Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Consulting opportunities for physicians

Author: Michelle Mudge-Riley, DO, MHA

Doctors who are making a career transition often think consulting is the way to go. It seems to be a fun and interesting job with no call, doesn’t usually require any certifications or more schooling/degrees and is rumored to pay a lot. Is this true? Well, it largely depends on the type of consulting and the subject matter, as well as the employment type. There are different varieties of consulting employment. Let’s consider each one separately.

If you don’t want to transition into a non-clinical career all at once, part time consulting may be the best way to figure out if you like consulting and to get experience to build your resume. It’s a good way to get your feet wet with the smallest amount of risk.

Many doctors end up as full time consultants for large companies (drug, device, medical supply, financial, etc.). You will use your clinical expertise and experience in your current specialty. Some specialties are more sought after than others when it comes to being hired by a large company as a full time consultant.

Working completely for yourself has its advantages. You don’t have to set an alarm and you can go to the gym in the middle of the afternoon. But you may not have enough time to do that. There’s a lot that goes into being an independent consultant. You have to market and sell your services before you get a paycheck. Then you have to do the work so you can get paid – but at the same time, continue to market and sell yourself so you can get that next job (and paycheck). With a physician’s skill set, you can command a high billing rate and your overhead is often low. You will need to form an LLC and liability insurance is a must.

Employed with a consulting firm
The advantages of this are a regular paycheck but autonomy is more at risk. You will be working for a company that pays you regularly (and well), but your billing rate will include the firm’s overhead. Some specialties are more highly sought after than others.

About the author:

Dr. Mudge-Riley is a senior consultant for brokerage firms, health systems and large employers in wellness and health promotion and President of Physicians Helping Physicians in Richmond, Virginia.  She has spent the past seven years advising and coaching other doctors in their career by counseling physicians on business skills, assisting with compliance and risk management issues and mentoring in personal wellness and balance.  She has worked with hundreds of doctors and in various health systems located throughout the United States.

Dr. Mudge-Riley received her medical degree from Des Moines University Osteopathic Medical School and her Masters Degree in Health Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She completed a medical internship at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital System (VCUHS) and a business residency under the CEO of the same hospital system.   She has been directly responsible for planning, implementation, communication, and evaluation of programs involving healthcare wellness, safety, and quality. Dr. Mudge-Riley has conducted seminars on topics related to change management, motivation, wellness and health education.  She has also been published in a variety of journals including Physicians Practice Magazine, The D.O., and Physician Executive.  For more information or to schedule a time to speak with Dr. Mudge-Riley, please contact: mudgeriley@yahoo.com, 804-334-7983 www.phphysicians.com

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