Monday, February 13, 2017

HSCI Interview with Dr. Arlen Meyers of SoPE: Episode 5

SoPE

Today’s show features an interview with Dr. Arlen Meyers, the president and co-founder of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, or SoPE.  Lance King, of Healthcare Compliance Solutions Inc. conducted the interview.

Dr. Arlen Meyers, An Introduction

Dr. Arlen Meyers was raised in Philadelphia.  He moved to Colorado in 1976 to attend the University of Colorado and has lived there since.  Dr. Meyers practiced Ear, Nose, and Throat medicine for 40 years.  He started SoPE because he was frustrated with the process of commercializing a
device/process that could optically detect cancer cells.  He realized that other people were probably having similar struggles and so he, along with some colleagues, started SoPE as a way for entrepreneurial-minded physicians and healthcare providers to connect and collaborate.  Dr. Meyers credits a lot of his entrepreneurial spirit to watching and working with his pharmacist father. He learned of and found a love for commercial healthcare at his father’s drugstore, where he worked from the time he was eight or ten years old.

Challenges Faced

Dr. Meyers says that although physicians have always been entrepreneurs, having an entrepreneurial mindset and formally packaging oneself as a physician entrepreneur is a fairly new idea in healthcare.  He defines a Physician Entrepreneurship as the pursuit of opportunities with scarce resources, the goal of which is to create user defined value with the deployment of innovation.  When he first began SoPE, Dr. Meyers’ message fell on deaf ears, essentially because doctors didn’t need to focus on being innovation-minded. They could graduate in the middle of their class, set up a practice, and make more money than most people in the country.  Recently, healthcare providers have realized they need to step-up their game if they’re going to compete in today’s market.
Dr. Meyers says that although it’s more important now to have an entrepreneurial mindset, his greatest challenge still is finding people who have that trait.  He said doctors and healthcare providers need to create opportunities out of challenges and they need to be creative. One of the reasons those people are hard to find is that doctors need to be very good at taking tests and memorizing facts to be at the top of their class. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always translate into creativity; in fact, innovation gets punished in some ways. Dr. Meyers asserts that the industry conveys the message, “We want you to be innovative, but we don’t want to hear about it.”  The Society of Physician Entrepreneurs is a group of people who want to hear about innovations.

Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, or SoPE

The Society of Physician Entrepreneurs is a good fit for healthcare providers who are fed up with certain processes, devices, situations, et cetera and who are able to see innovative ways to fix or improve those things.  It is also a good fit for people who are looking for a different role in the healthcare industry.  Dr. Meyers asserts that creating a process or gadget that delivers value to thousands of patients is just as valuable, if not more valuable, as a physician who sees 40 patients a day for 40 years.
The goal of SoPE is to bring together like-minded people who have ideas on how to deliver value to patients.  The SoPE will help members get ideas to commercialization by providing members with education, resources, networks, mentors, and experiential learning through chapter networks.   Dr. Meyers says that the SoPE is “preaching the gospel of innovation” and the society would welcome anyone who is entrepreneurial-minded to become a ‘disciple.’
It costs $75 per year to be a member of SoPE.  The SoPE provides a chance for physicians, researchers, marketers, patients, attorneys, and anyone else who wishes to provide value to patients through innovation to connect in monthly meetings.  Additionally, the SoPE provides other connection opportunities multiple times a year through virtual meetings with organizations that have similar or compatible missions.  The SoPE is a virtual organization; it has a Board of Directors, Chapter Leaders, and Members. It is completely voluntary and not-for-profit.  Local chapters are led by physicians, but anyone may be a member.  The only thing that matters to the SoPE is the answer to the following question, “How can you deliver value to patients through innovation?”  Anyone who has a good answer to that question is invited to join.

More Information; How to Join

To learn more about SoPE, or to join, please visit www.sopenet.org and look for local chapters.  If there is not a chapter nearby, any innovation-minded physician is welcome to start one in his/her area.  Dr. Meyers has found that the chapters in smaller cities have had great success because of less competition for the same resources.  He says that when chapters hold meetings and connect, things happen.

Final Advice

Dr. Meyers has two final pieces of advice.  First, don’t take advice!  Second, don’t point the finger; jerk the thumb—meaning, cultivate the inner-entrepreneur.  Decide for yourself what you want to accomplish.  Ask yourself if you have a risk-tolerant personality.  Look at your blind spots.  If you’re an employee, find a culture that will allow your entrepreneurial spirit thrive.  If you’re a business owner, create the kind of culture that builds on innovation.

Show sponsored by Healthcare Compliance Solutions.  Please visit our website at www.hcsiinc.com

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