Profiles in Telehealth: A Father Finds Freedom Outside the ER with Telemedicine

We sat down with emergency medicine physician (and new father) Dr. Andrew to hear about his newfound freedom working in telehealth and to get some tips for sounding smart about wine.

What’s your background? What did you do before practicing telemedicine?

I am board-certified in emergency medicine and finished residency training at the University of Arizona. Post-residency, I moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area where my wife is from and her entire family still lives. I started working in a full-time position with a major medical group, yet I wanted much more flexibility. I then decided to leave to become an independent contractor which allows me to work wherever and whenever I want, especially with telemedicine. Becoming an independent contractor was the best decision I’ve made in my career thus far.

Becoming an independent contractor was the best decision I’ve made in my career thus far.

What’s your life like outside of work?

My wife and I love to travel—our three-year-old son had a passport at five months old, and by the time he was two he had been to Costa Rica twice! Currently, we have a 10-day-old baby and are taking some time to be at home as a family, but we are looking forward to our first trip together as a family of four.

We also spend a lot of time exploring San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area. And my wife is trying to impart upon me an appreciation of wine—I’ve learned to say really thought-provoking statements that get people to take me seriously. I’ll demonstrate, “Ooh this one finishes well.” And everyone nods in agreement. I have no idea what any of it means. I don’t think anyone does!

What brought you to telemedicine?

I grew very tired of the limitations of a purely hospital-based practice. I desired more freedom to work where and when I wanted. I wanted to be able to work while at home, on trips, or on vacation if I thought that would be appropriate. And I wanted to spend more time with my family.

Telemedicine allows me to do all of that.

I no longer feel the pressure to coordinate my work schedule with my wife’s work schedule months in advance. Our kid isn’t in daycare as often and I have much more freedom to be more of a dad and husband. I still work as an ED doc, but can do it on my terms now.

What’s your recent Wheel Moment of Freedom?

I was on a family trip to Hawaii this past September. It wasn’t budgeted for, and we hadn’t planned for it well. It was for my sister’s wedding which, while it was not last minute, did not allow for the adequate two to three decades of preparation my Type-A wife and I prefer for any type of family event.

I realized during that trip that by doing asynchronous consults, purely on my phone, I was able to cover the cost of travel for my entire family for the vacation. That was a huge relief and did not leave me thinking about needing to pick up extra shifts upon returning or filling the rest of my months’ schedule with long hours in the ER to offset the cost.

What do you think the future of healthcare holds?

I’ll be honest, the future of healthcare is something that I have always thought about with hesitation. It is a very hot topic politically and economically as everyone knows. I think as long as we continue to focus on providing access to care at a reasonable cost and work on getting patients to see doctors in the most efficient way, we’re still doing the right thing. I think telemedicine is a huge part of that future.

Thanks, Dr. Andrew, for being an essential member of the #WheelCareTeam!

Interested in joining us? Sign up to learn more about working in telehealth with Wheel.

Learn more about provider experiences in our previous spotlight interviews with an urgent care telemedicine nurse practitioner balancing career and family, a fourth-year resident embarking on her first job after residency, and a seasoned physician transitioning to telemedicine.

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