The Gig Economy Has Arrived in Healthcare

The Gig Economy Has Arrived in Healthcare

The Gig Economy Has Arrived in Healthcare

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated physician interest in participating in the healthcare gig economy.

Gig workers are independent contractors who work for one or a variety of employers instead of a long term full time contract with a single company. 

There are many reasons why the numbers of 1099 docs are growing. They include:

  1. Dissatisfaction with the practice of medicine
  2. Concerns about personal and family safety
  3. Generational attitudes
  4. Job insecurity, furloughs and layoffs
  5. The desire to expand impact and change a dysfunctional system
  6. Income threats and inequalities
  7. Family obligations and caregiving requirements
  8. Gender and racial inequalities and obligations and other aspects of the dark underbelly of medicine
  9. Burnout, disability, divorce, illness, or disciplinary actions
  10. Inability for international medical graduates to get a US state medical license or those who have stopped practicing for a while to re-enter the clinical workforce.

While the opportunities to contribute value to patients and other healthcare system stakeholders in non-clinical careers is big, there are potential hurdles and gaffes you can make too. Common ones are:

  1. Not having the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies to add value in your chosen gig
  2. Having unrealistic expectations about income potential and benefits
  3. Ignoring blind spots and not acknowledging that you don't know what you don't know
  4. Not following a plan to secure a job as a physician advisor, consultant of chief medical officer in a company.
  5. Not understanding the difference between a doctor and a physician entrepreneur
  6. Picking the wrong spot to play
  7. Confusing the clinical mindset with the entrepreneurial mindset
  8. Making rookie mindset mistakes
  9. Engaging coaches with marginal qualifications or hiring one when you are not ready to be coached
  10. Quitting your day job too early

Making a career pivot will take rethinking your education and finding resources, networks, mentors, experience, peer support and the proper non-clinical career guidance. Failure to do so might result in grumpiness recidivism.


Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs

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  • Trevor McKee

    Doctors are underpaid in some countries.....

  • Mark Caldwell

    The gig economy is the further evolution of capitalism

  • Stuart Middleton

    Welcome to the "Uber" world !!

  • Mark Jackson

    Freedom matters for some health care workers

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at and and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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