We often think of our chosen medical specialty as the end-all, be-all of our clinical careers. When, in fact, having a medical degree is often just the beginning for many non-clinical careers.
There is administrative work which has to be done by a clinician, such as a physician, NP, or PA. This can be either in an insurance company, a medical group, a pharmaceutical company, or a telemedicine company.
A Telemedicine Career
I’ve been talking about telemedicine for a few years now. It’s a topic for which my website has gotten a lot of traffic. But it’s only 25% of what I do.
I’m attracted to a telemedicine career because it offers me the best of both worlds; location independence and ability to use my clinical skills.
But a telemedicine career doesn’t have to be a full-time thing. You can do it just 10-20% of the time. And you can diversify your income sources further.
In the telemedicine world, you can either work for other telemedicine companies or you can start your own. Or, of course, you could go all-in and work part-time or full-time (gross) for one particular telemed company.
Since 2012, there also have been quite a few opportunities for telemedicine administrative work. This could be behind the scenes or mixed in with some clinical work.
Telemedicine Administrative Work
Any healthcare company which does telemedicine will need clinicians who can help run the telemedicine network.
Telemedicine administrative work might involve:
- hiring clinicians
- doing quality assurance work
- onboard clinicians
- work with the IT department
- help design a new EHR
- work with the marketing department
- work with legal to expand across state lines
- work with the business team to expand into new arenas
Types of Admin Work
I don’t think administrative work is always glorious. In some companies it’s a boring chore. Especially when the roles are very well-defined, in which case it’ll feel a lot more like a chore than variety.
The advantage to administrative work in telemedicine is that it’ll advance your career. You’ll never know what opportunities it’ll bring, but you’ll always meet interesting people. Often passionate individuals who are trying to affect more patient lives.
Some administrative work can be fun and even creative. For example, if you’re working with the marketing team then you’ll come up with what kind of videos and social media content to publish on which platforms.
In this current pandemic, you’ll work with the IT team to come up with some patient education tools.
Some of it can be quasi-clinical. You’ll come up with clinical workflows and best-practices. These require a bit of research and can be fun to put together.
The hiring and quality-assurance work may not be your cup of tea. But if you are a people person then working with a clinician who is not performing well and helping them meet their milestones can be gratifying.
Most well-built telemedicine companies spend a lot of effort onboarding their clinicians. They want them to stay on and they have no intention of firing them just because they did something wrong.
In such a clinician liaison role you’d come up with ways to engage the clinicians and provide them with more support.
It’s a drag to do the same thing, day in and day out. I can’t imagine doing 8-hr telemedicine shifts full-time.
A little change-up is nice. It stimulates the brain and you make new connections and learn new things.
It’s a great way to advance your career, as well. That’s where I recommend using your LinkedIn profile. It summarizes everything you’ve done nicely. And you can download it as a resume, if you ever need to.
Whatever work your do for a company in an administrative role, write it down. If you create a document, keep it. If you work on a particular team, take note of it.
This will help you land the ideal administrative work in telemedicine one day. Maybe it won’t be the perfect role for you but it’ll pay as much as you were making during your clinical shifts, if not more. And it’ll open up more doors for you in the future.
I’ve had a few smaller administrative roles over the years with telemedicine companies. But nothing as big as what I have landed with this current telemedicine company.
There is always plenty of telemedicine administrative work to be done. Sometimes leadership just can’t identify it or may not know the right person for the job.
Whenever I’m asked about taking on a new telemedicine role, I always highlight my previous experience and that I’m only interested in higher-level positions and not just pure clinical work.
I did the same after I worked for a telemedicine company for a while. I would reach out to HR and let them know that I’d like to take on more responsibility and demonstrate to leadership that I can take on some administrative roles to help grow the company.
Income for Admin Work
Your hourly income for administrative work will be the same as your clinical time. At least until you make CMO – that’s when your income will go up by quite a bit. It’ll even be tied to company revenue.
However, you’ll make more per hour because you’ll be keeping track of your own hours.
If you’re listening in on a meeting, reading emails, or even planning out what you’ll do, you can bill for all of that administrative time.
What I have usually done is combine my clinical telemedicine work with my telemedicine admin work. If my shift is slow then I’ll hop over and do some admin work.
Because I’m in this admin role, I often get the better shifts, as in, the quieter shifts. And because I’m getting paid for both admin work as well as clinical work, my hourly income is often double that of a colleague’s.
After CV19 remote work will be the norm. Still, healthcare is very slow to change. Many doctors and medical groups will unnecessarily go back to the in-person visits.
For those clinicians who enjoy their location independence, being a digital nomad physician is quite possible when you’re taking on administrative work.
Downsides to Admin Work
Probably the main downside is that if you sign up to work full-time, as in, if you decide to get employment benefits, you’ll be asked to not work for any other company.
I’m not a fan of that. I might do it for the ideal gig. But otherwise, I prefer to be a free agent. I prefer to have multiple income streams and be able to work for multiple medical groups.
You’ll never know when your employer will throw you under the medical board bus.