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    Building technology to let physicians take control of their careers

    Alexi Nazem, MD, MBA, is familiar with living in two worlds: He’s American and Iranian, a physician and an entrepreneur. The internist known for his curiosity believes his unique perspective at the intersection of business and medicine can help him provide a way for doctors to build more flexible and satisfying careers. He might just help solve the physician shortage along the way. 

    Nazem is chief executive officer and cofounder of Nomad Health, a healthcare technology startup designed to connect freelance physicians with locum tenens work. 

    Founding Nomad was a business opportunity for Nazem and his partners: the market for temporary healthcare staff is estimated at $15 billion. 

    But it also provided a way to leverage his desire to help physicians connect more easily with patients in need while  taking on one of healthcare’s seemingly intractable problems: The frustrating task of looking for work as a physician, navigating a convoluted web of staffing brokers with inscrutable requirements. 


    PODCAST FROM ALEXI NAZEM: Tips for physicians to improve their lives


    Nazem has his share of personal horror stories: giant applications that need to be filled out more than once because of minor technicalities, or months-long delays even for short temporary assignments. 

    “Doctors want to be at the patient’s bedside but the system that we have today is so complex that actually getting to the bedside is a very challenging task,” Nazem says. “It’s actually a very challenging series of tasks. Contrast that with applying on Nomad. It takes maybe five or six minutes to fill out a comprehensive application and then you can apply to any job on the platform.”

    This is one reason why Nazem believes his company can help alleviate some causes of the physician shortage, which is in part a workforce liquidity issue. “There is also a lot of inefficiency existing in the system in terms of getting people to the right job at the right time,” he says.

    Next: "What drives burnout for doctors is all of the sort of complexity around their work"

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      The baked-in problems with health care delivery in the US is complex and multifaceted. Most of these issues can be boiled down to misaligned incentives among providers/insurers/suppliers, overwhelming and oppressive regulatory controls, and poor resource allocation. Regarding the inefficiencies discussed, the barriers to telemedicine are not lack of patient or provider enthusiasm, but a system that does not provide payment fot these services. Added to this is a lack of legal reform to take the limitations of telemedicine into account. A more open market would have solved this problem long ago. Its amazing how provider behavior is directly influened by payor policy. I think more flexible work opportunies is a good idea and may bring in providers who have been otherwise marginalized. Finally, we have a patient culture that squanders resources: The average office no show rate nation-wide sits around 15% because there are no consequences. Do that in Canada, and you go back to the beginning of a 3 month waiting list. Fixing this problem alone would be a big deal, which a free market would probably solved more quickly.

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