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Are Those in Certain Medical Specialties More Entrepreneurial Than Others?

By Arien Meyers, MD, MBA

Some people think that certain specialties, like emergency medicine, orthopedics, or ophthalmology, are more entrepreneurial than others. Of course, it depends on how you define entrepreneurship: number of patents, value of spin-out companies created, valuations, or funding raised? My definition of entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity with uncontrolled resources with the goal of creating user-defined value through the deployment of innovation. The myth is that it means creating a business or how much money you made.

Given that, I don’t think a hospitalist, for example, is any more or less entrepreneurial than other medical colleagues. Few docs have an entrepreneurial mindset, in large part because is not the thing admissions committees look for. However, there are some things to consider when selecting a specialty and you intend to pursue biomedical and health entrepreneurship:

1. The amount of time you intend to practice clinical medicine. I believe clinical half-lives are shortening. 40-year-olds are looking for Plan B.

2. Time to pursue other entrepreneurial interests, e.g. on call responsibilities, work schedules, part-time opportunities, etc.

3. Your financial and personal situation. How long will it take you to pay off all of those debts and no longer postpone having a family or buying a house?

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