me see a long-term future for patient care. It’s true that she may spend her “evenings and weekends working on Pink Coat, MD,” but that’s because “it’s fun…it doesn’t really feel like work.”

Reduce patient load

Before Amy Loden, MD, launched her lifestyle coaching business, Vitality medical advice and well-being, she worked in a healthcare system with a panel of nearly 3,000 patients, which eventually became unsustainable. “The biggest factor that made me leave…was that I wasn’t providing good care because I only had 10 minutes per patient,” she explained.

Working this way, raising children and focusing on her marriage was becoming too much for her health. “I really felt like a hypocrite, telling people all day what to change when I wasn’t doing those things.”

Loden, who is certified in internal medicine and lifestyle, decided to open a concierge practice with a focus on health coaching to improve patient health on a deeper level. She has received two certifications, from the Duke Medical Center for Integrative Health and the National Society for Health Coaching.

Today, she helps people understand the “why and…how” of their health. Women with preeclampsia during pregnancy may seek his support because they don’t want heart disease later in life, or if someone with insulin resistance wants to stave off diabetes.

“There is data that shows people who use health coaches have better long-term outcomes for a variety of chronic conditions,” Loden said, and she “wanted to find a way to treat the disease that was innovative and beyond- beyond what others do”. As a coach, she can “really dig in and ask what’s unique about your situation to keep those changes going.”

Now that his panel is a fraction of what it used to be, around 300 patients, Loden can spend a lot more time with each of them. She also offers health coaching programs for community members, online group classes that help people improve their health over the course of eight weeks.

And she coaches other physicians to help them identify what they want from their careers.

Vitality Medical and Wellness Consulting opened in June 2021 and within nine months there was a waiting list. So not only was the effort personally fulfilling, but it was also a financially sound proposition.

To other doctors who might consider such a leap, she says, “Just take the leap. You cannot prepare yourself enough; just get started and learn. However, she suggests partnering with at least one other doctor or healthcare professional. “You can do it solo, but you don’t have to.”

When staff becomes professional

Sonal Patel, MD, a pediatrician and former neonatologist, identified a significant gap in postpartum care after she herself gave birth to four children and suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety. Rather than just being disappointed, she decided to do something about it.

She quit her job at a NICU and opened NayaCare, a home care business for mothers. “The maternal mortality rate in the United States is the worst among developed countries. If you look at other countries, like Norway and Sweden, you see that they do better because they offer home visits during the postpartum period.

Patel found that two-thirds of women who die after giving birth do so within a month of giving birth, although most don’t see an OBGYN until about six weeks after giving birth.

To her surprise, the pandemic helped her business thrive, as many new mothers didn’t want to risk going to hospitals or health clinics and were happy to see her coming. “It’s a new concept, a new way of thinking about health care,” she says. “It’s valuing women’s rights.”

Additionally, Patel can see patients longer, reducing the exhaustion she experienced in the NICU. “We have created a medical system that promotes burnout. There’s all the time you spend billing and coding, and you can’t spend enough time with your patients. Now it’s such a privilege to be invited to my patients, where I can spend 60 minutes with them.

Patel sees between eight and 10 families every two weeks and accepts Medicaid in order to be accessible to women of all income levels. The average tour costs between $250 and $300, but it can be more if driving a long distance. She also offers packages that include four visits and unlimited support and lab tests for babies. “I don’t like hidden fees,” she says. “Here is the flat rate, let’s be open and honest.” Additionally, she has a sliding scale for women who are not on Medicaid but need financial support.

To other doctors considering a similar step, especially a mission-driven step, she says it’s worth it. “You start to realize the value you bring, and you don’t feel down. I like my job now.

She believes that being an entrepreneur opens up many opportunities and that taking it step by step is the key to success. “You just have to set small goals and, when you reach them, celebrate the milestones,” Patel said.

Go virtual

The pandemic has caused many physicians to reassess the way they work, and Elham Raker, MD, pediatrician, parenting coach, and owner of Root to Bloom Pediatrics, was no exception. Feeling pressed for time with patients and wanting to spend more time with her own family, Raker took a leap of faith and opened a telemedicine and coaching practice that allowed her to offer acute care (drug prescription). antibiotics, diagnosing a rash) and coaching parents on their relationship with their children.

“It’s about how to be the parent you want to be and how to connect with your child. It’s more about fixing yourself, as opposed to changing your child’s behavior. »

The result? She has more flexibility and therefore more time for her children and more satisfaction in being able to do things her way. “In large institutions, you are just a cog in a wheel. It’s very difficult to have worked so hard for so many years and then you’re not really appreciated.

For her, entrepreneurship is more fulfilling and increasingly profitable financially.

She urges physicians interested in an entrepreneurial option to take advantage of the many resources available online.

“Just start slow, so you always have a stable income. And scale back your work as your other business grows,” she recommends. “As doctors, we really want to help people, and sometimes that means sacrificing ourselves and our income. In entrepreneurship, what I’ve heard from mentors is that you serve and you win. ”

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