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Side Gigs for Gastroenterologists

We see lots of requests for side gig ideas by specific specialities on our online physician communities. We continue our series of unique side gigs by specialty with side gigs for gastroenterologists. 

Gastroenterologists are generally amongst the better paid specialists in our communities, and also have quite a bit of after hours responsibilities given the call. Therefore, we don’t tend to see as many posts asking about side gigs for GI physicians, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist! Many of our gastroenterologists are active participants on our side gigs databases, engaging in consulting work, paid medical surveys, expert witness work, and otherwise. There’s also many gastroenterologists who are active in the physician influencer realm. GI issues affect so many patients, and so opportunities for content development are ripe. Additionally, with the growth of obesity medicine, there are many side gig options in this realm as well. Below, we’ll explore these in more depth.  


If you're not a gastroenterologist and want to learn more about side gigs for your specific specialty, check out our side gigs page, which lists side gig ideas for different specialties. If your specialty hasn’t been featured yet, follow the series on Instagram, where we roll out new specialties weekly.


Unique side gig ideas for gastroenterologists


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Unique Side Gigs for Gastroenterologists



Consulting



As mentioned above, we’ve seen a lot of interest in doing consulting work amongst our gastroenterologists on our consulting databases for physicians. These positions tend to pay well and don’t require additional expertise, so they’re perfect for busy physicians for whom those two qualities are important. Because of the amount of drugs in this space, the huge total addressable market of health conditions, and the device use in the procedural space, there are often lots of companies who need feedback in this space. Many gastroenterologists report earning $350-$1000/hour doing this sort of work, with outliers for those with niche expertise or brands in this space.




Medical surveys



If you want maximal flexibility, even above consulting roles that require that you set aside set times, or want to make a little bit of extra money in between cases, medical surveys may be the right side gig for you. There is no commitment, and you just respond to survey invitations when available. Be aware that you may get screened out and that these virtual and flexible options that usually mostly involve clicking buttons or short answers are not likely to pay you at your hourly consulting rate, so read this article to see if doing paid medical surveys is worth it for you. However, amongst physicians, gastroenterologists are amongst the highest paid and most sought out in medical survey opportunities. Many companies that do market research surveys are actively seeking gastroenterologists.




Startup advising or medical directors for startups



There is currently so much going on in the startup world for gastroenterologists. So many people suffer from GI related issues or obesity and weight management, and therefore, many startup companies are looking to create products and services in this space. The total addressable market is huge. We often have companies looking for medical directors or advisors in this space through our physician side gigs databases.  This can be a really exciting opportunity to get involved with healthcare innovation, and is often intriguing to those who are motivated to be a part of change. Additionally, it offers the potential of equity within a startup, which could pay off big time if the startup is successful. If you’re looking to get your own organic outreach from companies who may need your services, put some time into branding yourself by posting your thoughts on places like LinkedIn. 


Learn more about:



Locums or call coverage



If you do happen to have the time as a full time gastroenterologist, or if you work part time, you can almost certainly find opportunities to do locums or moonlight locally. Given the heavy burden of call in this specialty, there are always groups that have both short term and long term needs. Pay for these positions may vary depending on both the location as well as what the volume and complexity you are expected to handle is. The more flexible you are and the more you’re willing to do, the more lucrative these positions can be. Make sure you search our locums compensation and information database to see examples of what gastroenterologists are getting paid and where so that you have an idea of what to expect.




Investing in an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC)



For gastroenterologists that are looking to increase the number of revenue streams that they have, this is a great additional income stream. Not only can it be relatively passive depending on the degree that you have to get involved in management, it’s a nice way to tie your day job in with an additional source of income. Being offered ownership in many ASCs is often contingent upon also bringing volume to that ASC, and this can be an attractive way to get a piece of the non-professional fees that go along with the procedures you’d be performing anyways.


A word of caution - many groups, including private equity, are very interested in this space. It’s important to look at the books of a potential ASC investment and make sure that it really is a good investment. This will include reviewing overhead, utilization rates, and more.




Obesity medicine



As weight loss options increase, and particularly with the rise and demand for weight loss medications, many physicians are starting to consider pursuing careers or side gigs in obesity medicine. While ABOM certification is not necessary, it is a route considered by many. This may be to better serve existing patients, develop ancillary private practice income streams within their existing practices, or to dive deeper into side gigs or even main gigs exclusively focused in obesity medicine. Many practices in this field are cash pay practices or offer an opportunity to practice medicine in a different way. As a gastroenterologist, you are already very familiar with a lot of this material, and therefore, side gigs in this realm may not require as much of a learning curve as some other specialties. 




Weight management or nutrition coaching



Piggybacking off of the obesity medicine certification and incorporating that into clinical practice, one angle many physicians have taken is that of being a coach. It’s important and sometimes tricky to make a distinction between your role as a physician and a coach, and a lawyer can help you with how to make sure this is crystal clear.


You likely already have many contacts within the space, from nutritionists to others. If you could bring together a team of people to offer valuable services or information, you may be able to add your own unique spin to this space. 




Medical device development



Some gastroenterologists also have an entrepreneurial spirit that they like to combine with their day job. You may have an idea of your own to create something that would make your procedures easier for yourself or your patients. As you know this space better than anyone as you live and breathe the use of these devices, and you have some interest in the business side of things, an engineering background, or some other relevant experience, skillset, or interest, there’s no reason it can’t be you that actually creates the prototype for a new medical device. The thing to know here is that it can be a true labor of love to get a product to market. There is no tried and true pathway to success, and it  involves a combination of perseverance and luck on multiple levels, from coming up with a product idea that’s in demand to clinical trials and patents, and then actually marketing it and getting hospitals and other organizations to purchase it. There are several different pathways you could take, though, and it doesn’t have to be you that does every piece of the process.


