Some are travelers, while others prefer to grow roots. I’m a nomad at heart, but I travel slowly. This article is about how to become a digital nomad doctor for those interested in being more location independent.
What’s a Digital Nomad Doctor?
A digital nomad doctor is a physician who can practice medicine without being tied down to a particular location.
I’ve lived in Iran, Germany, the US, and mainly Spain for the past few years. I don’t have plans for where to be next, but I want the option.
A digital nomad doctor has the luxury of location independence. I don’t have to get in my car, drive to the same clinic, and get mail at a particular mailbox.
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The long-term plan is to get a medical license in a few other countries. It’s not easy, but my Spanish is improving, and Spain seems like a great place to get my first international medical license.
I had a setback with Mexico, but that’s another country where I see myself practicing medicine.
Working Online as a Doctor
US physicians can get medical licenses in countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other destinations without fuss.
But why deal with a whole other regulating body when I can see patients on my Chromebook?
I have two laptops, a VPN, a hotspot, and other essential equipment to see patients online, no matter where I am.
Some telemedicine companies hire physicians regardless of where they are located worldwide. This will likely grow in the future. Others are more risk-averse, and you’ll need to be in a particular state.
My own private virtual practice is a cash-pay practice. As long as I follow my state medical board’s regulations, I can be anywhere I want and perform these consults.
Income Streams While Nomading
My savings give me peace of mind, and my investments offer me some passive income. But these don’t count. Let’s focus on ways to make money as a doctor while being a digital nomad.
1. Healthcare Consulting
I have written about healthcare consulting and how to find clients. Plenty of healthcare startups need the expertise of a physician to build or tune their product.
You don’t need to learn anything new. It’s just essential that you can translate what you know for a CEO or engineer.
Whether you’re a pediatrician or orthopedic surgeon, there is something that you know that someone else wants to learn.
On this site, I do physician coaching. It’s a substantial income for me. Physicians ask me to teach them something based on my own unique experience. On an hourly basis, I share my knowledge with them.
If I were a rheumatologist, I would teach family medicine doctors how to better work-up and manage autoimmune conditions.
If I were a dermatologist, I would teach acne master classes to primary care doctors and pediatricians.
One option is to work for a telemedicine company as an independent contractor. This gives me a headache. One day it’s okay for me to be abroad, and the next day, I have to sign a document saying that I’m not traveling.
My own telehealth practice is a niche practice. It’s a practice based on disease prevention. Low-risk, easy, enjoyable. I manage chronic diseases and I try to prevent them.
Another niche telemedicine practice might be managing pediatric allergies. Or it could be virtual functional workups for fertility. Or, nice and simple, a virtual urgent care.
4. Physical Practice in the US
There are a few urgent care and primary care clients for whom I see patients when I’m in the US a few months out of the year.
This alone earns enough money to live off of it in another country. Well, maybe not in London, but we’ll get to that later.
I can work as a hospitalist, cover an ER, or do some per diem work in correctional institutions.
5. Practicing Abroad
As a UCLA graduate, I have enough pedigree to apply for work in another English-speaking country or elsewhere where I speak the language.
Perhaps the income isn’t high, but it always is enough for a doctor to live in that country.
I can work at the NHS or set up a private walk-in clinic in Iran.
6. Health Coaching
I left this for last. Just because I have a medical license doesn’t mean I must enter a legal patient-doctor relationship. Health Coaching allows me to share my knowledge with clients without medical-legal headaches.
A child psychiatrist can coach pediatric clients or parents for autism. A cardiologist can do cardiac rehabilitation coaching. An orthopedist can do physical therapy coaching.