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Side Gigs for Radiologists

Over the years, we’ve seen countless requests for side hustle ideas for physicians in specific specialties in our Physician Side Gigs Facebook group. We continue our series of unique side gigs by specialty with side gigs for radiologists. 

If you aren’t a radiologist 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.

Ideas for unique side gigs for radiologists

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Side Gigs for Radiologists

Ask any radiologist, and they’ll tell you there’s no shortage of work these days. Imaging volumes are going up, and radiologist shortages are amplifying. Radiology groups are having a hard time hiring, and that leaves a lot of opportunities for per diem work, locums, and even internal moonlighting within your practice. Of course, we recognize that many people like doing side gigs to use a different part of their brain, so we’ve also included some more out of the box options that are popular amongst radiologists in our physician communities. We hope you enjoy these ideas!

Coverage for a larger teleradiology group

Teleradiology is an obvious option. There are many large teleradiology groups that hire radiologists for per diem, part time, and full time coverage. Some of them will require you to read a breadth of services, but the larger the groups get, the more likely you are to be able to carve out a niche of cases that align with the ones you enjoy reading the most. Some groups will have minimum coverage requirements, while others may allow you to sign on and read whatever’s available.

Note that increased flexibility almost always comes at a cost. The less you commit to them, the less likely you are to get paid for picking off an individual study, and the less likely there are to be lots of cases when you log on looking for cases if they also have radiologists taking dedicated shifts. Also know that you may be left with the scraps on the list that the other radiologists don’t want to read in return for this flexibility. The teleradiology companies will tend to protect their investment in their full time and part time radiologists above the flexible radiologists.

Groups may choose to pay on a per shift basis or a per study read cases. Make sure that you understand the compensation structure and what the typical radiologist earns in each of these situations. Ask lots of questions to those physicians who are already doing the work to find out the pros, the cons, the pain points, etc.

Make sure that you understand what kind of malpractice insurance is being provided so that you don’t get stuck with a large bill for a tail insurance policy if you end up deciding this isn’t the right side gig for you.

Also, most of these groups will require you to be licensed in multiple states, so make sure that you understand the costs associated with that, who will pay for them, and what your CME/maintenance of licensure in each state will be. It can be a lot!  

Creating your own teleradiology service for other radiology groups or subspecialty groups that offer imaging

The more entrepreneurial of our radiologists have discovered that while going through a large teleradiology group may be the easiest way to build some side income without the hassles of running a business, the more lucrative way is to cut out the middleman. If you know that you have the ability to provide core services that other groups need, it may be worth going out your own. 

You can market to other radiology groups or to subspecialty practices in other fields that offer radiology services as part of their practices, but need a radiologist to read the studies.

Other radiology groups, particularly those in remote areas or those that are too small to have enough after hours coverage in certain specialties where the hospital is requesting subspecialty reads, may need to fill in gaps where they don’t have subspecialty images. This can be a great niche for mammographers, neuroradiologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and others.

In terms of working with non-radiology groups, many private practice family medicine, orthopedic surgery, direct primary care practices, neurology groups, rheumatology groups, ENT groups, OB-GYN, and oncology groups may have their own imaging services, which can range from basic services like x-rays and ultrasounds to more complex cross sectional imaging.

Eventually, as the word gets out, you may even get enough volume to make this your main gig, especially if you’re willing to get multiple licenses or hire other radiologists!

Learn more about telemedicine.

Internal moonlighting and/or in-person night and weekend coverage for local radiology groups

This is an obvious opportunity, if you’re willing to take more full shifts. Many radiology groups have radiologists that would really prefer to not have after hours coverage responsibilities, but as we all know, most hospital systems require some form of coverage after hours. Many groups navigate this by allowing their radiologists to ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ call, depending on whether they’d like to make more or less money and take more or less call. If you’re in a position where you can work a few more shifts, this is an easy way to supplement the income from your day job as a radiologist just by taking more shifts.

Many groups will have noncompete issues with other groups, so make sure you check with your group and see if it’s okay for you to do this kind of work. While it’s very likely that they may not allow you to work for a direct competitor, they may be okay with you doing some shifts for the VA, academic center, or another group that’s not viewed as competition.

Locums radiologist

Locums radiology can be very lucrative, depending on how far you’re willing to travel, and how rural of an area you’re willing to work in. Because many radiology groups structure their vacation schedules in blocks, if you are lucky enough to be in a position where your group gives you more vacation time than you need for vacations, you could consider using some of that time to do locums. You could also do this on weekends as your schedule allows. If you’re a teleradiologist as your main gig that works on a week on/week off schedule or similar, this may also be a nice supplement on your weeks off. 

Locums contracts can be short term or be a regular assignment that ends up spanning months or years. As shortages get worse, more and more groups are relying heavily on locums coverage and would love to bring on a regular member of the group that knows their systems and can help out so that their partners can get more vacation time or get some relief from the neverending volume. 

We always like to remind you that when it comes to locums opportunities, if they pay well, you have to resist the temptation to endlessly pick up more shifts. Balance this with your need to have a life outside of medicine and to rest and relax. Set goals for how much you want to earn and why before just grabbing as many opportunities as you can. 

Similar to the opportunities above, make sure you check the malpractice insurance coverage that is provided. Also make sure that your contracts protect you from canceled shifts and carefully outline what you will and will not be responsible for.

