Other reasons for this lower rate could include culture, professional values, peer influence (physicians may be likelier to pursue opening a business if their colleagues are as well), and market opportunities, he added. Radiology notched lower odds of entrepreneurship in domains including clinical practice (odds ratio of 0.598), public interest (0.308), biotechnology (0.475) and medical business (0.449). Across the study’s entire physician sample, 66% of doc startups operated in clinical practice, real estate or practice management. Another 7.4% were in public interest (i.e., advocacy or philanthropy), while 18.5% were labeled as “other business pursuits.”
All told, among Massachusetts physicians who founded at least one company between 1960 and 2017, 4.3% were radiologists. Rads dabbled in a wide variety of interests, according to Greenblatt. Many related to medicine, such as augmented reality to facilitate surgery, interventional radiology catheters, an app to deliver imaging educational materials, and enterprise software for pathology labs. Meanwhile, other rad-led ventures had little to do with the specialty, ranging from advocacy groups for same-sex couples to a yoga studio, selling athletic gear or even operating a bakery.
While some may assume that physician entrepreneurs are mostly young, Greenblatt pegged the average age at about 46. He speculated that this was likely because seasoned docs have more clinical experience, professional contacts, access to capital and managerial experience. One key takeaway from the analysis, he added, is that entrepreneurship can be taught, and radiology leaders should work to cultivate this mindset and culture among their peers.
“Medicine is a fantastic platform to pursue entrepreneurship,” he told Radiology Business. “Physicians have deep expertise which can inform their work, and successful healthcare startups can go on to make a real difference in the lives of our patients. Given that many innovation-driven startups ultimately fail, the relative job security and flexibility of medicine offers a great platform to help manage the risks of experimenting with entrepreneurship,” he added.