Learn more about medical product development.



Clinical trials



Whenever there is drug development, there are opportunities for clinical research and clinical trials, and pharmaceutical companies need feedback from clinicians and patients as they go through the drug development pathway. In a field that’s constantly evolving with new technology as well as having procedures that are done in conjunction with other fields, there are lots of opportunities to be involved in clinical research and trials. While major academic medical centers and pharmaceutical companies conduct a lot of clinical research, you don’t have to be employed by these entities if you’re interested in this side hustle. Opportunities exist to bring clinical research trials into your community, which makes this a great alternative-income generating side gig for physicians running a medical practice. It’s  also a great way to  advance medical innovation while offering new treatment options. 




Influencer or content creator



There are several prominent gastroenterologists in this space, and their content tends to be very popular amongst patients and Instagram scrollers alike. So many non-physicians have created brands in this space, but you’re likely amongst the most qualified to create content on gut health, nutrition, IBD, IBS, weight loss, and more. If you’re outgoing enough to create some content on the frequently asked questions you see in your clinics or that you get from your friends or other parents at your kids’ birthday parties, you’ll likely see that people are interested in consuming the content!


This can be spun in many different ways, and you can create revenue streams from related sponsorships and brand partnerships, course creation, and more. 


Learn more about:



Second opinion services



Ask any patient who’s had a GI issue, and they probably can’t get enough time to ask all of their questions in a clinical setting due to the nature of today’s healthcare landscape. Because these issues cause real disruptions in patients lives, they can be very stressful. Given the host of therapeutic options offered to patients, they may seek a second (and sometimes third and even fourth) opinion before deciding on the course of action that works best for them. With techniques and research continually evolving, even other physicians are always looking to keep up on the latest options.


By offering second opinion services, you can provide another data point for patients to make an informed decision after reviewing their patient records and their treatment options. You may help the patient feel more confident in their current doctor’s recommendations, or may be able to offer new insights to help provide alternatives that could be better for their situation. 


Depending on your area of expertise, you could provide these services virtually or in person. The potential to do this virtually and after hours adds increased flexibility versus some of the other medical side hustles we’ve recommended above. This can also expand the reach of patients you’re able to help versus your clinical job. Depending on the patient’s specific situation, time sensitivity may come into play, so keep that in mind when developing your schedule for this side gig.



Expert witness



Whenever there are procedures or oncology involved in a field, there will always be cases where things go wrong, often at no fault of the physician. If you’re interested in getting involved in expert witness work, it can be extremely lucrative, with many gastroenterologists getting paid over $500/hour (and sometimes even over $1000 per hour, per our data in our expert witness database).



The other nice thing about expert witness work is that it doesn’t require acquiring additional expertise - you already have it! 


Many gastroenterologists get involved in this work because they are approached by a lawyer who finds them in relation to a particular case. If they like it, they may let the lawyer that’s involved know they’re interested in more or start networking more widely. 


Be warned that if you are going to do a lot of this, you’ll have to get comfortable with testifying for both the defense and the plaintiff, as the opposing side will be quick to discredit you as a witness if you only ever defend physicians. This work isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoy it, you can scale this business up quite a bit just by branding and networking. And of course, join our expert witness database (members only).




Utilization management or chart review work



It may surprise you to know that lots of utilization management companies are looking for gastroenterologists. Then again, if you’re in gastroenterology and you’re used to filling out a lot of prior authorizations and having to do peer to peers to get your patients the procedures and drugs that they need, you’re likely not surprised at all. Given how expensive these can be, there is a lot of incentive on the part of payers and hospital systems to ensure that resources are being allocated appropriately. Therefore, if you decide to pick up some utilization management work either on the side or eventually as a full time gig, you will likely find the job market receptive to you. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to pay close to what gastroenterologists typically make on an hourly basis, so be aware of that.




Non-medical side gigs such as real estate, venture capital, or franchises



There’s no reason why your side gig has to be medical. Real estate and other investment options such as venture capital or angel investing


As physicians in gastroenterologists tend to be amongst the best compensated physicians from a salary and compensation standpoint, many gastroenterologists find that they have excess income to invest aside from their retirement accounts. This offers a nice opportunity to allow your saved money to make more money for you. 


One thing that many physicians, GIs or not, like investing in is real estate. This can be done passively via real estate syndications, or more actively via short term rentals, mid term rentals, or long term rentals. There are many advantages to investing in real estate as a physician, including tax advantages you wouldn’t otherwise have access to, like the ability to write off depreciation and other expenses against your physician income if you or your significant other qualifies for real estate professional status.


Additionally, one benefit to having excess money is being able to take a little more risk for the chance of larger returns. We’ve seen many gastroenterologists get involved in venture capital or angel investing, where you can invest in up and coming companies or ideas, and if they make it big, often make many multiples of the amount originally invested. Remember though, you must be prepared to lose it all, as many (read, most) startups fail.


Other options for businesses you can invest in as a silent investor include franchises. 


Learn more:



Additional resources for gastroenterologists



While we’ve outlined above some common side gig ideas, 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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