Non-clinical careers

Discussion in 'Family Medicine' started by anonfp, Oct 15, 2002.

  1. anonfp

    anonfp Junior Member

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    Have any of you FP residents considered non-clinical careers? I am a newly-graduated, board-certified FP who has been considering a non-clinical route for a long time. Now that I am out of training, I have the freedom to explore my options. Any ideas?
     
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  3. Biodude

    Biodude The Biology DUDE
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    Did you check out the website for the American Academy of Family Physicians? There's a section for Family Practice Physicians that want alternatives to the "normal" family practice doc.

    Check it out. Maybe it might give you some ideas.

    http://www.aafp.org/afp/990700/167.html
     
  4. Biodude

    Biodude The Biology DUDE
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  5. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    My cousin the pediatrician works with an actuary at a large insurance company. She helps them research medical advances to help determine life expectancies and risk for various medical conditions and lifestyles. Her job pays much, much more than your average family practice doc and she works mostly from home. The job had been open for over a year when she finally filled it.
     
  6. anonfp

    anonfp Junior Member

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    What company does your cousin work for?
     
  7. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    Liberty Mutual
     
  8. DrJosephKim

    DrJosephKim Advisor
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    If you're a physician and you're considering a non-clinical career, you may be wondering about all the opportunities out there. I get asked about this all the time. Over the years, I've had a chance to meet different physicians working in various companies and industries and here are my observations.

    The following may apply even if you're not a physician. If you're a clinician (nurse, NP, pharmacist, PA, etc.), many of these opportunities may still apply.

    First, ask yourself what you enjoy. After all, if you don't enjoy clinical medicine, you don't want to end up doing something else you're not going to enjoy. Then, start networking like crazy. Leverage all the online social networking sites (like LinkedIn, Facebook, Plaxo, etc.) and get reconnected with old colleagues, classmates, and friends. Find out what people are doing. They may help you get connected to some key people. You may find some of the best opportunities this way. If you're a woman, you may want to check out MomMD (www.mommd.com).

    The following list of opportunities is clearly non-exhaustive. This list is based on my personal interactions with people in these roles and as I meet more people, this list grows.

    Here is my growing list of non-clinical opportunities for physicians (not in any particular order).

    1. Healthcare administration - Are you a seasoned healthcare executive? Do you enjoy making administrative decisions? Then join the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) and run a hospital or a managed care organization. If you have a strong interest in managed care, then check out the NAMCP (National Association of Managed Care Physicians). You may want to get an MBA or an MMM (masters in medical management) if you don't already have one. A valid medical license is required for most (if not all) of these positions.

    2. VC, finance, market research, etc. - Got an MBA? If not, are you thinking of getting one? Some will argue that once you have an "M.D." after your name, it may not matter as much where you get your MBA. However, I would argue that your MBA is your path to networking opportunities, so where you get your MBA is critical if you want to have a solid network. Once you get your MBA, you can work for venture capital (VC) firms, dig into market research companies, or work for Wall Street. Heard of the Gerson Lehrman Group (www.glgroup.com)? No clinical experience necessary for many of these opportunities. In fact, many joint MD/MBA students have ventured directly into very successful careers this way. Also, an MBA is not necessary if you have some good business skills and understand the healthcare industry.

    3. Writing and medical communications - Do you enjoy writing? Many physicians and non-physicians have very successful careers as medical writers. The field is open to people who enjoy fiction writing, publications, research, or other types of writing. You can get involved working on journal publications, developing promotional content for marketing campaigns, or developing CME programs. Join the AMWA (American Medical Writers Association) and look for opportunities. You can work from home as a freelance writer and have a very flexible schedule. Or, you can work for a publisher or another type of healthcare communications company. You can find a list of some companies by looking at the North American Association of Medical Education and Communication Companies, Inc., (NAAMECC) website. No clinical experience necessary.

    4. Technology and Informatics - Want to develop or improve an electronic health record (EHR) system? Do you love informatics? Then join the CCHIT (Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology), the AMIA (American Medical Informatics Association), and the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association). Clinicians use EHRs and patients (or consumers) use PHRs (Personal Health Records). There are many companies attempting to integrate the data between PHRs and EHRs. There is a national initiative to improve and standardize public health informatics, so now is a great time to enter this industry. No clinical experience necessary, but you should be familiar with ICD, CPT, and other billing codes used in this industry.

    5. Disease management - Managed care organizations (MCOs) are always looking for better disease management (DM) programs for their plans. Some MCOs develop their own DM plans and others outsource them to external companies. These companies create and deliver various services to managed care organizations, including DM, wellness programs, personal health record (PHR) services, etc. Do you ever get educational pamphlets from your own health plan? Who puts them together? Who designs and develops these wellness and preventive health programs? It's not always WebMD. There are other companies that provide similar services.

