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Embracing an Entrepreneurial Mindset in Established Healthcare Settings – ISSUE #20

I recently had the opportunity to interact with 34 of the most successful entrepreneurs in the Southeast. As we mingled on the EY rooftop event space overlooking downtown Nashville, our similarities quickly became apparent. It wasn’t obvious at first, we came from varied backgrounds and worked in different industries. But we all shared the common bond of entrepreneurship. Most of us were founders and had built something from the ground up.

So, although we knew nothing about how to run each other’s businesses, we spoke a common language when it came to risk, planning, leadership, and change. It got me thinking more about this “entrepreneurial mindset” and whether more of it is needed in healthcare. Not in the sense of disruptive healthcare startups (although we need those too) but in hospitals…possibly the last place we normally look for disruptive ideas.

Why an Entrepreneurial Mindset Matters

When we think about entrepreneurship, we often picture startups and new ventures. But the principles that drive entrepreneurs—innovation, agility, and proactive problem-solving—are just as valuable in established organizations. Here’s how adopting this mindset can make a real difference:

  • Driving Innovation – Entrepreneurs thrive on new ideas. They’re always looking for better ways to do things. In a hospital setting, this means constantly exploring how we can enhance patient care, streamline operations, and improve outcomes. Encouraging our teams to think creatively and embrace new technologies can lead to major improvements in how we deliver care.
  • Enhancing Agility – Being able to pivot and adapt quickly is a hallmark of successful entrepreneurs. In healthcare, where things can change overnight, agility is crucial. An entrepreneurial mindset helps our teams anticipate changes and respond swiftly, ensuring we maintain high standards of care, even when faced with uncertainty.
  • Problem-Solving Proactively – Entrepreneurs are natural problem-solvers. They don’t wait for issues to become crises; they tackle them head-on. By fostering this approach, we can address potential problems before they escalate—whether it’s improving patient flow in the emergency department or optimizing staffing levels in our hospital medicine programs.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset in the Hospital Setting

Healthcare is defined by constant change. An entrepreneurial mindset helps us not only adapt but also leverage these changes to our advantage. However, change management in the hospital setting is a completely different animal than in your typical startup. Regulatory issues, privacy issues, culture, bylaws…. the list of challenges goes on and on. But despite these challenges, I think there is room for this mindset in the hospital in a number of ways:

  • Embracing Technological Advancements: From telehealth to AI-driven diagnostics, technology is transforming healthcare. By fostering an entrepreneurial spirit, we can stay ahead of the curve, implementing cutting-edge tools that enhance patient care and operational efficiency.
  • Implementing Process Improvements: Continuous improvement is at the core of entrepreneurship. Encouraging our teams to regularly evaluate and refine processes ensures that we’re always moving toward greater efficiency and effectiveness. This might include adopting lean methodologies or developing innovative patient care models that reduce length of stay and improve outcomes.
  • Building Resilience: Change can be daunting, but an entrepreneurial mindset builds resilience. It equips our teams with the confidence to take calculated risks and the ability to learn from failures. This resilience is crucial for maintaining high performance and achieving long-term success.

As we navigate the complexities of modern healthcare, an entrepreneurial mindset can be our greatest asset. It enables us to innovate, adapt, and continuously improve, ensuring that we provide the highest quality of care to our patients.

Looking back, I think I had some of the entrepreneurial mindset as an emergency physician…. adapting to different ERs, pivoting to see patients no matter how suboptimal the situation, and constantly trying to improve patient flow and quality. I didn’t know it, but being an ER doc was fantastic training to start a company. Now, having run a company for the past six years, I have better visibility to know that this mindset is exactly what we need more of in hospitals if we are to successfully adapt as healthcare continues to evolve.


Boykin Robinson, MD, MBA, FACHE
Founder and Chief Executive Officer

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