• Article
  • July 29, 2019

Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Passion

Family conversations and willingness to try something new cultivated this entrepreneur's passion.

By Christine Bush

Soraya Darabi
Soraya Darabi

Soraya Darabi is an entrepreneur and investor with a reputation for spotting emerging trends and breakout business models. She grew up in a household where conversations often centered on public health, and her mother set the innovator example as one of the first professors to teach a course online.

Darabi made a name for herself at 23 when she became manager of digital partnerships and social media at The New York Times. Her work propelled the news icon into the digital world. Here, Darabi gives a glimpse of the insight she will share as a keynote speaker at CHA’s Annual Leadership Conference in November. 

Why should a health care leader think like an entrepreneur?

Health care is changing on a day-to-day basis and that can’t be said for every industry. It’s transforming left, right and center. If hospital leaders aren’t aware of the changing trends and market sizes, they’re not able to effectively and authoritatively pick and choose which new digital convergence to pay attention to.

They need to consider which new organizations to partner with so they can offer the very best care for their patients. Thinking like an entrepreneur means thinking on your feet and being adaptable.

What challenges do entrepreneurs encounter when trying to get ideas implemented?

There was a period where investors were skittish to back great entrepreneurial ideas, but Americans have embraced entrepreneurship again. For health care, in particular, it’s a boon. We are in the midst of the great revival of ideas.

Hospital leaders need to be discerning and understand how to separate fad from greatness and identify a wonderful idea. You have to know the way to seamlessly and effectively weave ideas into your organization to better serve patients.

Describe the trends in pediatric care we should watch for.

Innovation doesn’t have to be something huge. There’s an organization making antimicrobial medical apparel for providers, but they’re also making antimicrobial, fun colored uniforms for pediatric patients.

It allows kids in oncology units, for example, to dress up in scrubs that feel like costumes rather than scrubs they wear when they are sick. Wellness is growing as a total, addressable market. A service like mobile dentistry is reshaping how people get access to care. 

On the technology front, hospitals are allowing patients to book appointments through an app or weaving in the option for telemedicine. There are startups that are honing in on the conditions where primary care doctors were kind of a catchall for several issues people were experiencing.

Startups are focusing on prescribing the right health care regime, supplements and ongoing telemedicine protocol so people feel like their specific diagnosis is well attended to.

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