    6. Pharma/Biotech/Device - If you're a medical specialist, there are many opportunities to do research for these companies. If you don't enjoy research, then you can develop marketing strategies. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements have become very popular these days. See all those ads in the medical journals? Get ready for that "corporate America" lifestyle if you plan to venture into industry. You may be working even more hours and carrying a Blackberry instead of a pager, but if you climb that "corporate ladder" and play the corporate game, you may qualify for an early retirement.

    7. Expert witnessing - Personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home care, etc. There are firms that specialize in specific areas (like nursing home cases). Want more information? Take a look at www.seak.com

    8. Public health - Get an MPH, join the APHA (American Public Health Association), and find a local health department. Or, join the CDC and travel the world. Develop strategies to improve population health. Some pharmaceutical companies also have public health sections and are very devoted to public health and international health (Pfizer in particular comes to mind). Bridge gaps in healthcare disparities.

    9. Consulting - The world is open. Want to work for yourself or for a company? Many healthcare companies are looking for experts to help them develop, refine, and improve their products and services. It may be hard to get started unless you've already established connections. Once again, networking becomes critical.

    10. Research - Academia vs. private vs. industry vs. CRO. You don't have to go into industry to do research. Look for a Contract Research Organization (CRO) in your area. Join the ACRO (Association of Clinical Research Organizations). Start with PPD (no, this is not the TB skin test).

    11. Executive recruiting - Physicians can work as an executive recruiter to hire and place other physicians. You can also work your way up and manage other recruiters who do the hiring. Remember, these 'head hunters' get paid a commission based on the salary of the person they place. The $ earning potential can be tremendous if you're successful.

    12. Start a company - Have an innovative idea? Start a company! New companies seem to be sprouting all the time. Stay connected with people and keep your eyes open for new ideas. Get an MBA and meet people who can help you get a concept off the ground.

    Not sure where to start? As I mentioned above, start building your social and professional network. Reconnect with people and ask many questions. Find people who are in various positions and ask them what they like/dislike.

    Join some associations to build your network and to find companies:

    ACHE: American College of Healthcare Executives
    ACPE: American College of Physician Executives
    ACRO: Association of Clinical Research Organizations
    AHIMA: American Health Information Management Association
    AMIA: American Medical Informatics Association
    AMWA: American Medical Writers Association
    APHA: American Public Health Association
    CCHIT: Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology
    NAMCP: National Association of Managed Care Physicians

    National Association of MD/MBA Students
    http://www.md-mba.org/

    Thinking about getting an MBA? Take a look at some of these articles:

    http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/memag/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=322635
    http://www.acponline.org/clinical_information/journals_publications/acp_internist/mar03/mbas.htm
    http://www.physicianleadership.com/articles/physician_MBA.htm
    http://www.mommd.com/mdmba.shtml
    http://www.physicianspractice.com/index/fuseaction/articles.details/articleID/378.htm


    Finally, you may want to take a look at these programs:

    MBA in a Day
    http://www.mbainaday.com/physicians.html

    SEAK - Non-clinical careers for physicians
    http://www.seak.com/semncc08.htm

    SEAK - MBA skills for physicians
    http://www.seak.com/semncc08mbaskills.htm
     
  9. medicienne

    5+ Year Member

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    Are all of these opportunities for physians who have a license or are board certified? What are the opportunities for a fresh MD?

     
  10. sk1684

    sk1684 Member
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    I was looking into SEAK. They have a conference coming up in September that sounds very interesting- some big shots coming in to speak it seems. Has anyone ever attended one of those?

    Also, i was a bit concerned about the stage of my career. I am 2nd year resident and it seems like most of the speakers at the conference have had a substantial clinical career before making a switch. So I am afraid that this conference caters to MDs wanted to make similar mid-career switch, not young trainees? Is that right? I guess the bigger question is should i push myself thru residency anyways? Will not be marketable enough in the non-clinical word without a residency?


     
  11. thuc

    thuc Member

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    i haven't attended, but i'd like to. can't this year because i'm on call at the same time the conference is. i like to keep my options open and think this conference is excellent for it. i've attended the Medical Fusion conference and thought that was good at making you aware of other possibilities as well. they focus on different kinds of jobs than SEAK, so check them out to see if any of them interest you.

    how many more years of residency do you have left? check out Dr. Kim's blog, especially under the tag Residency. some of the articles might give you more insight as to whether you should muscle through residency or if it's okay where you are now. another thought is contacting one of the coaches on his site. good luck!
     

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