If telemedicine could be considered a specialty, then telemedicine doctors are on the rise. The newest generation of young doctors, fresh from medical school and having grown up wired to the Internet, are embracing the flexibility of working from home while treating patients remotely rather than trekking into a clinic each day. By teaming up with telemedicine companies that offer direct-to-consumer services, these docs are connecting with patients through real-time video conferencing apps on laptops and smartphones. The result? Satisfied patients receiving good quality care and satisfied doctors enjoying a good quality of life.
For some physicians, working as a telemedicine doctor serves as a side gig to help pay bills while they expand their burgeoning practice. Others, especially mothers, value the ability to carve a work schedule around their children’s needs—a previously unheard-of option for physicians. Yet other doctors use this strategy to partially retire. For the most part, telemedicine has thus far remained a niche occupation. However, as signaled by the CMS’ recent acceptance of proposed telemedicine codes, telemedicine is going mainstream and is slowly becoming more widely accepted as a valid, high-quality method of healthcare delivery.
Also contributing to the growth of the telemedicine doctor sector is the Interstate Licensure Medical Compact that took effect in 2017; it created a centralized body that allows physicians to apply for licenses in multiple states. So far, about half of U.S. states are participating members. Thus, it is not uncommon for a telemedicine doctor to be licensed in 20 or 25 states, enabling them to evaluate and treat a wider pool of patients.
When asked who would make a great telemedicine doctor, Enzyme Health, a startup dedicated to helping physicians find telemedicine jobs, answered, “Tech-savvy doctors who are good communicators.” These doctors, they explained, have the best “webside” manner.
To read more about telemedicine doctors, visit Bloomberg here.