From the desk of the EMD: Side gigs for allergists

April 1, 2019

Dr. Michael Blaiss, EMDFor most allergists, we are busy enough—in fact, too busy, with more and more patients, time on the EHR and dealing with insurance companies. So why would I waste your time writing about side gigs for allergists? I can think of a few reasons. One, not every allergist may be as “booked” as they would like to be and even if fully booked, with the continued decrease in reimbursement, there may be the need for more income. Two, some allergists might like to cut back on patient care but don’t want to see a loss of income. Third, you may want to branch out beyond patient care. You want to use your knowledge and get paid for it. If you are an employed allergist getting a W-2, then a side gig with 1099 income may have some great tax advantages for deductions and increased retirement savings. If you fit into one of these scenarios, then a side gig may make sense for you.

But you might say, I am an allergist. All I know how to do is treat patients. What kind of side gig could possibly work for me?

Let’s look at some part-time options that make sense for the clinical allergist.

  1. Medical consulting – there are many companies that want to know how you care for patients and your thoughts on new treatments. They may act as a middleman connecting you with independent contractor consultants who are interested in your expertise. Typically, you are paid per survey or an hourly fee for consulting. One of the major companies that use allergists is the Gerson Lehman Group. You can sign up on their website.
  2. Telemedicine – your practice may be delving into telemedicine, but there are also private companies which hire physicians for part-time, or even seasonal service to care for patients from the comfort of your own home, office or any convenient location - from anywhere in the U.S. Usually they are looking for primary care physicians, like family practice, pediatrics and internal medicine. But all of us in allergy are either pediatric or internal medicine trained, so it could be a fit for you. Examples are Doctors on Demand and American Well.
  3. Medical surveys – like medical consulting, there are many groups that want to know your thoughts on clinical care, current treatments and opinions on future treatments. You are usually paid a fee for each completed survey. Here are just a few of the many businesses involved in medical surveys: M3 Global Research, MedScape and MedSurvey and Passive Income M.D. lists many more you could contact.

There are numerous other clinical related side gigs that may be a great fit for you, such as performing clinical trials, chart reviews, medical writing, acting as an expert witness and pharmaceutical and/or CME speaking. And I haven’t even mentioned the non-clinical side gigs which may appeal to you. These include things like real estate investing, stock market, online business and podcasting. The list can go on and on – opportunities are everywhere.

If you are interested in knowing more about physician side gigs, there is a website and Facebook closed group called Physician Side Gigs, which has over 28,000 verified physicians. It was started by Nisha Mehta, MD, a radiologist, for physicians who are interested in pursuing passion projects or alternate income streams. It is intended to support physicians in these endeavors and create opportunities to network and seek advice. 

The great thing about being an allergist is that your MD degree is a key that opens the door on many opportunities along with caring for patients.

Michael Blaiss, MD, FACAAI, Executive Medical Director