Despite being highly compensated professionals, there are numerous sensible reasons that physicians and advanced practice providers seek out sources of income in addition to their day jobs. These include wanting to pay off student debt, supplement their income as residents, or reach financial independence more quickly. Physician side gigs are a great way to help meet financial goals.
But a lot of the options aren’t feasible for many doctors. Some side work has tough qualifications. Chart review requires specialization and ample clinical experience, for example. Clinical side gigs are essentially second jobs, requiring a set schedule and, unless it’s telemedicine, being physically present at a clinic.
This article describes five physician side gigs that have low barriers to entry and a lot of flexibility.
Almost any physician or practitioner can do these. No specific medical training or certification is needed. No particular type or length of clinical experience is required.
These physician side gigs can be done on your own time, from your own home. Some require meeting with clients, but you’re in charge of the schedule. None of them necessitate that you work out of an office or storefront.
You won’t depend on another company to send you work. Some side gigs sound promising but fail to deliver. Making money from completing surveys, for instance, requires that you actually receive and qualify for surveys. The income you earn from chart reviews is dependent on how many reviews a company sends you. For the five side gigs below, you run the business and have control over how much work you take on.
Copywriting, SEO, and social media management for medical practices
There are over 230,000 physician practices in the US, and hundreds of thousands of more non-physician practices, such as physical therapy and chiropractic practices. Most of them need or want a presence on the web.
Other types of health-related businesses, such as weight loss centers, fitness facilities, counseling services, and home health agencies, need health and medical content on their websites for marketing purposes, as well.
Physicians can use their knowledge of the healthcare industry to write the content for practice websites, as well as manage practices’ social media accounts. Search engine optimization (or SEO) within this niche is a closely related service that most medical practice owners and providers don’t want to take the time to do themselves.
Here’s an example of a physician with a medical practice copywriting business
Blended Element is a digital marketing company run by a physician. It offers copywriting for the websites of health professionals as well as those in the self-development and personal care fields. Her services include:
- Overall medical content strategy
- Website copywriting
- Blog post writing
- Web and social media graphics
- Online patient education materials
Physician and advanced practice licensing services
Applying for a state medical license requires a lot of paperwork and attention to detail. You have to make sure you send exactly the right information or you risk rejection. Many medical professionals despise the licensing process.
And yet, obtaining multiple state medical licenses becoming increasingly popular as telemedicine becomes more widely used. This has led to a market for physician and advanced practice licensing services.
In this type of business or side gig, the physician passes along relevant information to the licensing service provider, who then completes every aspect of the application that can be done by a third party. The physician, of course, still needs to get the application notarized, get fingerprinted, and sign some papers.
Being familiar with different state requirements and completing a lot of license applications makes the process more efficient. It’s a big timesaver – and headache saver – for the physician.
Licensing services can take their offerings one step further by also doing insurance enrollments and credentialing services for hospitals.
Examples of physician licensing services
Medical school admissions consulting
Aspiring medical students are willing to pay a hefty amount for any service that increases their chances of medical school acceptance. This includes MCAT prep materials, tutoring for prerequisite courses, and a new suit for interviews. Many will also pay for medical school admissions consulting services.
Having been through the med school application process ourselves, physicians are in a great position to offer advice, feedback, and application assistance to prospective med students.
Physicians pursuing this type of work as a side gig can offer specific services, such as personal statement reviews. However, a more lucrative option is a comprehensive package that includes several consulting services such as:
- An evaluation of the student’s candidacy
- Essay review and editing
- Mock interviews
- Guidance on medical school selection
- Coaching sessions
Consultants with a good track record of clients achieving med school acceptance can really make a name for themselves in this niche.
An example of a physician who’s also a medical school admissions consultant
Tania Heller, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician that runs an independent medical school admissions consultancy – Tania Heller Consulting, LLC.
EHR and medical practice software advising and implementation services
Physicians with a knack for new technologies can be quite successful with a side gig in EHR and medical software consulting.
EHRs are a source of frustration for physicians – either because they aren’t tech-savvy, they haven’t had sufficient training on how to use the EHR, or their practice is using an EHR that isn’t a great fit for them. Much of this frustration can be addressed by bringing in assistance from someone with both a medical background and expertise in EHRs and other healthcare software.
This type of consulting can include advising medical practices and hospitals on:
- Selecting the right EHR or other product for their needs
- Implementation planning
- Product customizations
- Developing templates and other tools for providers
Consultants can also offer in-person training and support during EHR implementation. Any physician who has used the EHR in their own practice or training is equipped to offer this type of assistance.
Those with significant IT knowledge can also offer services related to data migration, safety and security, interfacing, and other needs that accompany EHRs.
Here’s a physician who started an EHR consulting company as a med student
The EHR consulting company MedDocLive was started by fourth-year medical students who saw a need for clinician-led support during EHR transitions.
Physician reputation and online presence management
Online reputation is a fairly new concern for medical professionals that comes with mixed feelings. Positive patient reviews are a great marketing tool. But, on the other hand, bad online reviews can negatively impact a physician’s practice.
Managing an online presence is something that many physicians don’t want to take the time to do. Others simply don’t know how or don’t know where to start.
Online reputation management can be offered as a service by using various techniques and strategies that ensure potential patients are finding the right information when they search for a physician online. When done well, the result can counteract any false or misleading reviews and improve search engine results.
Real-life example of reputation management as a physician side gig
RepMD is a great example of a reputation management service that’s specifically geared toward healthcare professionals. It was started by a physician – Mike Woo-Ming, MD, MPH – and therefore offers the benefit of understanding the medical field and how negative reviews and a poor online image can affect medical practices. Dr. Woo-Ming’s company offers:
- Monitoring of rating and review sites
- Assistance in collecting and posting positive patient experiences online
- Control of online information and reviews
A few considerations
There are just a handful of examples of the many physician side gigs that don’t require specific training or credentials, and that allows for flexibility and earning extra income from home. They do, however, require that you essentially run your own business (even if it’s done as a sole propiertorship). This means work upfront, but it pays off down the road.
As opposed to some side gigs in which another company pays you for an hour of your time or a set fee for a project, these hustles let you call the shots. It may take a while to ramp up your services, but in the end, you’re in control of the fees you charge, the clients you take on, and the exact consulting services you offer.