Many more physicians have joined the Digital Nomad Physicians website recently, and I wanted to reintroduce myself to the current subscribers and share a little about what I do here.
Thank you for reading my content. I do a lot of research before writing these articles, and I’m on the same journey as many of you.
Feel free to email me with any general questions you have. I can often point you in the right direction or link content I’ve already created.
If you have topic suggestions, email them to me. Usually, it’s something I want to learn more about.
Digital Nomad Physicians
This website used to be called urgentcarecarecaree.com before I took it down for a year. In some ways, the new iteration is much more fun, but I’ve also improved my SEO skills.
I don’t write to have more views. I am not trying to increase my subscribers or be famous. And that’s why there are no advertisements on this site. I have no secret information to share that’ll deepen your pockets or lengthen your … .
Anyways, I have a lot of real-world experience doing unique things with my medical license. Every few years, I’ve reinvented my career to avoid the burnout I experienced in 2016.
This website is for the tribe of location-independent physicians (or aspiring) seeking more adventure in their careers: some location independence, new ways of practicing medicine, financial security, and less stress when working.
Residency to Burnout
I graduated from a family medicine residency in 2009 in Los Angeles and took an urgent care job at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.
By 2012 my personal finances were a mess. I had a lot of credit card debt, student loans, and an upside-down mortgage and had just opened an auto mechanic shop on the side.
Urgent care was easy for me. I loved the work and was making close to $400k at KP. I saw the writing on the wall and decided I wasn’t living a sustainable lifestyle.
I learned about budgeting and started paying down my debt. I was -$300k when I first calculated my net worth; if not, worse.
In 2014 I transferred within KP from SD to Portland, Oregon, with much better personal finance habits. I got rid of my car and became a medical director at Kaiser.
By 2016 I had reached my personal finance goals and considered myself financially independent. And right at that time, I started experiencing panic attacks in the exam room from burnout.
I had sold the auto mechanic shop and had a net worth of under $1 million. I had done telemedicine at KP, which I enjoyed a lot.
So I took a job with my first healthcare startup in 2016. They taught me the business and engineering side of things, and I taught them about medicine and healthcare.
I also decided to become a digital nomad physician and made my first move to Spain. I worked remotely for healthcare startups and telemedicine companies like American Well, Teladoc, Roman, Oscar, and others.
I loved the work. I loved the lifestyle. 20 hours a week of seeing patients virtually in 2017 and rock climbing the rest of the time.
Medical License Suspension
So many of you find me on here because you, too, had your medical license terminated, suspended, or other hardships.
What a headache! Demoralizing isn’t the right word. It genuinely changed my outlook on medicine. I became mortal enemies with the medical establishment after the Oregon State Medical Board suspended my license for 30 days in 2018.
I doubled down on alternative medical career options. After all, I wasn’t employable with that suspension on my record.
I was selling courses on my website, consulting for healthcare companies, teaching at a community college, and focusing on my investments.
How I Make My Income
After I got over my temper tantrum with western medicine and realized that nobody was out to get me and that the system is broken in some ways but functioning really well in other ways, I decided to go after what I enjoyed.
1. Healthcare Consulting
I still have some healthcare consulting clients. When our contract ends, I go fishing for new ones. I enjoy it because I learn a lot.
I charge around $150 per hour or $500 for more minor work contracts. My leads come from Linkedin, or I go seeking people out.
2. Heart Health Coaching
I decided I didn’t want to risk my career with just a medical license to fall back on. I have built my Heart Health Coaching brand, where I coach patients without entering a patient-doctor relationship.
I charge $500 per hour and screen my clients well to ensure we are the right fit.
I have also been learning so much about cardiovascular health. The world of preventative cardiology is fascinating—a big shoutout to Dr. Attia for his work in this area.
3. Digital Nomad Telemedicine
In #4, I’ll talk about moonlighting in telemedicine. But I wanted my own telehealth brand. I’ve done it on and off for friends of friends, but it has become a more mature telemedicine company now.
For now, it needs to remain small because I don’t want it to eat into my free time at $100 per visit (30-60 minutes).
4. Telemedicine Moonlighting
I moonlight on one platform where I can log in anytime I want.
It’s not a significant income, but I can do it from abroad, and at $30 per patient, it pays better than other platforms.
On Upwork, I list a few skills I have in healthcare consulting.
The income is around $150 per hour.
The best skill I developed on Upwork is how to sell myself and a client in an exchange that benefits both parties.
Fiverr has been good to me. I started with them way back in the day. And, just like Upwork, I’ve learned to sell a product and convert a sale.
I offer my gigs for $50, $150, and $500. Give or take.
Though these are a bit more hands-off, developing my investment skills has been lucrative.
What Else I’ve Done or Am Doing
A few months back, I completed a data analytics course with Google and Coursera. I had a buddy who went through it with me, which made it fun.
I thought about sitting for the HI board, but I am not sure I would put that to good use. It’s the last year they will allow you to qualify to sit for the board exam before mandating a true fellowship.
I guess health AI has become a sore or divided topic. But I enjoyed my foray into it. For physicians who want to work remotely, this is an exciting topic to learn.
I learned how to create ontologies, work with NLP, and learn a lot from the machine learning engineers on various data labeling and speech detection models.
A physician will always need to review clinical cases when it comes to third-party payers. This is the world of utilization management or utilization review.
Not just third-party payers but even the DMV, attorneys, and medical examiners need independent-minded physicians to review clinical information.
I wouldn’t want this to be the only thing I do, regardless of how lucrative it is. As a remote working physician, I don’t want to bore myself to death.
Earlier this year, I enrolled in a functional nutrition course.
I want to demonstrate to any inquiring state medical board that in my health coaching activities, I am functioning as a non-physician.
This is a very subtle point; some of you have discussed this with me in detail.
My brand is all about community, in a way. I share my ideas with like-minded physicians. And I discuss heart health with people interested in preventing or managing severe heart disease.
Keeping in this community theme, I have been active on Reddit and recently took over the /r/HeartHealth subreddit.
I don’t know what I will do with it yet, but my presence on R has led to some good business leads.
In some ways, Quora is all about information volume, not information quality. But that can change at any moment, and I see the potential on that platform.
It’s a great place for physicians to define their expertise. I have been on there for some time, offering general medical advice.
My Digital Nomad Physicians podcast is a way for me to break down more personal content and give them a bit more personality.
It’s a way to practice speaking and expressing myself artistically.
The Youtube channel has been much easier in terms of video editing. Most channels are video editing gods. Not I.
In the past, I used to spend time creating visually appealing content. Now my focus is on getting it out in one go.
I don’t believe that YT makes genuine money. But as digital nomad physicians, we can use it as free advertising.
Learning WP is so powerful. It can be a lucrative career on its own, and it’s not as involved as you’d think.
This website and many of my other sites are hosted on WordPress. With it, I’ve learned marketing and writing and communication.
I am not a traveler in the traditional sense. I don’t care to see the Eiffel Tower or the Wall of China.
I travel because I want the option to choose where I settle down. A mix of Portland, Oregon, and Santiago de Compostela, Spain, is the sweet spot for now.
I see Turkey and Mexico as future solid potentials. But you never know. Living in a place long-term gives you the proper perspective.
Whether Instagram or Twitter, or Linkedin, there is a place where you feel most at home marketing yourself.
It’s not a must, but it’s a fast and relatively harmless way of getting your content out there.