The basic premise of any medical company is to solve a clinical need in the most efficient manner. To whom shall we turn to for the most in-depth view of these needs? The physician. No singular entity in this ecosystem knows more about current clinical needs than the clinician herself. On countless occasions I have consulted for companies working on projects in surgery, oncology, neuroimaging and more, only to find that the entire company consists of everything but a physician.
Perplexing, yes. Damning, yes. Ignorant, double yes.
It is is an absolute fact that the best profession for medical innovation is the MD. They are mindful of what is missing, what works in the system, what is inefficient, and perhaps how to fix it. They should be the quarterback of any successful healthcare innovation company. Regardless of how many engineers your company hires, the training an MD receives far surpasses the abilities of those said individuals in defining the landscape your company aims to refine. The best medical innovation companies have clinicians on staff ( not as investors, not as board members, but as actual employees).
Physicians enter medicine to alleviate the pain and suffering of the sick ( or at least, that’s what we hope for). Thus, it makes sense that graduates from 1960-1991 strayed from working in industry. Yet, the new generation of physicians is not only exposed to advancements in tech and engineering, but they may also understand it well enough to utilize it to better the system they find themselves serving. These medical doctors can do our sector a great good by joining us on a mission, which should also be aimed at alleviating human suffering brought about by sickness. We aim to improve their service, yet are we arrogant enough to think we can actually cause effectual change without their consistent input?
As to why physicians aren’t more involved in shaping the architecture of the healthcare industry, the reasons are many, yet not insurmountable. Those factors will be explored in subsequent posts.