Healthcare is a $3.5 trillion market that is not renowned for its efficiency. Yet, because there are so many very different facets to the healthcare market, like drug discovery, technological innovation, health improvement, and systems change, it is ripe for opportunity.

Millions of dollars are being invested in startups in all areas of the market, and growth is expected to continue as investors and companies become more sophisticated. Could this be the time to leave a stable position and jump on board a startup?

Why consider a startup?

Startups offer a few alluring contrasts to work within traditional healthcare organizations. A few of those include the opportunity to work in a number of different areas of the business while still contributing in our area of expertise; smaller, nimble and/or less bureaucratic environments; very progressive, often cutting-edge projects; and the opportunity for big rewards when success is achieved.

On the flip side, there is often less stability. From schedule to job security, startups often require a significant amount of tolerance and flexibility while still demanding high-quality work and a strong commitment to the end goal.

Who succeeds in startups?

With this information, the next important step is to figure out whether our temperament meshes with that of the startup culture. While most of us are used to working long hours and being on call, we also often enjoy the clarity and peace of mind that comes with being able to schedule vacations, plan our paychecks into the future and benefit from professional advancement that is possible within a more structured, traditional environment.

On the other hand, if the structure of the environment feels stifling, the impact of our day-to-day work appears nonexistent, or there is lack of ability to directly reap the rewards of our brilliant ideas that positively impact the organization, then a startup environment is one to consider.

What opportunities are there?

If it seems appealing enough to look further, then the next thing to consider is what type of startup and the ideal role we can play within it. For example, teams like this one benefit from having practitioners, technology experts and product facility team members, while other teams, like this one, are more heavily research-based.

Investment organizations, professional trade groups and industry events are great ways to learn more about the local, regional and national healthcare startup landscapes. Like any other position, informational interviews, web research and networking are the best ways to answer key questions about the organization’s goals, culture, funding status and leadership team.

Next steps

Many of us reach a point in our careers where we want to make a greater impact, more directly reap the rewards of our efforts, and have a higher tolerance for risk. This is a great time for anyone at that point in their career working in the healthcare market to consider transition to a startup.

The market is growing, becoming more sophisticated and expanding into even more niches, and it needs experienced leaders and experts now.