Medical Consulting 101
What is medical consulting?
Generally, this entails being hired by a company to consult on a specific project utilizing your expertise. Examples include advising a startup, helping to implement a new electronic health record at a hospital or advising the EHR company on their software, educating physicians on a product or technology, lecturing about a product or giving interviews to the media, research for a pharmaceutical company, etc.
Who are you consulting?
Lots of different groups/industries look for medical consultants. Lawyers, startups, pharmaceuticals, device and technology companies, hospitals, etc.
Do you need specialized training?
Yes and no! Your specialized training you've already done if you're in the group - you've gone to medical school. You don't need anything beyond your expertise as a physician. Some companies will require board certification or an active license.
How do you find these jobs?
We have a database on Physician Side Gigs, but you must sign up through the group so that we can verify that you're a physician (www.facebook.com/groups/physiciansidegigs). You can also sign up as an expert through companies or be found. The best way is to advertise your services through your networks. This means forming professional networks on LinkedIn and listing your expertise, talking to others who are doing it who can refer you if something is outside of their expertise, and in general meeting a lot of people (such as on the side gigs group!). Go to conferences in relevant fields and network a lot.
What is the time commitment?
Varies dramatically. You could be full time employed by a company such as McKinsey or you can take on jobs on a case by case basis.
How do you establish yourself as an expert?
My best advice is to develop a brand, and they will come to you! Happy to talk to anybody about brand building. This may involve things like blogging, developing a social media following, creating a media kit, writing a book, etc.
How much do they pay?
This is all about supply and demand. When you are establishing your rates, consider the time commitment. I recommend doing a per hour rate rather than a flat fee, since things have a way of taking more time than the hiring party would suggest. Only you can decide what your time is worth, but I encourage you to value yourself appropriately.
Do you need malpractice?
This isn't patient care, so you don't generally need malpractice insurance. Depending on the extent of your involvement with the consulting process, you may want to look into business liability insurance (if you need help with this, contact us at email@example.com).
How do I get set up as a business?
Talk to an accountant/lawyer about what works best for you. Setting up an LLC or an S-corp may be of benefit from an asset protection standpoint. Depending on the state, a variable amount of paperwork is involved.
Do I have to discuss this with my employer?
Depending on who you are employed by, yes! Many employers say that if you're doing something related to your profession, they should have a stake in it. Check your contract, especially if you're in an employed position with a hospital or in academics.
If you need help getting connected with people who can give you more information, please contact me either via Facebook or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.