Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The anatomy and physiology of bioentrepreneurship

Author: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA

Measuring the competencies of professionals—doctors in particular—has undergone significant change in the past few years. For example, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has formulated competency-based education guidelines for graduate medical education that include the three elements of structure (anatomy), process (physiology) and outcomes. Residency training programs and their directors are now being held accountable for measuring competencies of trainees and graduates in these areas:
  • Medical knowledge
  • Patient care
  • Practice-based learning and improvement
  • Systems-based practice
  • Professionalism
  • Interpersonal and communications skills
Suppose we were to apply a similar thinking to how we train bioentrepreneurs? In an article published in the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology in January 2008, my co-author Patrick Hurley and I reported an overview of bioentrepreneurship education programs in the U.S. and proposed some core learning objectives for those completing bioentrepreneurship education programs. Not unlike the ACGME guidelines, we tried to identify learning objectives related to some general competencies, suggested ways to use increasingly more-dependable methods of assessing a graduate's attainment of these competencies throughout the program and recommended we begin to use outcomes data to facilitate continuous program improvement.

Furthermore, we proposed core learning objectives that would drive curriculum development and standardization. Because bioentrepreneurship requires an extensive repertoire of knowledge, skills and attitudes, we proposed that bioentrepreneurs should demonstrate a defined set of abilities in the areas of legal environment, marketing, finance, leadership and organizational behavior, clinical-trials design and implementation, communication skills, new product development and management, international business and entrepreneurship, regulatory affairs and quality systems, strategic planning and business development, manufacturing, emotional and social intelligence skills, and professionalism and ethics.

That's a lot to learn. As with medicine, it takes a lifetime of continuous learning and practice, and you never get it completely right. However, as your attending used to tell you, by building on solid fundamentals and continuing to add to your experience and knowledge base, you should improve as long as you learn from your mistakes.

So where do you get this information without paying through the nose (remember, I'm an ENT doc)?

For some free resources to get you on your way, I'd suggest the following:

If you are serious about getting more bioentrepreneurship education, resolve to access these free sites on a regular basis. Doing so will help you understand the anatomy and physiology of bioentrepreneurship and equip you with the education you'll need to start seeing businesses in the clinic. Now, outcomes are different story altogether.

About the author:

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA , President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, is Professor of Otolaryngology, Dentistry and Engineering at the University of Colorado Denver. He is the cofounder of four companies and is a consultant to several life science, IT and investment firms. Dr. Meyers is a former Harvard-Macy Fellow, a National Library of Medicine Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar and was names as one of the 50 most influential healthcare executives of 2011 by Modern Healthcare Magazine.

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