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7 Ways to Get Started with Physician Consulting

Physician consulting is a great way for any doctors to start getting involved in side gigs. The bottom line is that there is a big need and companies are actively looking for physicians to help them. And there are a plethora of physicians looking to get into paid consulting gigs to leverage their medical knowledge and create a new stream of income.

If this is the reality though, why are so many doctors struggling to get into the system and get involved? In our Facebook group or through direct contact, there are always those asking me how I got started and how they can do the same.

physician consulting
Consulting the numbers…

With this in mind, I’d like to share 7 ways to start with physician consulting based on my experience doing the same!

(And yes, these opportunities exist for residents as well as attendings!)

7 ways to get started with physician consulting

Before getting into any exact opportunities, there will be a common theme here. And that theme is that you will be putting yourself out there.

I mention this up front because it is not always something that we as physicians are comfortable doing. I know I wasn’t always when I started pursing side gigs. Even when I started this blog, it was very uncomfortable putting myself out there. But as you go on, it feels more and more natural.

The reason this is important is because that’s what it takes to get into the system. Once you’ve done this, it becomes easier and easier to receive future opportunities.

With that said, let’s get into physician consulting opportunities!

1. Medical survey consulting

This is the easiest way to get started with physician consulting. Some physicians may look down on doing medical surveys. But I actually really enjoy them.

The basics are simple. You just sign up with one of the medical survey companies. My favorites and the only two that I participate with are M3 Global and InCrowd.

InCrowd offers short micro surveys of 5-10 minutes that pay in cash. M3 Global, on the other hand, offers full length surveys that can range from $300-500/hour. You can also negotiate your rate depending on the opportunity.

I use both of these frequently, which is a key. The more you use them and the more accurate your information in terms of areas of expertise, the more opportunities you will have.

I know some physicians who make tens of thousands of dollars using medical surveys.

Related Post:
Are Medical Surveys Worth It as a Side Gig?

They are also a great stepping stone to…

2. Virtual healthcare consulting

Once I got involved with medical surveys, I began to receive more and more opportunities for formal virtual healthcare consulting with various healthcare companies and third party facilitators.

Some of these opportunities came directly from M3 Global while others came from companies cold contacting me either via email or LinkedIn. Actually, through LinkedIn is where a remarkable number of these opportunities have started.

One of the companies that I have worked the closest with on this is L.E.K. Consulting and GLG Consulting.

In general, for these opportunities you can set your own rate. I set my rate at $500/hour. I came up with this number as it is the amount I felt comfortable losing an hour of my evening for. Some opportunities don’t match this and I pass them up. But this will be personal for everyone.

These consulting sessions generally take place over Zoom or over the phone.

3. Medical device or pharmaceutical consulting

This option is probably what most people think of with regards to physician consulting. This would include activities usually with a medical device company or a pharmaceutical company like:

  • Lecturing
  • Running sponsored trials
  • Helping with product development
  • Consulting on the medical landscape for products
  • Etc

Now there does exist a bit of a grey area here as working in such a capacity creates a bias that can have clinical and research implications. This does not mean that you should not take such an opportunity. If you truly believe in a device or drug or company and want to help, go for it. Just make sure your job is aware and that all proper disclosures are made.

Now comes the question of how to get in the door with these companies if you do have interest in this. The answer is that you need to put yourself out there and ask. In select cases, companies may approach you but this is not the norm.

So, if you do truly believe in a device, drug, or healthcare company and see yourself as a good fit to help them, then reach out and ask them to help. It may seem awkward but I can guarantee that there are tons of companies out there looking for your knowledge and willing to pay for it!

Just for full transparency, this is not an opportunity that I have pursued to this point.

4. Expert witness consulting

Guess what? Being an expert witness is 100% a consulting gig. You are consulting for an attorney or client who needs your expertise in the legal sense.

This is an opportunity that again usually starts off by you reaching out or cold responding to an opportunity. You can also just reach out to various law firms to let them know of your interest and expertise.

Once you get started and if you do a good job, you are very likely to get asked to help more and more in the future.

Again, I have not done this to this point but know many who have very successfully.

A great resource to learn more is SEAK.

5. Medical chart consulting

Another name for this would be medical chart review for various healthcare organizations.

Again, this is an gig where you can set your own rate in general.

How can you identify potential opportunities? You guessed it! Cold reaching out or searching databases like Advanced Medical ReviewSEAK, or Best Doctors to get started.

Then, once your foot is in the door, you will find more and more gigs coming to you directly!

6. Consulting with insurance companies

This may initially cause a bad taste in your mouth but the truth is that insurance companies are a present reality of our healthcare systems. (Something that we may be able to change with a nation of financially free physicians!)

Give the present reality, it is necessary for insurance companies to have access to good, compassionate, and smart physicians to help with their reviews. And currently, there is a big need for this and the compensation is very good.

Same as with all of the other opportunities, your best bet is to reach out and ask. NAIRO is a good place to start.

7. Consult with other physicians

This can take a variety of forms:

  • Coaching other physicians
  • Taking part time opportunities within healthcare administration
  • Consulting with other practices to optimize patient acquisition or the business side of running as practice
  • Teaching physicians a new skill
  • Basically helping doctors or the healthcare system with any unique expertise that you have and they want!

There is no limit here! You can work to identify any area of need or want for other doctors and use your expertise to help them.

I know doctors who help other practices run better as a consultant. There are others who consult with hospital systems to reduce waste. Jimmy Turner does an amazing job coaching other physicians with burnout with his Alpha Coaching Experience.

In a roundabout way you even could make the argument that I consult broadly with physicians to help improve financial well-being!

Once you identify a niche and identify your passion to help other doctors, don’t stop. Keep looking for opportunities and letting others know what you can offer!

Is a physician consulting gig right for you?

As I’ve shared above, I personally take advantage of many of these opportunities and use consulting as one of my alternative streams of income.

So I do believe that physician consulting is a viable and worthwhile side gig for physicians. It is also much more accessible than I believed prior to actually pursing it. Before getting involved, I thought it was just lucky that some doctors got these gigs while the majority of us did not.

However, I hope I have shown that the real key to becoming a physician consultant is to be creative in identifying opportunities and steadfast in pursing them. Just like the real estate flywheel, once you get started here, things will continue to build!

Looking for other physician side gig opportunities? Here are some great resources!

What do you think? Have you considering physician consulting? What has your experience been? How did you identify opportunities? Let us know in the comments below!

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    Jordan Frey MD, a plastic surgeon in Buffalo, NY, is one of the fastest-growing physician finance bloggers in the world. See how he went from financially clueless to increasing his net worth by $1M in 1 year and how you can do the same! Feel free to send Jordan a message at [email protected]

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