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Side Gigs for Oncologists

Over the years, we’ve seen requests for side hustle ideas for oncologists in our Physician Side Gigs Facebook group. We continue our series of unique side gigs by specialty with side gigs for oncologists. While some non-medical side gigs are accessible to all, career-adjacent side hustles can be an easier way to catch a few extra hours of work, adding a quick and relatively easy alternative income stream.


If you're not an oncologist and want to learn more about side gigs for your specific specialty, check out our page of side gig ideas for different specialties. If your specialty hasn’t been featured yet, follow the series on Instagram, where we’ve featured more specialties. We highlight side hustles for a different subgroup of doctors each week!


Summary of unique side gigs for oncologists covered below


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Side Gigs For Oncologists 


Consulting 


Rapid advancements in oncology have many life science and pharmaceutical companies seeking expertise and opinions about related research and development. These biotech, biopharma, and medtech companies need medical professionals to help guide their efforts not just during the development phase, but also in study design, testing, and go to market strategies. As such, these companies often reach out to oncologists for opinions via consulting opportunities.


This side hustle is liked by oncologists because it allows them to help their patients on a larger level, and be part of a process that will ultimately help patient treatment and better their care. Your unique skill set and education can help facilitate a collaborative approach between pharmaceutical companies and physicians and other healthcare professionals while helping you expand your professional network and horizons. These opportunities tend to pay very well, often at $350+/hour, and can be flexible around your clinical responsibilities.


If you love the idea of consulting but are looking for a long-term opportunity with a particular company whose research and products excite you, you could also use consulting as a gateway to transition into a bigger role at the company, such as being a physician on the advisory board. You will likely need to network and build up a reputation before these opportunities become available, as these positions are often offered to known entities or key opinion leaders. These consulting roles can also lead to an eventual transition to a nonclinical career


Learn more


Pharmaceutical Speaking


For oncologists without a fear of public speaking, pharmaceutical speaking engagements are another great way to put your medical knowledge and experience to work as a side hustle.


Speaking opportunities exist at:

  • industry events hosted by pharmaceutical companies

  • conferences, such as ones hosted by professional associations

  • symposia


 To build up your credentials for this side gig, consider reaching out to relevant drug reps and let them know that you’re interested in speaking.


Speaking allows you the opportunity to educate the public or your fellow clinicians while networking for potential collaborations with others in the healthcare and healthtech industries. Other physician speakers can attest to how many follow-up requests you can gain from speaking engagements.


You’ll also be able to help establish yourself as a thought leader in the field, especially if you carve out a particular niche you’re passionate about. This could lead to many other opportunities in the side gig or nonclinical job realms.


Generally speaking opportunities for pharmaceutical companies pay a few thousand per gig, although this could vary depending on your field, travel, and other factors.


Learn more


Medical Surveys


Paid medical surveys are a favorite for maximum flexibility among our physician community members. While some other specialties complain that they don’t get many opportunities, there are a lot of options for oncologists, and if you enjoy doing these, you’ll likely be able to make quite a bit of extra cash.  


These surveys tend to range from a few minutes in time to about 45 minutes, depending on the depth the survey goes into. Compensation will also vary accordingly, but most medical surveys pay oncologists a few dollars per minute.


We do like to warn doctors ahead of time about the screening process, as it is our most common complaint for this side hustle. While some companies offer points or a small honorarium if you are screened out, you unfortunately typically don’t get paid for your time doing the screener if this happens.


With the number of medical survey opportunities available for oncologists, we recommend exploring the different paid medical survey opportunities we have listed and sign-up with a few different companies. If you find yourself consistently getting screened out, make a mental note of which surveys you get selected for, and target those types for your future applications.


Clinical Research


Clinical research is critical to furthering the development of new therapies, especially for cancer research and treatments. 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.


By participating in clinical research, you get to help advance medical innovation while offering new treatment options for patients whom current treatments aren’t suitable for. Your patients may thank you for the extra options and access to experimental therapies. The novel approaches available through clinical trials could result in potential life-changing outcomes for your patients who are in need of additional therapeutic options, and therefore many oncologists appreciate the opportunity to get involved in this space.


As an added bonus, compensation for these roles can add up to a substantial income stream. 


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Chart Review


Chart review side hustles come in many different forms, depending on your speciality and your particular interests. Opportunities can include:

  • Utilization review or utilization management (determination of medical necessity)

  • Expert witness work

  • Reviewing disability claims

  • Underwriting for insurance companies


If the thought of pharmaceutical speaking made you want to hide, this side gig might be a better option. Depending on your schedule and the type of chart review you’re interested in, these opportunities might be a little more difficult from a flexibility and time commitment standpoint, but given the demand for oncologists in this space, you may have luck finding a position that allows you to do as much or as little as you want.  If you happen to be working as a locums physician, you may be a great fit for the positions that require a larger time commitment. We recommend visiting our chart review for physicians page to explore the different options to see which might be the best fit.


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Care Navigation for Patients


Oncologists know better than most how terrifying a cancer diagnosis can be and how overwhelming the healthcare industry, especially insurance, can be throughout the process. If you love helping your patients and wish you had more than your 15-20 minute appointments to help them understand the often long road ahead of them on their way to recovery or management, care navigation can be a great side hustle for you. You will be an invaluable resource to help empower them to make informed decisions by enhancing their understanding of the healthcare system. As a care navigator, you will walk them through their entire care, from treatment through follow-up appointments and testing.  You can help them to research medications, physicians, cancer treatment centers, and more. 


If this side gig interests you, you can search for open positions (there are not many, but they do exist) at hospitals and other large healthcare systems, or approach patient support services and departments focused on patient advocacy to see about opportunities.

There is a second option that many physicians have explored, and that is just starting their own business with a social media page or website and creating relevant content until patients find them. Branding is key in this space. You will need an errors and omissions policy. 


Most physicians in this space charge an hourly rate which can be sold in packages or individually. Many physicians charge between $150-350/hour in this space, with outliers depending on what the market with tolerate secondary to niche knowledge and what the target demographic is.


Second Opinion Services


When patients face expensive treatments or treatment programs with higher risks, they often look for a second (and sometimes third and even fourth) opinion before deciding on their course of action. With cancer research continually evolving, second opinions are common for patients facing complex cancer diagnoses.


By offering second opinion services, you can provide your expert insight into their patient records and their treatment options. This helps the patients feel more confident in their current doctor’s recommendations, or may offer new insights to help provide alternatives that could be better for their situation. If a patient’s been told they’ve exhausted all treatment options, you may even be able to connect them with less familiar options, especially if you participate in clinical research.


In second opinion consultations, you can easily meet with patients virtually through telemedicine, which can add 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 Work


As physicians, we can understand the various contexts in which oncology cases can become intertwined with the legal system, from missed diagnoses to delays in care to complications. Expert witness work therefore has a demand for oncologists. As an expert witness, you will work with one of the attorneys involved with the case to provide your professional medical opinion and testimony in reviewing and interpreting the case documentation as it is presented for the lawsuit.


While this can be a great way to help advocate for other physicians through our legal system, be aware that you will likely need to work as an expert witness for both plaintiffs and defendants, instead of picking and choosing cases solely to work with the defense for the physicians.


Expert witness work can require travel, which may be difficult to coordinate depending on your clinical schedule and the schedule of the attorneys, judges, and other parties involved for the case.


Learn more


Additional Resources for Oncologists to Find Side Gigs


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