Career Definition of Telemedicine Physicians
As a telemedicine physician, your primary duty will be to communicate with and treat patients via mediated communication, such as telephone calls, video chatting, or online chatting. You will treat patients with non-emergency health conditions, such as abrasions, flu symptoms, or ear infections. In addition to treating minor illnesses, you may also assist patients with ongoing health issues. This may include mental health counseling, managing prescription medications, pain management, and dealing with chronic health conditions. You could also be responsible for supervising junior medical personnel as a telemedicine physician.
In telemedicine, you will be providing patients with care that can be more affordable and efficient than a traditional office visit. You can choose to work full-time or part-time, with some telemedicine companies offering the opportunity to create your own schedule. Some physicians in this field also serve as a traditional physician and work in telemedicine in their off hours.
|Educational Requirements||Doctoral or professional degree|
|Job Skills||Superior communication skills and excellent technical abilities|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$208,000 (Physicians & Surgeons)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||13% (Physicians & Surgeons)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
A telemedicine physician has the same educational requirements as a regular physician. You will need a bachelor's degree in order to enter medical school and earn your doctoral or professional degree. Your next step is to complete a residency rotation in your chosen field of medicine, which can take anywhere from three to seven years. After completing your residency, you must pass the United States Medical Licensing exam and meet requirements in your state of practice. In addition, some telemedicine companies may require you to pursue board certification in your chosen field of medicine.
You will need superior communication skills and excellent technical abilities to serve as a telemedicine physician. You must be comfortable interacting with patients over mediated communication using an application like Skype. As a telemedicine physician, you will need to successfully address patients' concerns, some of whom may not be at ease using a telemedicine service. Because you are not able to physically examine the patient, you must be able to ask patients the right questions in order to provide a correct diagnosis.
Career Outlook and Salary
The emerging field of telemedicine is not specifically reported on by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Instead, this field would fall under the general group of physicians and surgeons. This group has a projected job growth of 13%, which the BLS describes as much faster than average. In addition, the BLS reports that physicians and surgeons earn a median yearly salary equal to or greater than $208,000.
If you are interested in working in the medical field, there are many alternative careers you can pursue. Take a look at the three careers profiled below, including an optometrist and a surgeon.