6 minutes

What makes clinicians best placed to be successful entrepreneurs

Clinicians, with their deep understanding of healthcare systems and patient needs, are uniquely positioned to lead innovation in the healthcare sector, particularly in Australia's rich landscape of healthcare excellence and technological innovation. This article outlines the key reasons why clinicians are not just participants, but pivotal leaders in healthcare entrepreneurship, driven by their intrinsic understanding of healthcare ecosystems, trust and credibility, patient-centric approaches, multidisciplinary collaboration, and resilience.
What makes clinicians best placed to be successful entrepreneurs
Written by
Peter Birch
Published on
May 14, 2024

In the ever evolving landscape of healthcare, the need for a strong understanding of the problems to be solved has never been more important. 

Australia, with its rich tradition of healthcare excellence and technological innovation, is well positioned to address these challenges, and the clinicians who feel the problems firsthand are the ones who will drive this change. 

The frontline of healthcare - Medical Doctors, Nurses, Allied Health Practitioners and others - are not just participants in this journey, but pivotal leaders in the healthcare entrepreneurship arena. 

Here are the top five reasons why clinicians have an unparalleled advantage in creating and leading the next generation of innovative solutions in health.

1. Intrinsic Understanding of Healthcare Ecosystems

Clinicians spend years navigating the intricate corridors of healthcare systems, gaining a deep understanding of patient needs, workflow challenges, and the clinical impact of technological solutions. This insider knowledge gives them the unique ability to identify gaps in the market that are invisible to outsiders. They can conceptualise solutions that are not only innovative but also practical, feasible, and directly address the pain points of end-users. In Australia's healthcare environment, this means developing solutions that are deeply rooted in the real-world application, enhancing both patient outcomes and healthcare delivery efficiency.

One example is AUSCEP Participant Whitney Luxford from Fit 2 Fly.  Her innovative work in aviation health strategy is a great example of a clinician turning firsthand challenges into actionable solutions. Her initiative to streamline airline medical clearance processes stems from her extensive experience and a deep desire to enhance health and well-being in the aviation industry. Attending the series of immersive pitstops offered by AUSCEP helped Whitney on her journey, serving as inspiration and practical advancement to further broaden her understanding of where her innovation fits into the broader healthcare ecosystem. These full-day, in-person events across major Australian cities provided her with a unique opportunity to dive deep into the intricacies of healthcare innovation, from conceptualisation to execution. 

2. Trust and Credibility

Trust is a cornerstone in healthcare. Clinician entrepreneurs inherently possess a level of trust and credibility within the healthcare community, as they are the ones delivering care to patients.  This rapport facilitates smoother introductions of new technologies into sensitive healthcare environments, and their endorsement of a healthcare product or service carries significant weight, often seen as a badge of reliability and effectiveness. This aspect is crucial in a market like Australia's, where healthcare professionals and patients alike value the opinion of practising clinicians highly.

Take for example AUSCEP participant Justin Moore, who is tackling systemic healthcare problems through technology and the company Coherence Health.  They create solutions for medication adherence, integrating AI and Blockchain into patient care, which are new and emerging technologies, requiring trust and credibility to be implemented successfully.  In an area like medication adherence, the patients also need to trust their clinician to keep them informed when they forget to take their medication, as many patients won’t share this information unless they have a good relationship.  The networking opportunities and personalised mentoring through AUSCEP helped Justin position his healthcare innovation in a way that has the best chance of success with patients.  This supportive ecosystem has allowed Justin to refine his technological solutions, ensuring they are not only innovative but also practical and aligned with patient needs. 

3. A Patient-Centric Approach

At the heart of clinician-led innovation is a relentless focus on patient welfare and outcomes. Clinicians are trained to put patients first and do no harm, an ethos that naturally extends to their entrepreneurial ventures. This patient-centric approach ensures that healthcare innovations are not just technologically advanced but are also designed with empathy, enhancing patient engagement, satisfaction, and ultimately, health outcomes. This philosophy also aligns with the values of the Australian healthcare system, which is deeply rooted in patient welfare and equitable access to healthcare, particularly in rural and remote communities.

4. Multidisciplinary Collaboration

Healthcare is a team sport, and clinicians are working within multidisciplinary teams to deliver patient care. This experience makes them adept at navigating the complex collaborations necessary for successful healthcare technology innovation. With the right support and guidance, they can effectively communicate with engineers, data scientists, and business professionals, bridging the gap between technical possibilities and clinical needs. In Australia's collaborative health tech ecosystem, clinician entrepreneurs are in a prime position to lead team that can innovate at the intersection of technology, healthcare, and business.

5. Resilience and Adaptability

The path of innovation is fraught with challenges and setbacks. Clinicians, through their training and practice, develop a resilience and adaptability that is invaluable in the unpredictable world of startups. They are accustomed to making high-stakes decisions in uncertain environments, a skill that translates well to navigating the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. This resilience enables clinician-led startups to pivot, adapt, and thrive amidst challenges.

AUSCEP participant Amy Wallis who is dedicated to improving the lives of cancer survivors through digital solutions is a practical example of this. Her work with Selsus is driven by a deep understanding of the challenges faced by cancer survivors, coupled with a commitment to research and clinical excellence. AUSCEP's comprehensive webinar series has been a key resource for Amy, offering her insights into a range of topics crucial for healthcare entrepreneurs, from digital health solutions to data security and venture capital. This access to industry leading knowledge and expertise has enabled Amy to enhance her digital solutions, making them more aligned with the needs of her target audience. 

Moving Forward Together

The fusion of clinical insight and entrepreneurial ambition holds the key to unlocking the next wave of innovation in the Australian healthcare system. Clinicians, with their deep healthcare system understanding, credibility, patient-centric focus, collaborative spirit, and resilience, are uniquely equipped to lead this charge. Their ventures are not just side hustles or businesses, but missions to enhance healthcare delivery and patient care. As Australia continues to advance on its health tech journey, clinician-led innovations will undoubtedly play a critical role in shaping a future where technology and healthcare are seamlessly integrated, resulting in better patient outcomes and improved system efficiencies.

Australian Clinical Entrepreneur Program (AUSCEP)

The Australian Clinical Entrepreneur Program (AUSCEP), is an industry-leading innovation program designed to advance clinician-led transformation across Australia's healthcare workforce.  It is a program led by clinical entrepreneurs, for clinical entrepreneurs.  

By providing access to a wealth of resources, mentorship opportunities, and a supportive community of like-minded professionals, AUSCEP is helping to pave the way for the next generation of clinician innovators. To learn more about the impact of AUSCEP, visit www.auscep.com.au

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