Consulting for AI companies

While AI is the rage across fields these days, radiology is an area where AI has been hot for many years and the number of companies trying to innovate in this field are constantly increasing. As they look to hone their products and offerings, they are constantly needing the help of radiologists to both provide feedback. This may be on how well their products are performing by manually checking results and findings against what the radiologist identifies, or to get feedback on areas for improvement on the whole in terms of what radiology and hospital groups may want, ways to market, and ideas for future innovation. Another reason AI companies need radiologists sometimes is for labeling images and helping their technology evolve.

This can be a very exciting opportunity to not only make some extra money, but get involved in healthcare innovation. It could open up roles to start up advising, becoming a CMO for a company, or otherwise expanding the scope of what you do while using your experience and expertise as a radiologist.

We get a lot of these opportunities through our consulting databases for physicians, so keep an eye out for these opportunities on our communities!

Learn more about:

Radiology informatics / workflow optimization consulting

If you enjoy the concepts in information technology and want to find ways to help apply them to imaging and biomedical applications, radiology informatics is an exciting field. It’s been around for many years, but as technology evolves, the ability to use this skill in the clinical world continues to evolve. Radiology informatics is a broad field, and there are several ways in which those in the field are finding new ways to use data and images to improve patient care. This could involve developing interfaces that make information more readily available to radiologists, finding ways to send key images for clinicians or patients to help them understand reports better, integrating imaging in the EMR, and more. As the use of imaging continues to increase, there will only be more and more ways to expand the practical applications of technology in a way that impacts care delivery to improve things for institutions, clinicians, and patients. You can learn more about this field by exploring resources on the SIIM website or going to relevant conferences, and getting involved in consulting projects.

Speaking or consulting for medical device or technology companies

If you are a procedural radiologist, you know that the technology is constantly evolving. Companies are always looking for radiologists who can share their practical knowledge with other radiologists, or who can provide feedback on their latest medical devices. Whether it’s the latest breast biopsy device, coils or wires used in the IR suite, bone biopsy devices, the newest PACS updates, or the newest ultrasound, CT, MRI, or PET scan machines, companies need both feedback from radiologists as well as advocates for their technology to their colleagues. If you like comparing options, speaking to your colleagues, or maybe even getting involved in the sales cycle, there are opportunities to get involved. You can reach out to your local device or technology reps and ask them if there’s any need for these services.

Clinical research and trials involving imaging

The effectiveness of so many interventions in medicine, whether by lifestyle intervention, pharmaceuticals, or by procedures, is judged by the results of imaging studies. Additionally, there are many trials within radiology itself related to developing technology, new imaging sequences, and patient experiences. This offers a wide range of opportunities to get involved in clinical research, not just as a radiologist at an academic medical center, but increasingly, also within the scope of your non-academic practice if desired. If there’s a part of you that loves getting involved with research, reaching out to academic institutions, clinical research organizations, and device and technology companies could be a great way to make some additional cash as well as contribute to the field as a whole.

Second opinion or translation services as a radiologist

If you’re a radiologist, we don’t need to tell you how many times you’ll likely be asked to “take a look” at the images of friends and family and let them know what you think. Since imaging is at the heart of a lot of diagnostic investigations, there are patients and clinicians alike that would love the opportunity to have more time with the radiologist to discuss results beyond what they can read in the report. While most radiologists are happy to get on the phone regarding studies that they’ve read, it’s still not always easy to have the types of conversations you may have in a tumor board type setting or that you may have with your friends and family that are lucky to have access to a radiologist to help them decipher both the report and next steps. To address this, more entrepreneurial radiologists may find that they have a niche market in translating reports or giving second opinions, not only domestically, but internationally. Obviously, you will want to work with a lawyer and malpractice insurance to make sure that this is being done in a legal way and in a way that addresses any potential liability, but these services do exist as cash pay services that are in demand.

Expert witness work as a radiologist

As stated above, radiology is a part of most interactions with the healthcare system these days. Not surprisingly, this means that radiology reports are often cited as evidence in malpractice cases. This opens up a large opportunity for developing a significant expert witness business for radiologists that are interested in this type of work. Understand that if you want to scale this work, you will have to testify for both sides, the plaintiff and the defendant, eventually, as the opposing attorneys will be quick to point out your inability to be objective if your case history only shows work where you defend your colleagues. This work can be both fulfilling and lucrative, with many radiologists charging $500+ per hour of work. We have a lot of content to help you learn more about this type of work.

Chart review

With the increased utilization of imaging and radiology services amongst all specialties, more and more payors are trying to ensure that radiology studies are being ordered appropriately. Therefore, many of the utilization management companies hire radiologists to help set and enforce guidelines. While on the clinician side, this can raise quite a bit of frustration, we’ve all seen inappropriately ordered studies which in addition to causing more expense to the system, can be not in the patient’s best interest. If this sort of work appeals to you, there are plenty of opportunities for radiologists to get involved.

Non-medical side gigs

Last, but not least, there are many opportunities for radiologists to explore non-medical side gigs. As a specialty that offers a lot of flexibility in terms of hours, shift work, practice environments, and part time, full time, and per diem options, radiologists have a unique ability to really create the life in medicine that they want. Some of many examples of non-clinical work that we’ve seen radiologists get involved in for side income include:

There’s a lot more of these - make sure you check out our Physician Side Gigs blog for some unique side gigs!

Additional resources for radiologists

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

If you haven't already, join our Physician Facebook groups, which are free to join and aim to ensure a safe space for physicians to talk side gigs, finances, life in medicine, and everything in between.

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