I get it. The world of medicine is changing rapidly and you want to keep up so you can meet the needs of your patients. It can be daunting to dip your toes in the telemedicine waters for the first time. How do you explain to a patient what a telemedicine visit is if you've never had any experience? What telemedicine CPT codes should you be using in 2020? How do you know what is the best telemedicine company to work for to meet your needs?
Fear not, we're here to help!
Finding a fulfilling telemedicine position can not only supplement your income, it can also be a reliable source of income for the recently retired, those on maternity/paternity leave, those caring for elderly or infirm relatives, homeschooling children, or those transitioning between jobs.
If you're new to the space, here are a couple of things you should consider before joining a telemedicine company:
1.) Are they providing malpractice insurance?
It seems like every week a new telemedicine company is being launched. Some are cash rich companies with Series A investors and big name venture capitalists backing them while others are boot-strapped companies of a much smaller scale. Generally speaking, most of the big name telemedicine companies that you’re familiar with provide free malpractice insurance to providers. Some even with tail coverage to protect you for years after the fact. If the company you’re looking at doesn’t provide malpractice insurance, see if they’re providing any ancillary benefits such as higher compensation so you can get your own. Although it can seem confusing with so many companies, you can actually tailor this to your advantage. If you already have telemedicine exclusive malpractice insurance, you may benefit from looking at those companies that don't provide it upfront but that may provide you with that higher compensation. Generally speaking, telemedicine exclusive malpractice insurance is generally much more affordable than standard malpractice insurance.
2.) Are you being paid per consult or per hour?
Some positions may advertise very lucrative hourly pay running into the hundreds of dollars per hour range. Although such offers may look very attractive, make sure you dig a little bit below the surface. Some of these advertised compensation rates are calculated based on you seeing 10-15+ consults per hour. A position you don’t want is one that utilizes your hard earned medical license to just write prescription after prescription for patients that you don’t know. Remember, these are still patients under your care and you are liable for everything you write. Make sure you’re comfortable with the work you’re doing and with the quality of care you’re providing. Compensation isn’t everything if you're potentially putting your license at risk.
3.) Are you licensed in the same state the patients are in?
Make sure you have a medical license in the state they’re sending you patients from. Some telemedicine companies that are just starting out may be lax on their due diligence in regards to where they’re sending you patients from and making sure you’re actually licensed to see those patients. A lot of companies also are interested in providers with licenses in multiple states that can work in multiple time zones. The more flexible you are in the geographical distribution of patients you can see the more attractive you are as a candidate to telemedicine companies. Some will even sponsor your licensure in states where they have high patient demand.
4.) Can you work at will?
One of the greatest selling points of being in telemedicine is having a flexible schedule and the freedom that it provides. If you’re ok working a regular 9-5 job, just remotely, there are some available full-time positions with benefits out there for you. Ideally, just be honest with yourself in terms of what you’re looking for. Some companies have minimum requirements of hours per day, week, or month that they ask you to work for. Make sure you can actually fulfill those requirements before you sign on the dotted line. Some companies may only provide malpractice coverage if you work a certain number of hours per week. Just make sure you ask when interviewing with them!
Telemedicine can be a powerful tool in providing patient care and preventing physician burnout when you find the right opportunity. We hope some of these tips have proven helpful in your search for your next telemedicine job. Good luck in your search and be sure to reach out if you need help finding your next telemedicine opportunity! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org