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Steven Hacker, MD, FAAD is the author of The Medical Entrepreneur and the originator of several patents in the fields of electrical engineering, chemical engineering, and electromagnetic theory. Most recently, he published The Caduceus and the Swastika.

What does the term “Medical Entrepreneur” mean to you?

Dr. Hacker: Medical entrepreneur has several meanings to me. First, it is a physician who is a creative problem solver and uses the solutions he or she thinks of to create a business venture outside of the realm of their practice. The other meaning is a physician that approaches his or her practice as an analytical entrepreneur, which implies he or she looks for cost efficiencies across the practice and treats it as an enterprise, as well as seeking and analyzing revenue opportunities—for example, thinking in terms of acquisition costs of a “customer” or patient for a particular service, plotted against lifetime value of a customer or a patient for a particular service, to justify business decision making.

What is the most important attribute for success as a “Medical Entrepreneur”?

Dr. Hacker: The single most important attribute is bull-headed determination to see something through to completion with a tincture of flexibility to “pivot” away from what you find doesn’t work to what you learn does.

You’ve created apps to support practices. Why and how can technology like apps improve practices and patient care?

Dr. Hacker: Mobile applications can be used to deploy “SAAS”—software as a service—to enable efficiencies in patient communication, physician business operations, customer/patient retention and engagement, customer/patient satisfaction, customer/patient service, profitability, and sales.

You have written books on practice management, but you also wrote your first novel recently. Why? What was the experience like?

Dr. Hacker:I have always enjoyed writing. The first book, The Medical Entrepreneur, has been purchased by thousands of doctors and students, and that is a very fulfilling sense of completion. I didn’t think it would be as popular as it became, but I wanted to write something that enabled me to share much of the lessons I learned in the business ventures I had started and sold outside of my practice. The novel, The Caduceus and the Swastika, (which was recognized as a 2016 Editor’s Choice Award by the Historical Novel Society) was written for my kids, as I wanted them to read a story that blended historical references with medicine. I thought they would enjoy it. Of course, they had no interest in reading it. n


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