Hiring health care professionals tends to be more complicated than it needs to be, says Alexi Nazem, MD, the CEO and Co-Founder of Nomad Health, a freelance physician marketplace with dreams of ending the nationwide physician shortage.
An internal medicine physician himself, Nazem had been through the hiring process multiple times and knew there had to be a better solution for small practices and large hospitals alike. Physicians Practice recently spoke with Nazem about his organization's unique hiring process as well as the future of freelance physicians.
Physicians Practice: Where did the idea for a freelance physician marketplace come from?
Alexi Nazem: My co-founders and I, two of whom are also doctors, had experienced the pain of looking for a job. It's very inefficient and very frustrating. You're bombarded with phone calls and emails from recruiters and even when you are hired, the onboarding process is very cumbersome. It's all paper-based and there's faxing and credentialing. We just knew there had to be a better way to do this. We also thought about the clinician shortage, there are not enough doctors and nurses to meet the growing needs of American patients. One way to help that is with freelance work.
PP: Where is this marketplace available?
AN: We're in multiple states. About a dozen, mostly on the east coast. From Massachusetts to Florida on the east coast and then California and Texas. Our goal is to be in all 50 states by late 2018 or early 2019. The markets vary, some are able to employ both doctors and nurses, while others can only employ [just one] for the time being.
PP: How does the unique onboarding process help clinics with hiring?
AN: We wanted to cut out the middle man, get rid of the staffing brokers, and allow doctors and nurses to directly interact with hospitals, clinics, and telemedicine companies. This allows them to negotiate in an efficient fashion online so that everything happens quickly and at a much lower cost.
The marketplace puts the control back in clinics' hands. They don't need to use a staffing agency looking for an emergency room doctor. Instead, [the clinics] make all of the decisions. Finally, because everything is done online, everything is done efficiently. There is no faxing and minimal paperwork.
PP: Can any size clinic use the marketplace to hire?
AN: Anyone that needs to hire doctors or nurses, are our potential clients. You could be a one doctor primary-care clinic looking for cover three weeks' vacation, all the way up to a mega hospital system with 20 locations, looking to hire multiple clinicians throughout the year.
PP: What types of specialties can be hired?
AN: Any type, from primary care to emergency medicine to psychiatry. All depends on the needs of the clinics. Right now, the majority of jobs in the marketplace are primary care, internal medicine, nurses, and psychiatry…and that's based on need.
PP: What makes freelance physicians unique?
AN: I think the numbers of freelance physicians will grow in the future for a few reasons, the most important of which is freelance doctors can help fill the gaps in care, those critical shortages. Will the majority of doctors and nurses in America be freelancers ten years from now? I don't believe they will, but the number will continue to grow.