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Side Gigs for Family Medicine Physicians

Family Medicine physicians and other doctors in primary care fields are some of the most amazing and needed physicians in the country - and also unfortunately can be amongst the most underappreciated from a financial standpoint. We’ve seen many requests for ideas for side hustles for family medicine doctors in both our Physician Side Gigs Facebook group and our Physician Community Facebook group. We continue our series of unique side gigs by specialty with side gigs for family medicine and other physicians in primary care fields. 


The versatile training and skillsets of family medicine doctors allow them to participate in a wide variety of side gigs, and therefore, we’d also encourage family medicine physicians to check out our dedicated pages on side gigs for pediatricians, side gigs for OB-GYNs, and side gigs for emergency medicine physicians for areas of overlap and some additional niche options.


If you're not a family medicine physician and want to learn more about side gigs for your specific specialty, check out our section on physician side gigs by specialty. If your specialty hasn’t been featured yet, follow the series on Instagram, where we’ve featured more specialties.



Unique side gigs for family medicine doctors


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Side Gigs For Family Medicine Physicians


Telemedicine 


The number of companies in the telemedicine space for primary care issues has been increasing steadily over the last few years, and come in several different models. This could involve synchronous care where you see patients about particular issues and engage with them much in the same way as you would in the office, as well as asynchronous telemedicine, where information is submitted by the patient virtually and then reviewed by a physician, who then will send a plan or approve a desired medication to the patient after they’ve had a chance to go over the information.

 

Several large, national telemedicine companies hire family medicine physicians as employees on a full-time and part-time basis, as well as on a contractor basis. Some will pay by the hour, some will pay by encounter, and others will have salaried positions. Some will guarantee a certain amount of volume and others will not.


They provide the platform on which you see patients, coordinate payments, and many will even offer malpractice insurance. You should confirm the actual malpractice coverage, including tail insurance. This is particularly important for family medicine physicians doing this as a side gig, as many companies in this space are startups, and it’s not worth being left on the hook to pay tail insurance if you only earned a small amount of money with them. 


While the pay will generally be lower per patient encounter than if you had set up your own telemedicine practice, this could offer you the opportunity to use your medical knowledge in a relatively flexible way and earn some extra cash outside of your employed day job. 


Telemedicine companies vary widely in compensation and requirements, so explore several options to find the best fit.


Learn more



Consulting and Startup Advising 


As access to care becomes a bigger issue and as primary care needs increase across the country given an aging population that’s living longer with chronic disease, there are so many companies looking to innovate within the primary care space, whether it be in the realm of telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, new apps which serve niche areas where there a need, value based care, or otherwise.

These companies need the experience of the clinicians who are on the ground to give them feedback on what will be effective and what actually moves the needle in addressing the problems that need to be solved. 


This offers family medicine physicians the opportunity to help change medicine on a much larger level than one on one patient care, and can be a fulfilling addition to your day job.


You could either delve into this space on one time or individual consulting projects, or you could join companies more formally in the role of a startup advisor.


Learn more



Physician Advisor Roles


As a family medicine physician, depending on your practice environment, you may be very familiar with the inpatient environment. Large healthcare organizations as well as third party companies are often in need of physician advisors to help serve as a go between between hospital systems and clinicians.  In this role, you can utilize your clinical knowledge and knowledge of inpatient medicine to help improve care for patients as well as improve the experience for your colleagues in inpatient medicine.  


Learn more



Nursing Home Medicine, Residential Assisted Living Facilities, Correctional Facilities, and other Medical Directorships


As a physician that is well versed in everything from pediatrics to geriatrics, you offer a valuable skillset to long term care facilities, such as residential assisted living facilities, nursing homes, correctional facilities, and special needs housing. These facilities often need an attending physician on staff to help care for their residents. Different roles exist, such as being a medical director or being the actual attending physician that regularly provides care for things that can be treated without having to send a resident to the hospital. 


Many physicians find these roles very gratifying, as they offer an opportunity to work with underserved patient populations in a fulfilling way outside of the hustle and bustle of office based work, as well as bring in expertise into a setting that can preclude this population from having to seek care in an inpatient setting. This avoids so many of the complications family medicine physicians are accustomed to seeing, such as deconditioning, opportunistic infections, or having other complications that can stem from prolonged hospital stays. The pateints (as well as their families) are very appreciative of avoiding the disruptions to daily life that inpatient care can result in, and also appreciate the ability to raise concerns and get treatment in a convenient and safe way.


These positions are often readily available online through job boards. Make sure you check in weekly with our Physicians Side Gigs or Physician Community Facebook groups as well, as we post job opportunities on our physician job board in our weekly recaps.



Patient Care Navigator/Advocate or Concierge Medicine


Nobody knows how to navigate the medical system better than physicians in primary care specialties. This offers a unique opportunity to offer services to families who want and/or need more guidance with their medical issues. Many of these patients are willing to pay someone to help them navigate their care, which may include going through results in more detail, attending doctor’s appointments, working with their specialists to navigate care, or visiting them in the hospital during hospital admissions.


