Bringing Innovative Concepts to Reality: Entrepreneurship

By Luis G. Pareras, MD, PhD
June 30, 2022

Healthcare professionals constantly see opportunities for innovation in treatments, processes, and applications. Translating those ideas into workable solutions requires a level of entrepreneurship that is often foreign to physicians and other healthcare professionals. There are minefields in this journey. Luis Pareras MD, PhD, provides insight for bringing concepts to reality, including, among others: validation of the idea, assessment of the market, patenting, and the intricacies of obtaining venture capital.

 

 

Healthcare professionals constantly see opportunities for innovation in treatments, processes, and applications. Translating those ideas into workable solutions requires a level of entrepreneurship that is often foreign to physicians and other healthcare professionals. There are minefields in this journey. Luis Pareras MD, PhD, provides insight for bringing concepts to reality, including, among others: validation of the idea, assessment of the market, patenting, and the intricacies of obtaining venture capital.

When physicians and healthcare professionals have ideas for new businesses, innovations, devices, how do you work with them on their concepts?

It is always interesting to hear new ideas from health professionals and try to help them in their attempts to move forward and to secure funding. To innovate and engage in the health sector, it is necessary to know the process from the inception of an idea to when it reaches the market — “the history of an idea.” Physicians also need to know how to differentiate a “good idea” from a “good opportunity.”

This is an important point, differentiating a “good idea” from a “good opportunity.” Can you expand on that?

It can be complicated, and it does take time and analysis. The physician needs to know where these ideas come from and to understand basic concepts regarding innovation and entrepreneurship. In understanding whether an idea is an opportunity, in addition to a good idea, understand its potential, protect it in terms of intellectual property, and prepare a business plan, a sort of “road map” to guide the physician through the process of the undertaking.

In your experience, in what areas of this process do physicians need help?

Physicians are educated and we adapt easily to new processes; we are trained in this manner. In innovation and entrepreneurship, one needs to get comfortable with the “rules of the game” of the health sector. This includes in what areas it is possible to innovate, who the “actors” are who are involved in the sector, and how they relate to one another.

What happens once the physician or healthcare executive decides to move forward with an idea?

Once these first steps have been completed, we reach the turning point in which the health professional must decide what to do with his or her idea.

  • Sell it to a third party?

  • License it to retain property rights?

  • Find a partner with whom to bring it to market?
  • Launch a “start-up,” a new company of one’s own?


If one decides to go ahead with the idea, it will be necessary to find a team to carry it out and to look for funding — public or private — to achieve success.

Any additional ideas related to this process?

Finally, throughout the entire process, it will be necessary to develop some basic skills, learning a language different from that which you’re accustomed to, gaining knowledge regarding strategy, negotiation, communication, and other disciplines useful not only for innovation, but also to better understand this environment.

 

Adapted from Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Healthcare Sector: From Idea to Funding to Launch by Luis Pareras, MD, PhD.

 

 

 

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