After spending years climbing the steady and predictable pyramid of the world of medicine, I became indoctrinated on a path to success. There's a clear order: first you get into a medical school, then you get into a residency, then a fellowship, and then a prestigious job as a staff surgeon.
In the field of entrepreneurship there is no order. You learn from those who have done it and make up the rest as you go. To many surgeons this sounds like a nightmare, but to me it sounds like fun. Many of my colleagues question why I deviated from such a well laid out path, and I didn't always have have a good answer, until now!
My path to MBET
I became interested in the intersection of technology and medicine about a year before I had even heard about the MBET program. As a community on the whole, physicians have traditionally been WAY behind the curve when it comes to information technology (IT) in our industry. Because of the hierarchical structure of the profession, those at the top are also those who feel the most threatened by the impending intersection of IT and medicine.
Physicians are suffering the consequences of these circumstances coupled with the horrendous usability of the enterprise software that has been dictated upon us. As a new, younger generation of leaders emerged in the medical world, a renaissance of IT in medicine was beginning and at the time, I knew I wanted to be part of it. I looked into many programs, but in the end I felt like the MBET program was going to be the best opportunity for me to equip myself with the tools to succeed in my aspirations.
Studying entrepreneurship: the right way
I have heard many successful entrepreneurs say that you cannot learn to be an entrepreneur. Either you are one or you are not, and after a year of MBET I think that is certainly true. MBET is a program built for the personality and drive of an entrepreneur. It is not until after you are done, that you appreciate the ordered chaos created in a contained environment. You have a floating schedule, with waves of work load. You get opportunities to succeed, but only if you stand up to grab them. You learn to be a leader from proven leaders and about venture capital from a venture capitalist. Your accounting professors are actually practicing accountants and CFOs, and your marketing professor runs a marketing-based startup. It all just makes sense. Nothing is forced on you, it's just all a little more available than if you were an entrepreneur coming off the street. Then the classes help you build a case and structure around your ideas and business. Finally, you realize that there is a method to the madness.
The year went by very fast, and by the end:
- I had met a co-founder, CTO, and friend for life, fellow MBET student Vejey Gandier.
- We founded and incorporated a company, Koronis Health Inc. which offers a secure mobile healthcare platform, Medlinx, and healthcare software development services.
- We raised investment capital: $100,000 in cash and $250,000 in grants; and turned down other investors.
- We opened 3 offices and now employ over 140 people.
- We had a blast!
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Ali Esmail, BSc, MD, recently completed the MBET program and is a surgical resident at the University of Manitoba. Ali is the CEO and co-founder of Koronis Health. Koronis Health's main product is Medlinx.
Medlinx is what will become the dominant platform for mobile health, connecting patients, care providers and institutions like clinics and hospitals to clinical data, and each other. Later in 2014, the Medlinx team is launching large scale pilots in Manitoba and Nova Scotia that will involve over 2,000 physicians and 300,000 patients.
Watch Medlinx's video: