A health entrepreneur is the owner, and many times the operator, of a private health-service business. The health entrepreneur’s services are within the spectrum of health, wellness, and wellness education. The health entrepreneur serves the public’s needs and interests, helping clients reach their desired health and wellness goals through their core service as a helping professional including but not limited to:
- massage therapist
- creative arts therapist
- mental health counsellor
- addictions counsellor
- speech therapist
- recreation therapist
- home care nurse
- private health nurse
- as well as other specialists in areas of preventative health and recovery
The health entrepreneur has followed the path of inquiry, education, certification and any/all necessary regulations required to get to where they are. They have mastered their technical skills and are extremely passionate about their clients.
There are numerous ways the public may access a health entrepreneur:
- Government funded (tax paid) national systems
- Government funded but user fees to top up (often at point of use)
- Health insurance systems (funded by governments, citizens, or some mixture)
- Decentralized, private systems run for profit or not for profit
- Out of pocket expenses
Health entrepreneurs work within many of these systems in different ways. Through their services and business practices, health entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to break through many barriers and bring necessary care to individual citizens and communities. If you search healthcare services and healthcare stats in your country and you will find numbers to indicate the burgeoning need:
- More than 43 million American adults deal with mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). With issues such as addiction, childhood trauma, and dementia in the aging population driving the demand for licensed counsellors, the need for them is expected to grow more than 20% through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- There are more than 60,000 doctors of chiropractic practicing in the United States. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands recognize chiropractic as a health care profession and license the practice of chiropractic.
- According to the 2017 British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy members survey, half of all counsellors work in private practice.
- The size of the massage therapy field has increased nearly 140 percent since 1998 – Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals.
Examples of Health Entrepreneurs can be found all over the globe. Here are three registered nurses from my own country of Canada who are making a big difference through their businesses, as well as their professions, and in their communities:
- Kath Murray launched Life and Death Matters in 2005. With a staff of three and a national network of expert collaborators, the Victoria-based company is dedicated to the development and delivery of resources to help individuals provide the best possible care to the dying and the bereaved.
- Irene Martin, a registered nurse from Ottawa started her business in 1994. Retire-At-Home Services is a home care provider that offers a wide gamut of services, from simple companionship to end-of-life care.
- In 2008 Lisa Markin another registered nurse launched INSPIRE Animal Assisted Therapy. Her team finds themselves helping autistic children with communication 0r helping in the rehabilitation of a stroke victim by having him squeeze a ball that releases the dog treats hidden inside.
When making decisions, health entrepreneurs take a “people first” approach based not on financial transactions but on relationships and desired outcomes.
Looking back over my own career, I see it as a privilege to be part of a much larger change within many systems—health care, education, and business. Across the board, we are turning toward different ways of living, caring, and doing good work. I see the success of the health entrepreneur’s business as essential for a healthy society. It is, therefore, critical that more resources and supports be put in place to help these businesses connect with their clients and patients in a way that inspires the client, helping health entrepreneurs to be the best they can be for many years to come and why I wrote the book Wellness Incorporated.