Sunday, November 6, 2011

Taking Risks: Entrepreneurship

While attending BlogWorld Expo in LA this week, I have been busy speaking but mainly listening. As is typical at conferences, I find most of my inspirations from the patient voices. Speaking to diabetes blogger Kerri Sparling of Six Until Me was a huge pleasure:

My brain is cluttered right now with inspiration and questions, but I would like to share one thought on what I was asked about the most: leaving academic medicine and becoming an entrepreneur. Many reasons played into my decision:

1. Timing. The combination of the rising epatient movement, the increase of social media allowing new voices in the collective whole to be heard, the passing of patient-centered Affordable Care Act legislation and the consequential restructuring of payment incentives toward quality rather than quantity of services, the approachability of technology and development, the enthusiasm behind investments in related healthcare startups despite otherwise dismal economic growth in other sectors, the upcoming expected necessicity for pharma to embrace new business models upon patent expirations, financial incentives rewarding embracement of electronic health records with a consequential more positive change in adoption culture, and the baseline independent popularity of mobile phones among doctors and patients...it is the perfect storm for consumer-based mobile health solutions to be embraced and paid for and effective.

2. Passion. I really began all of my social media and mobile health app developing endeavors as a hobby. I often found myself up late into the wee hours of the night before a clinic working on various aspects of my early mobile health work without realizing how late it was. I truly love working on mobile health, and still often lose track of time!

3. Business Planning. After speaking to MANY people in the mobile health space, I became convinced that I was not the only one that had enthusiasm for the power of mobile health to improve health outcomes and that indeed, making a living was possible. And so, I began the journey of planning.

4. Courage. My patients gave me the courage to pursue this journey by continually asking me when they could download the EndoGoddess app. However, it was also the courage that my patients showed me everyday in their will to live their lives well despite diabetes that also inspired me. Their enthusiasm and grace gave me the courage to leave academic medicine and work on finishing the app full time so that they could indeed download it.

In conclusion, now 6 months into this journey, I am happy, challenged, thrilled, and fulfilled everyday. This is a life that certainly has risks but as Amber Naslund, social media strategy expert and author of the awesome book The Now Revolution, said in her Blogworld keynote after answering the same question: 'don't be afraid to take risks people, it's called living.' I am truly living. :)

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