Editor's note: This is a guest post from a fellow Wealthy Mom MD, Dr. Saya Nagori. She is an ophthalmologist and the CMO/Co-Founder of the telemedicine companies SimpleContacts & SimpleHealth. She enjoys teaching women physicians about the power of choice when it comes to choosing how to practice medicine in the modern world. Both of her companies resemble her tenacity in sharing knowledge about healthcare and also taking care of the needs of women in general. Enjoy!
I love talking to female doctors about telemedicine. I love talking to anyone really about telemedicine, but especially women physicians. We have different needs and face challenges that sometimes men do not. I gave a talk at the Women in Ophthalmology National Conference last year about how telemedicine for women specifically is so powerful. I want to share a few highlights that I'm sure you'll benefit learning about.
1) Telemedicine Gives You Freedom
There are so many ways to practice telemedicine. Physicians do not necessarily need to practice it 100% of the time. You can work as a 1099 contractor for an outside company and use it to supplement your income outside your “day job.” You can obtain multiple licenses and start to practice telemedicine with limited services across the country. Or the most practical and lucrative way is to practice telemedicine on your own, and use it as an extension of your already existing practice. Imagine not having to take the day off of work when school is canceled because of a snow day. Think about the freedom you would have to continue to practice medicine virtually months after your scheduled maternity leave has ended, so you can spend more time with your new baby. What about being able to work from literally anywhere to give you the freedom to travel with your family or spend time with loved ones, and not have to sacrifice income doing it? Freedom is a great reason to practice telemedicine, isn't it?
2) You’re Probably Already Doing It
When doctors tell me they are wary of telemedicine, I remind them that when we take call or cover another physician’s patients, it is, in fact, telemedicine. Now, however, we have video in many cases so the visit can be more thorough and more accurate. The reality is, physicians are already taking patient phone calls and discussing patient problems over the phone. There are now codes in existence that allow for the billing of telemedicine. It does not have to be 100% of your practice, but perhaps changing one or two days a week from in person to telemedicine, would be very easy to integrate into your career.
3) Improved Quality of Life and Less Physician Burnout
There are so many factors surrounding telemedicine that contribute to an improved quality of life and, thus, will help in decreasing physician burnout. In addition to more freedom, you will also have more time. Think about the couple, or in some cases, several, extra hours in your day that you will have (if you don’t have to spend that time commuting to work). A female physician friend of mine used to have to strap on her breast pump during her commute (it was just over 1 hour each way) because she literally just could not find any other time to do it. She actually got pulled over by a cop once during this time, and it was quite an ordeal, to say the least. In addition to a stressful commute, the hospital and a busy clinic can be a tense environment to be in all day. Even if you are not directly engaging with all the noise in the background, it has an impact on you. The peace and quiet of your home or an environment that you can control can greatly help in sustaining your love of medicine for many years. If you could have all the positives and none of the negatives of being a physician, you may never burnout!
4) Growth Is Inevitable
Data shows that millennials (the population that we will be treating as they age for the next 40 years) want telehealth options. In fact, if their issue could be resolved with a telemedicine visit, they would actually prefer it. I think that as time progresses, and reimbursement becomes more widespread, physicians will prefer it as well. With technology improving, and more states adopting pro-telemedicine legislation, the time is ripe to get started in telemedicine. Set yourself up now so you are ahead of the game, and start enjoying the freedom of telemedicine. I agree with Bonnie when she says that “wealthy” is a state of mind. For me, practicing telemedicine has reduced my stress level and has been rewarding for me leaps and bounds beyond the paycheck I get from it. I saw myself on the path to burning out before I started practicing telemedicine, and now my quality of life has improved drastically. Not having to commute, making a healthy lunch every day, squeezing in a workout when a patient cancels, and being an overall happier person for my husband has added so much wealth to my Wealthy MD life. Now I just need to get the Mom part figured out. 🙂 Editor's note: Wow – great insight from one of the better-known women in telemedicine, don't you think? What's stopping you from following a similar path? I bet it's something like – “this sounds awesome, but how do I even get started?” Well, we got you :). Dr. Nagori has created a course for physicians on how to get started in telemedicine. Not only will she walk you through all the steps — you'll also get support from her through a private Facebook group. “How to Get Started in Telemedicine: Masterclass for US Physicians” is the only comprehensive introductory course on telemedicine and health technology in the United States. Join physicians from all over the country who are learning how to incorporate telemedicine into their practice. In addition to the basics, the course teaches the different types of telemedicine you can use in your practice, it teaches navigating reimbursement for telemedicine, it helps you to understand the regulatory environment in digital app development, and it helps you to understand the legality of telemedicine in different states. Upon completion, you will have the knowledge and framework to get started in telemedicine right away. Use code: WEALTHYMOMMD for $50 off the course! If you've taken the course, we'd love to hear your thoughts!