I want to give another perspective to the side gig discussion: you can also find joy in doing a “side gig” as part of your physician practice without leaving your day job. I am a Family Medicine Physician with a side gig in Medical Informatics. I went into Family Medicine to help entire families stay healthy and prevent disease over time. Like the ranks of the “morally injured,” I had idealistic visions of what this meant to my career. In reality, the “helping” is more complex than meets the eye.
I think what I’m getting at is the stress of a broken system is amplified when the limited variable in the equation is a physician’s most valuable (and taken advantage of) resource – the physician’s time. We all want more time for each patient, more time to look things up on UpToDate, more time to call a specialist, more time to research a history, and also more time at home with our families and for our hobbies to recharge for the next day of stress.
“The stress of a broken system is amplified when the limited variable in the equation is a physician’s most valuable (and taken advantage of) resource – the physician’s time”
For me personally, I knew I needed to spend a portion of my time following my passions and making an impact in medicine, and I have found a very satisfying portion of my career spending time focused on giving physicians more time. One click at a time, I want to give doctors more time for what matters. This may translate to meaningful experiences with a patient or less time working at nights to spend time with the kids. I am focused on improving physician efficiency and training physicians on the EMR. Physicians are a demographic in much need, and they also APPRECIATE any help when it comes to efficiency training. We know physicians are “burning out” at a higher rate than the general population. As the caregivers for 1000-2000 patients per doctor, the consequences of burnout are REAL to those patients for every doctor who leaves medicine.
“One click at a time, I want to give doctors more time for what matters.”
I got into this role of improving physician efficiency 4 years ago, mostly by wanting to be an efficient doctor myself. I knew as my panel ramped up, I would quickly run out of time, so it was imperative that I become efficient ASAP. I looked for ways to automate evidence based medicine into practice with templates and routines, and even early on taught the teacher (@adamcarewe) an efficiency trick. From that point on I was recruited for training physicians in efficiency, first on a smaller scale at local classes and my office, and then on a larger scale with 3 day CME events of 50+ doctors, up to 4x a year. Most recently, I have had more ability to influence positive EMR system changes with a great informatics team who are mission-driven to support the physicians in our group to take the best care of our patients. In this way, I’m able to spend a portion of my time following my passion of helping and advocating for a patient/physician-focused EMR integrated into the health system.
“Advocating for a patient/physician-focused EMR integrated into the health system”
I hope this side gig story helps influence you to find your passion which can be a part of your current job like mine, a hobby like testing out cool tech gear like TechDadCO.com, following a cool Facebook tech interest group like Nerd MDs, teaching, having a focus in your practice, or spending time with family and hobbies.
If your interest is similar to mine in Informatics and physician efficiency, here are some tips to get involved:
- Care about people.
- Be interested in learning about new technology.
- Volunteer for any opportunity to get experience.
- Accept change.
- Lead early adoption.
- Teach others at any opportunity.
- Be available to answer questions any time.
- Become the unofficial local office expert/champion of your EHR.
- Find workflows that need improving, and advocate on what’s best for patient care and your clinical specialty. No one in IT knows patient care like you do.
- Don’t complain about problems- find solutions.
- Consider IT solutions to clinical problems at an early stage so that workflows fit technology.
- If you are an Informatics MD/DO – join the Linked In Informatics Group
- Join Nerd MDs Facebook Group and follow the Nerd MDs blog and Instagram (@nerdmds) to keep up to date with posts, news, and share with others across the country.
- Consider advanced training like a fellowship in informatics or an online informatics course, or further EMR training/physician builder courses
So that being said, we are looking for YOU to contribute to the Nerd MDs growing community. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in posting as yourself or even anonymous. We’d all love to find out what you do now, your healthcare journey, what you enjoy of your career, and what are the steps to get into that field if someone wants to follow in your footsteps. We would love to hear from anyone in virtual care/telehealth, health startups, other regional informatics groups (we’re all different,) consulting, disrupters, other tech jobs I missed, and we also want to hear from clinical leaders/chiefs – what are your broken clinical and system problems that need tech solutions?
Thank you for reading!