7 best remote jobs for doctors

Mar 2, 2020

With all the technologies we have at our disposal, remote work is becoming widespread. Employers in a wide variety of sectors are tweaking their processes and cultures to allow for some employees to perform their jobs remotely or at least offer the ability to work from home on occasion. Others are becoming completely virtual. Physicians aren’t out of luck when it comes to this trend. There are many great remote jobs for doctors.

This article covers 7 of the most effective ways to utilize your medical knowledge and clinical decision making skills while working from home and earning a good full-time salary.

Many of these descriptions can be modified slightly to include remote physician assistant jobs and remote advanced practice nurse jobs.

Remote jobs for doctors don’t require leaving medicine or making a career sacrifice

A quick note for the skeptics before we get started:

Telecommute jobs aren’t just for burned-out physicians who want to get away from the headaches of clinical medicine. Remote physician jobs come in many types – clinical and nonclinical, various industries, and different work responsibilities.

These jobs can truly cater to your skillset and take advantage of the lengthy training you’ve been through.

You may not be able to replicate all the benefits of a traditional clinical job in a remote setting. For example, the salary will likely be somewhat lower than what you can make seeing patients full-time. But there are many additional perks that, for many doctors, greatly make up for this. These include:

  • Schedule flexibility
  • No commute
  • Less workplace drama
  • Fewer interruptions by staff and colleagues
  • More time spent in the comfort of your own home

1. Telemedicine

Telemedicine tops the list when it comes to remote jobs for doctors. The number of opportunities is skyrocketing and the nature of the work is expanding.

There are many ways to practice telemedicine, including as a full-time telemedicine physician, as a side gig, and as part of a medical practice that’s primarily brick-and-mortar.

Telemedicine is not just for treating URIs and telling mothers when to bring their babies to the ER. It can often take the place of in-person medical services for a diverse array of healthcare needs.

Primary care physicians can truly practice broad-based primary care remotely through the use of telemedicine. Or, they can practice within a niche such as travel medicine or providing birth control and PrEP.

Many types of specialists can practice specialty care, such as telepsychiatry, teleradiology, teledermatology, and remote neurological and ICU monitoring.

Telemedicine jobs might be a good fit if you:

  • Are comfortable with learning new technology and EHRs
  • Want to continue patient care as your main activity
  • Don’t mind juggling multiple state medical licenses

Physicians looking for full-time remote work shouldn’t limit their search to companies whose main line of business is telemedicine. Telemed companies such as Teladoc do hire physicians as permanent employees; however, it’s common for them to mainly depend on contracted physicians.

Healthcare organizations that use telemedicine to supplement or expand their other services are good places to look for remote work of this type.

2. Utilization review

Chart review jobs are a popular option for physicians seeking a career change. It is rewarding, flexible work that generally pays well. 

As with telemedicine, many chart review jobs come in the form of part-time or periodic contracted work and are best done as a side gig. But there are many full-time opportunities, as well.

Utilization review physicians are responsible for reviewing outpatient services and hospitalizations for medical necessity or appropriate level of care. Your assessment determines whether a service receives prior authorization or payment by an insurance company.

Physicians in this line of work may also be involved in peer-to-peer calls with clinicians, medical policy development, quality initiatives, and serving as a medical resource for the company’s clinical team.

Remote utilization review is a good fit for physicians who:

  • Enjoy medical decision-making, but don’t want to deliver direct clinical care
  • See the value provided by healthcare payor processes
  • Don’t mind somewhat repetitive, tedious work
  • Have board certification and an active license

3. Medical writing and communications

It’s not very difficult to find a remote medical writing job. One reason is that a large percentage of writing jobs are remote positions since writing can easily be done from home. The other main reason is that so many different types of companies hire medical writers, including medical communications agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and medical education providers.

Most positions do not require a medical degree, so the main drawback for most doctors is a lower salary compared to what they can make in clinical practice.

That said, because of your advanced degree, you may be asked to take on responsibilities outside of just writing, such as publication planning, high-level editing, and client communications. This may be accompanied by somewhat higher pay, and also presents more opportunities to use your breath of medical knowledge.

Medical writers often work under strict deadlines. Nonetheless, there is often significant flexibility in how you spend your days – as long as you consistently meet those deadlines.

