Positions in health technology or health startups are currently expanding in number and in type. Many health companies are rapidly growing in size. These include health apps targeting consumer health, fitness, and genetics, and product and software development for the medical industry. A lot of these companies are based in Silicon Valley, but there are a number around the country in other areas such as Boston, Chicago, and Austin. Many tend to have a young workforce with an interest in solving the challenges of today’s healthcare system. They have been quick to scoop up medical graduates and young physicians as consultants or as permanent members of their teams.
Health start-ups with a focus on health technology often provide an opportunity for physicians to tackle some of the problems facing the entire industry with innovative solutions aimed at quality improvement, patient engagement, efficiency of healthcare delivery, and collaboration and sharing of health information. As a result, startup and biotech jobs for physicians are increasing in number.
|Executive Board of Health Tech Company|
Medical Director of Health Tech Company
|Example Duties||▪ HIPAA compliant phone or video consultations|
▪ Serve in an advisory role, providing medical and business input for company decisions
▪ Providing medical consulting services for content strategy and direction
▪ Ensure that the mission of the company remains in line with improving patient care and maintaining the doctor-patient relationship
▪ Assist with marketing or educating other healthcare professionals regarding innovative technologies developed by startup companies
|Example Employers||▪ Telehealth or telemedicine startup organization||▪ Health tech company||▪ Health tech company|
Job responsibilities for physicians with health startups can vary widely, but often the roles that medical professionals hold are in executive and leadership roles or in consulting or advising regarding product development and improvement. Physicians can also still serve in a clinical capacity providing services through telehealth means, or overseeing other health professionals in medical director positions.
Various job responsibilities may include:
- Assisting with the development of new technologies for unmet needs in the health industry
- Working in collaboration with health informatics professionals to design solutions that alleviate burdens on the healthcare system and improve quality of care
- Providing medical consulting services for content strategy and direction
- Assisting with marketing or educating other healthcare professionals regarding innovative technologies developed by startup companies
- Performing phone or video consultations through a telehealth platform
Work Environment and Schedule
Many health tech startups have the hours and flexibility on paper that physicians can only dream of. However, for young companies, there may be more hours that need to be put in than the typical 9 to 5 due to a smaller workforce, limited company resources, investor expectations, and the company’s drive to get their product or service on the market and build up a customer base. To reward employees for long hours, though, it has become fairly common for tech startups to offer more generous leave policies, flexible work schedules, and liberal vacation policies than larger, more established companies.
In order to stay on top of the most promising health startups and health tech companies that are likely to have opportunities for physicians, it’s imperative to have your pulse on the direction of the health industry. Those who wish to be in the top levels of leadership in tech may find themselves working hard, but being well rewarded for their effort, expert knowledge, and time.
Required Skills and Training
Many, but not all of these positions, will prefer or require a degree in public health, such as an MPH. Many physicians, via the nature of their previous positions, will informally have some experience in public and population health and should not have a problem obtaining a position in many areas in the field.
Required skills include:
- Ability to evaluate applications for a new technology within healthcare and medicine
- Experience in analyzing healthcare markets and trends in medical provider practice
- Ability to prioritize in a faced-paced and rapidly changing environment
- Interest in the operational and financial components of a venture-backed startup
- Experience in health information, working with algorithms, and reviewing and interpreting medical data
Residency, Licensure, and Training Requirements
Board certification and licensure not necessarily required, but may be required or preferred in many positions. In the startup world, experience and track record are often regarded more highly than formal degrees.
No particular training is required for a position in a health technology or startup company. Depending on the role sought, medical experience or consulting can be extremely valuable. Business acumen and comfort with most standard computer software programs and communication platforms is necessary.
Is This a Career for You?
Physicians who are technology-minded, great problem solvers, team oriented, and innovative will do well in a health tech start up environment where collaboration, consultation, and adjustments may be key. Within a tech startup company, employees often find that there is a movement toward equitable share of ideas and restructuring the typical hierarchical office environment. Those with an interest in solving clinical workflow, working on quality improvement, and health cost-saving measures have a place in health tech startups. Those with entrepreneurial spirits and a business mindset are the physicians who will do best in health tech.
Physicians can often transition into high level executive or consulting roles in health tech or startups. Those with business sensibilities who can also provide clear direction and clinical insight to the company are invaluable.
Physicians who need stability and are uncomfortable with some degree of uncertainty and risk-taking may not enjoy the fast pace of health tech. Although it can provide lifestyle flexibility in a great deal of positions, for those who want to climb to the top or prove themselves to be thought leaders, hard work will be necessary. But it will also be well rewarded when the company becomes successful, is sold, or goes public.