What Is An “Entrepreneurial” Medical School?

Entrepreneurial Medicine

More than just an intriguing concept in medical education, entrepreneurial medical school has the potential to both revolutionize the physicians’ journey and improve value for patients.

According to a recently published article by Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA, the goal of these entrepreneurial medical schools is to graduate students who can create a viable and sustainable business.

“For medical schools and graduate training programs, the goal should be to graduate students with an entrepreneurial mindset who can create user-defined value in whatever form they decide to do it, including starting or running a business with a viable business model.” explains Myers.

Myers contends that though medical schools are guiding students into the realm of creating a viable and sustainable business model, they only use one way to deliver user-defined value, which limits the scope of entrepreneurial education and training.

Stanford, MIT, and Harvard headline Reuters’ Top 100 Most Innovative Universities Across the Globe, and they too, are beginning to realize the magnitude of such a shift in medical school culture. For example, in 2004 a group of Stanford faculty members, including David Kelley, a mechanical engineering professor and founder of IDEO, started the university’s d.school, whose primary responsibility is to “help prepare a generation of students to rise with the challenges of our times”.

“Stanford can be known as a place where students are trained to be creative.” Kelley told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2010.

Broadening the educational training to entail an entrepreneurial emphasis could play a big role in addressing the business-related problems many doctors face after graduating, which can wreak havoc on a graduate’s ambition.

“The fact that doctors don’t know how to deliver value is part of the reason it is so hard to kill fee for service medicine.” added Meyers.

Imagine a world where doctors graduate ready to explode onto the scene and make significant impacts in both patient fees and improved health outcomes. Whether it be innovations that improve the process, enhance the user-experience, or a game-changing analytics tool, there is a lot more to the entrepreneurial “pie” than simply knowing how to write a viable business plan.

“Entrepreneurial universities and medical schools should not just be about graduating students who will create businesses. Instead, every graduate should be trained to create user-defined value.” says Myers.

There are many reasons to speculate as to why the entrepreneurial shift has been slow to pick up speed, but one thing is for sure – the top innovative universities are starting to catch on to the fact that the future of medical education may include a higher dose of entrepreneurial training to improve health outcomes.

Joseph Bryant
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