Other reasons for this lower rate could include culture, professional values, peer influence (doctors are more likely to be more likely to start a business if their colleagues do too), and market opportunities, he added. Radiology saw lower opportunities for entrepreneurship in areas such as clinical practice (odds ratio of 0.598), public interest (0.308), biotechnology (0.475), and medical business (0.449). In the entire sample of doctors in the study, 66% of the doc startups were active in clinical practice, in real estate or practice management. Another 7.4% were in the public interest (ie advocacy or philanthropy), while 18.5% were classified as “other business activities”.
Overall, 4.3% of physicians in Massachusetts who started at least one business between 1960 and 2017 were radiologists. According to Greenblatt, rads were engaged in a wide variety of interests. Many of them were related to medicine, such as augmented reality to facilitate surgery, interventional radiology catheters, an app for providing educational imaging materials and business software for pathology laboratories. Meanwhile, other bike-run businesses had little to do with the specialty, everything from interest groups for same-sex couples to a yoga studio, selling exercise equipment, or even running a bakery.
While some might assume that doctor entrepreneurs are mostly young, Greenblatt has set the median age at around 46 years old. He speculated that this is likely because senior physicians have more clinical experience, professional contacts, access to capital, and management experience. An important finding from the analysis is that entrepreneurship can be taught and that those in charge of radiology should work to cultivate this mindset and culture among their peers.
“Medicine is a fantastic place to be in entrepreneurship,” he told Radiology Business. “Doctors have deep expertise that can affect the way they work, and successful healthcare startups can really make our patients’ lives better. Given that many innovation-driven startups ultimately fail, the relative job security and flexibility of medicine provides an excellent platform for managing the risks of experimenting with entrepreneurship, ”he added.