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Defining entrepreneurship within healthcare
Accelerating change, increasing complexity and the need to control costs are the operative terms driving the healthcare environment today, with the goals of improving metrics in both healthcare and patient health. Yet, physicians are not educated to understand the concepts nor trained to practice the necessary skills to carry out activities directed towards these goals.1 Thus, Myers and Pronovost have proposed making management skills core components of medical education.2 These include the management domain skill sets that concern individual and interpersonal dynamics, team and unit dynamics, and organisational dynamics that would have the potential to enhance interactions at all management levels, not only senior management. These ‘soft’ skills can contribute to quality improvement, that is, incremental improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of processes throughout healthcare. However, these skills alone do not address the further critical need for innovation in those processes. The discipline of entrepreneurship, as it bridges the broad complementary disciplines of management and leadership, can make a meaningful contribution to this discussion.
In the first landscape review and thematic analysis of innovation and entrepreneurship programmes in medical education in the USA, Niccum and colleagues identified 13 programmes that provide training in these disciplines.3 They identify seven educational themes, the top two of which, innovation (92%) and entrepreneurship (85%), show the gaining relevance of these disciplines to medical education and to the future careers of medical professionals who will benefit from skill sets that address complex problem solving and solution design.
Defined broadly, entrepreneurship is the ‘pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled’,4 (box 1) embodying a singular focus to bring forth innovation5 (box 1) in any form, for example, in pioneering new technology that improves an existing process while counteracting resource constraints. Within the healthcare sector, entrepreneurship has taken the form of design …
Correction notice This article has been corrected since it published Online First. The authors noticed miscellaneous errors which have been rectified now.
Contributors PB planned the manuscript with AB, wrote the opening of manuscript, contributed text associated with the figure, contributed to and approved all draft and final revisions and is the guarantor. DL conducted the reference review, wrote summaries of references, prepared the Definitions Box and Reference section, and contributed to and approved all draft and final revisions. AB planned the manuscript with PB, wrote the conclusion of manuscript, prepared the figure, participated in review and revision of drafts, and contrtibuted to and approved all draft and final revisions.
Funding This project was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health (Award No TL1TR001062).
Competing interests PB retired from Genzyme/Sanofi in April 2017, and is presently Director of the MD/MBA Program and Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine in Tufts University School of Medicine. AB is a full-time entrepreneur in the area of generic oncology drugs, and adjunct lecturer in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine in Tufts University School of Medicine. DL is an MD/MBA candidate (Class of 2019) in Tufts University School of Medicine. The authors do not have any other financial interests that could create a potential conflict of interest or the appearance of one regarding this work.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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