I’ve come across a number of positions that allow for telecommuting but require being in the office periodically for meetings. This can be a great arrangement for physicians who crave human interaction from time to time.

A remote job in medical communications is suitable if:

  • You enjoy writing (of course)
  • A high salary isn’t your main motivator

4. Pharmaceutical medical affairs

Field-based medical affairs teams, which include medical science liaisons (MSLs), are made up of scientists and clinicians of diverse backgrounds, including PhDs, MDs, PharmDs, NPs, and more. MSLs are responsible for providing clinical and scientific information to healthcare professionals and the healthcare provider and payor communities.

Since MSLs spend a large portion of their days establishing and maintaining relationships, a lot of their time is spent at hospitals, academic medical centers, physician practices, and scientific conferences.

But, when not out in the field, MSLs typically work remotely.

Other medical affairs roles for some pharma companies that may be field-based and/or remote include medical advisors, medical directors, and scientific directors.

Consider a remote job as an MSL or similar position if:

  • You are outgoing and enjoy fostering relationships
  • You don’t mind traveling or being on the road
  • There is a particular pharmaceutical therapeutic area of interest to you

5. Physician advising

Physician advisors drive performance across healthcare organizations by communicating best practices for evidence-based care and its documentation to providers and other clinical staff.

They are also involved in matters regarding physician practice patterns, utilization of resources, medical necessity, documentation best practices, level of care progression, denial management, and compliance with governmental regulations and commercial insurance contracts.

As physician advisors are typically employed by a hospital or hospital system, most are required to work on-site. Nonetheless, there are remote positions out there if you search for them, especially for hospitals using third-party vendors for revenue cycle management services.

Remote physician advisor jobs are a great option if you:

  • Want to remain closely involved with actual patient care
  • Enjoy teaching other clinicians
  • Won’t mind that some clinicians don’t want you “interfering” with their work
  • Are open to either remote or hospital-based work

6. Clinical research services

Contract research organizations (CROs) are independent companies that conduct clinical trials to objectively evaluate investigational drugs. Some also offer medical affairs, drug safety, and other services for pharmaceutical companies.

A few examples include Parexel, IQVIA, and PRA Health Resources.

Physicians working for CROs often do so in the context of a medical director position in which they provide clinical expertise and leadership to support research and business development activities. They need to keep up-to-date within a therapeutic area and use this knowledge to contribute to investigator meeting presentations, review study documentation, oversee safety data reviews, and provide other types of clinical support.

Many jobs of this type have the flexibility to be remote. This is primarily due to the multi-center nature of clinical trials. In many cases, there is little benefit for medical directors to be based at the CRO’s office.

Look into a remote job with a CRO if you:

  • Enjoy research
  • Like the science of medicine and interpreting clinical data
  • Are comfortable being the medical expert on a team

7. Business consulting

Business consulting encompasses various types of consulting firms, including healthcare consulting, management consulting, and health IT consulting. What most firms have in common is that their consultants spend the majority of their time at client sites. These might be academic or community hospitals, healthcare payors, government facilities, or other organizations.

So, similar to field-based medical affairs jobs, business consulting jobs are somewhat less “remote” than the other job types listed here. Some consulting firms lack a work-from-home culture altogether. At other firms, consultants might spend four days per week at a client site, and then work the fifth day from home. Others might spend a few solid weeks at a client site, and then have a full week to work remotely.

Regardless of the exact type of consulting practice, physicians in business consulting evaluate a problem that a client organization has and work to recommend (and sometimes implement) a solution.

Business consulting is a good fit for physicians who:

  • Are willing and able to travel
  • Don’t mind putting in long days for client engagements
  • Can accept a salary that’s lower than clinical work (at least initially)

Conclusion

Physicians can do a huge variety of work remotely that is both relevant to their skills and necessary for patient care and the overall health of our population on a broad level.

These 7 remote physician jobs are just a sample of paths you can take to get away from the hospital, clinic, or office. There are plenty more types of work-from-home jobs available. To explore some, check out our job board and sign up for our weekly job opportunities digest – The Stampede.

Finally, get your resume ready for remote job applications with a resume overhaul.

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