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A startup that's tackling a massive healthcare crisis is now trying to connect doctors to places with 'primary care deserts'

Business Insider logo Business Insider 11/15/2017 Lydia Ramsey

Grand Central Tech 5 Nomad Health © Provided by Business Insider Grand Central Tech 5 Nomad Health Hollis Johnson

  • Nomad Health, a startup that connects doctors and nurses to freelance work, is launching a telemedicine marketplace.
  • The marketplace could help telemedicine practices, which help doctors treat patients over the phone instead of in-person.


A startup that connects doctors and nurses to freelance work is starting to connect doctors to telemedicine jobs.

Dr. Alexi Nazem, Nomad Health's CEO, called this a "natural extension" of the work the company's doing now.  

Connecting doctors to hospitals that need them in the US is critical, especially as the country is expected to face a shortage of 90,000 physicians by 2025. And many places around the US have little or no access to primary care, a problem known as "primary care deserts." The hope is that telemedicine will be able to help fill things in. 

How freelance healthcare works

Right now, temporary healthcare jobs are usually connected via agencies. The process can take a long time, and it requires doctors to provide a lot of information along the way. It can also be expensive for the health systems that have to pay to find the workers. These agencies also don't connect doctors to telemedicine jobs, which is where Nazem said Nomad can step in.

Altogether, the market for temporary healthcare staff is about $15 billion, according to Nomad. Instead of going through agencies, Nomad uses a site to connect doctors to healthcare systems directly. Doctors can search for gigs by specifying which state they want to work in, or which electronic medical-records system they know best, among other filters. On the flip side, healthcare providers can supply a lot of information about the job in hopes of finding someone who's interested.

Through the site, the two parties can directly negotiate a contract that works for them, with Nomad helping by providing malpractice insurance for the doctors. In the end, Nomad takes a 15% cut, a rate much lower than the typical 30-40% commission brokers and agencies take.

So far, Nazem said that tens of thousands of doctors are using Nomad now. Getting telemedicine jobs could be an extension of the work they're doing now in physical practices.

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