Find out how to get started practicing telemedicine, what you need, and what can set you apart with this handy downloadable checklist for getting started in telehealth.
Curious about practicing telemedicine but not sure where to begin? We’re here to help. Whether you are looking for a part-time position to supplement your salary or want to make a full-time transition to telemedicine, this guide should get you on your way. Review the steps below and download the checklist for getting started in telemedicine.
Step 1. Update Your Resume
It’s easy to procrastinate a resume update. For some reason, most of us enjoy talking about ourselves in person, but putting it all down on paper can feel like the ultimate chore. The good news is, once you finally sit down for an update it typically doesn’t take long, isn’t even all that difficult, and feels like a great accomplishment once completed.
If you haven’t touched your resume in a while, here are some basics to get started:
Consider the layout order. Lead with education and quickly highlight any state medical licenses you currently have or that are in progress. The number and states in which you hold licenses are critical for telehealth employers in matching candidates with appropriate positions. (Find out more in our guide to state medical licenses for telehealth providers.)
Emphasize remote care experience. Next, list out work experience and employment history in reverse chronological order. Even if you haven’t conducted a patient video consultation yet, be sure to highlight any experience that could relate to virtual care like mobile consultations, concierge services, remote patient monitoring, and even patient portal communication.
Make yourself human. Include extra information at the end such as professional memberships, research, hobbies, and interests. An empathetic ear and great conversational skills are extremely helpful in video and phone-based telemedicine roles, and while this can be hard to convey on paper, try and include a few tidbits that soften your clinical edges a bit.
Step 2. Get Multi-State Medical Licenses in Order
As mentioned above, acquiring many state licenses, or a few licenses in the large population states, will set you up for the best telemedicine jobs. It’s also a good strategy to try and get licensed in one of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact States, a collection of states the facilitate expedited medical licensure across state borders. Telemedicine recruiters and employers can help you secure state medical licenses, but because employers are typically looking for candidates for certain states, it’s good to have a few secured before you start applying for telemedicine jobs.
Step 3. Review Telemedicine Research
It doesn’t hurt to review the latest clinical outcomes in telemedicine and understand the general benefits remote care is providing for patient populations and the healthcare system at large. Not only can this knowledge make you stand out in an interview, but will also give you the confidence to validate your career choice. Get started by reviewing our guide to essential telemedicine clinical research and patient satisfaction in telemedicine studies.
Step 4. Talk to a Telemedicine Recruiter
Sure, you can search “telemedicine jobs” in Google and see what comes up. But know that the industry is still new, and occasionally you may come across a less desirable company out there with questionable business practices. These roles can be well-disguised, so it’s best to work with an experienced telemedicine recruiter or job-matching service with industry knowledge that can guide you to the best jobs at reputable companies.
Recruiters will help match you with positions that fit your schedule preferences, licensure, and salary expectations, saving you the time of weeding through listings. If you aren’t sure what to expect in terms of salary or schedule, recruiters can help explain typical telemedicine compensation and shift structures of some of the more prominent telehealth employers.
Step 5. Interview and Evaluate Job Opportunities
Talk to a few different telehealth companies if possible and evaluate them on compensation structure, benefits offered (health insurance, 401k, PTO, bonuses/equity, etc.), patient volumes, shifts/schedule, licensure requirements, and malpractice and credentialing support. Reputable telemedicine companies should offer many of the same benefits, insurance, and support that traditional brick and mortar medical positions provide.
If you have time in your schedule, don’t be afraid to sign on with multiple telemedicine companies simultaneously to find out what you like and don’t like and get to know the industry. You can also practice asynchronous and synchronous telemedicine to help establish your preferences and expand your skillset.
Step 6. Set Up Telemedicine Office and Equipment
Particularly if you’ll be practicing telemedicine via video consults, you’ll want to set up an established space in your home that’s private, quiet, and free from distractions. You don’t necessarily need an office, a small kitchen table can do the trick, but you’ll want to consider the background and other elements that could distract from a patient visit.
You’ll also want to evaluate your technology setup. Beyond reliable wifi and a computer you won’t need much, but some people like to take the opportunity to upgrade equipment or purchase accessories like headphones or external speakers to facilitate calls. Review our guide to setting up a telemedicine home office for more tips on designing a workspace and choosing equipment.
Step 7. Network, Leverage Social Media, and Attend Industry Events
When asked what telemedicine providers miss most about making the change from traditional roles, many cite missing a team of coworkers to bounce ideas off of and generally socialize with at work. (This is typically second to missing the in-person physical connection with patients.) And since telemedicine is a fairly new career option, you may not have anyone in your network that’s practicing to provide advice or share experiences with.
Social media is a good place to start to connect with and find peers practicing telemedicine. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile setup, that’s a necessary first step. Use it to communicate with peers, follow hospitals or other medical organizations you admire, and keep up with medical interests via the news feed. You can also join physician-only groups on Facebook like the Physician Telemedicine/Digital Health/mHealth Interest Group.
Attending telemedicine industry events can also be a great way to foster deeper relationships with other telemedicine providers and talk shop. It can also be a way to meet industry professionals with connections to startups, healthcare systems, or telemedicine companies that may be embarking on innovative virtual care programs that you might be interested in working with - particularly if you’re burned out and looking for alternative medical roles.
For events on a local level, check out the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers and see if one of the 12 local chapters near you is hosting an event. Or consider attending a national conference like the American Telemedicine Association Conference.
If you’re interested in advocacy and lobbying or simply want to leverage the resources of professional affiliation, the American Telemedicine Association might be a good professional association to join.
Starting a Career in Telemedicine
The steps above should get you well on your way to finding a great job in telemedicine, getting to know the industry, and connecting with peers and industry professionals. If a flexible lifestyle and modern healthcare delivery are of interest, a job in telemedicine could be a great option for your medical practice and a life-changing career move.