Physician Intrapreneurial Success Factors

Physician intrapreneurs are employed doctors trying to act like entrepreneurs in their organizations. Like all other entrepreneurs, their goal is to create user defined value through the deployment of innovation.

Physician intrapreneurs are employed doctors trying to act like entrepreneurs in their organizations. Like all other entrepreneurs, their goal is to create user defined value through the deployment of innovation. They typically work in three environments: private, public, or academic. Funding and staffing of these health service organizations vary around the world, being some combination of public single payers, private insurance or patient cash pay systems.

Intrapreneurship is harder than entrepreneurship and requires some unique survival skills.

While there are many similarities between the three environments, there are significant differences that determine success or failure of international physician intrapreneurs.

1. Incentives. For many, there is little or no incentive to innovate. In some international systems, the idea is to get a public service job with the job security, workers rights and benefits that come with it.

2. Infrastructure. Lack of up to date equipment, information systems and technology discourages physicians from taking jobs in places where they feel isolated, out of touch and frustrated.

3. Leadership. When leadership does things more for profit than patients, physician intrapreneurs can see it clearly and will find another place to work

4. Mission and values. Some healthcare systems are more political instruments than sick care delivery vehicles.

5. Culture. In many places, innovating is "just not how we do things around here." Engagement is often low.

6. Policies and procedures. Intellectual property rights, regulatory approval rules, technology transfer office interaction and corporate or university rules frequently frustrate physician entrepreneurs

7. Connectedness. Physicians are notoriously inward thinking. They do not have robust external networks, particularly to those outside of medicine. They do not see themselves or their organizations as part of the global economy.

8. Innovation leadership systems. Most hospitals have little or no innovation leadership systems that are transparent, fair and productive

9. Risk profiles. Physician intrapreneurs have a hard time reconciling the ethos, culture and ethics of medicine e.g. don't take risks with that of the business of medicine.

10. Staff entrepreneurial mindsets. Innovation starts with an entrepreneurial mindset and few doctors have it.

In the US, as the number of employed physicians continues to climb, employers are looking for physician intrapreneurs. However, once they hire them, unless employers address the challenged listed above, physician intrapreneurs will be called something else...ex-employees.