It’s important to have appropriate malpractice and stay within the standard of care. One of the challenges of concierge medicine is the fine line between trying to make medical care as convenient and personalized for your clients while still insisting that protocols are followed so that things aren’t missed. You may also need to set some boundaries, as patients paying for concierge level services may expect more availability than you’re willing to give, so make sure that you set expectations according to what you are willing to give.



Chart Review


Chart review side gigs come in many different forms, depending on your particular interests and specialty. Opportunities include:

  • Utilization review or utilization management for insurance 

  • Determining risk for life insurance policies

  • Evaluating medical necessity for health insurance claims


As a family medicine physician, you are no stranger to prior authorizations, and are very familiar with evidence based algorithms and guidelines, as well as referral patterns. You therefore offer a valuable skillset in these arenas. 


These positions will vary in time commitment, pay, and flexibility, and it’s worth doing your research into different options. Often times, the least advertised ones are the ones that can pay more, so it’s worth taking the time to dig around with lesser known companies and see if you can find a job with the flexibility or pay that works best for you. 


Learn more



Locums, Moonlighting, and Urgent Care


If you aren’t burnt out on the clinical side and looking to bring in additional income using your clinical skills, moonlighting or locum tenens obvious ways to make physician level income, which is a nice feature not all side gigs offer.  


These opportunities can vary in commitment, flexibility, and intensity. You may be able to pick up extra call within your group, moonlight as a hospitalist or in an urgent care setting, or work in unique settings such as an event medicine physician.


Make sure you check your malpractice insurance coverage for your locums or moonlighting work, especially if you pick up shifts as a location other than your regular employer. 


Learn more



Expert Witness Work


As a family medicine physician, you’ve seen it all, and have likely interfaced with situations where things have gone wrong. Often times, physicians in primary care fields serve as the patient’s initial interaction with the healthcare field, and these physicians may unfortunately get drawn into litigation. In these situations, expert witnesses are often sought out to weigh in on standard of care, referral patterns, and management issues. 


Expert witness work is a favorite in our communities as it is both flexible and pays very well. For most physicians in primary care specialties, the pay here is significantly more than what most family medicine physicians make on an hourly basis, with rates for physician expert witnesses often being $300/hour or more. As an expert witness, you will work with malpractice attorneys to evaluate cases and give your medical opinions about whether the standard of care was followed, and whether there is grounds for a lawsuit. You may get involved in testimony and depositions. 


Learn more



Medical Surveys


Paid medical surveys for physicians are often mentioned in our physician communities as being amongst the most flexible side gigs. While this is true, note that as a family medicine doctor, there aren’t as many companies seeking research in developing drugs, etc as in some other specialties, so opportunities can be limited. You should view these as more bonus money than a steady income stream. If you want to maximize your chances of getting opportunities, sign up for several paid medical survey companies.


Learn more



Medical Writing and/or Content Creation


Content is king these days, and with all the companies vying for clicks in this space as well as all the patients using Dr. Google to seek information about their health, there are lots of opportunities for medical writing. There’s also lots of other modes of distributing content these days such as social media, YouTube, or TikTok. Lots of physicians make money as physician influencers, so if you are extroverted enough to go this route, consider that route!


Obviously, you could also try non-medical writing if you love writing!


Learn more 



Coaching (Either for Other Physicians or in Unique Niches Related to Family Medicine)


Unfortunately, physicians in primary care specialties often have some of the highest rates of burnout amongst physicians, so you’re likely familiar with many of the contributing factors to burnout, whether they be charting, patient satisfaction scores, the pressure to do more with less resources, or otherwise. 


This puts you in a great position to be a sympathetic ear, as well as a problem solver, for colleagues in the same position. 


Additionally, you are in a great position to coach patient populations that are frustrated with common problems you are likely very familiar with, such as sleep or lactation consulting. We cover these in more detail in our side gigs for pediatricians article. 


There are several specialized certifications that you can pursue related to each of these. Although they are not necessary, formal training can add to your credentials and give you more credibility. It’s also a valuable way to start thinking a little less as physician and a little more as a coach, as the skillset and mindset for each of these, though overlapping, are not the same. 


You could even create courses related to these areas of coaching expertise, which can give you some opportunities for that ever popular passive income!


Learn more



Medicine School Preceptor or Clerkship Director for Other Healthcare Professionals


A nice way to make some extra cash as a family medicine physician is by offering shadowing or clerkship opportunities. With so many specialties and healthcare professionals interfacing with family medicine, many trainees rotate through family medicine offices. Many of these schools will pay a stipend, which is an added bonus on top of the fulfilling aspect of training the next generation of healthcare professionals. It may also offer you some 1099 income, which you can then utilize for some of the deductions available to you as a 1099 physician, many of which are not available from your W2 income.



Additional Resources for Family Medicine Physicians Looking For Side Gigs


While we’ve outlined above some common side gig ideas for family medicine physicians, there’s always room for creativity. If there’s something you’re passionate about and good at, look for ways to monetize it!


Dive deeper into some of the side gigs featured above, including:


You can also explore the following to learn more about our:

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