In an article recently published in MedCity News, Kathryn Stecco, MD, a medical device entrepreneur who completed her residency in general surgery at Stanford, offers tips for women spearheading entrepreneurial endeavors in the medical technology industry. The piece is timely, as some have dubbed 2015 the "year of the technologically engaged patient."
As Stecco writes, women with a medical background and an interest in technology have lots of opportunities, from working at small start-ups or large corporations to becoming a chief medical officer or finding a niche in law or finance. And, of course, they can start their own company. Unfortunately, though, few choose the latter option: Stecco notes in the piece that only three percent of technology companies are started by women.
To encourage more women to take the entrepreneurial leap, Stecco's fundamental advice is to start with a big idea that fills a real unmet need. Beyond that, she suggests:
- Pursue a practical solution: Focus on products that are safe, effective and easy to use for both physician and patient. If the product doesn’t make physicians’ lives easier, they won’t use it. The product must produce meaningful clinical data that speaks for itself.
- Build relationships – early – with clinicians: Medical entrepreneurs must be out in the field developing ties with physicians and getting their input early in the design process. No matter how well designed your product or how impressive your patents, physicians will have the last word on the usefulness of your product. They are vital to your success.
- Be prepared to shift gears: Don’t fall into the trap of becoming so enamored of an idea or a product that you lose sight of its real likelihood of succeeding in the marketplace. You must have the flexibility to move on to something else when changes in the environment cause the ground to shift under your feet and your plans to be upended.
- Enjoy the ride! Successful entrepreneurs make adversity the energy that fuels their creativity. They don’t learn their most valuable lessons in the classroom but in the trenches. They thrive on the long hours, the unpredictability, the rush that comes from building something important and valuable.
Previously: An online film festival for medtech inventors, Stanford alumni aim to redesign the breast pump and Medical technology entrepreneurs discuss challenges facing start-ups at Stanford event
Photo by jfcherry