With the rise of startups and increase in remote working, some of the latest trends in office environments have been coworking spaces and traveling desks. The ability to freely move and temporarily try out new working environments is one that is fitting of someone whose only necessary work tool is a computer, but incredibly exclusionary of many traditional professions that require more tools of the trade.
Imagine though if it was as easy for doctors to move around about the country into new operating rooms as it was for computer programmers to shuffle coworking desks. How would this change not only the lives of doctors who would be able to see more of the country, but also patients who could have access to specialists that would have otherwise been too geographically far off to visit? This future is not as far off as it seems with the rise of the latest startup, Nomad Health, which is focused on freelance clinical work.
Nomad is an online platform that enables doctors and hospitals to connect to fill short-term freelance positions, known as locum tenens, without the traditional middleman. Traditionally, when hiring for locum tenens, the broker in the middle of the deal usually requires hospitals to pay a 30-40% commission for filling the position. With Nomad’s system, medical facilities and doctors are able to communicate about open positions directly instead of attempting to operate through a third-party gatekeeper. The entire process of both finding and filling short-term clinical jobs is also hosted online without the onerous process of mountains of paperwork so that staffing can occur much more efficiently.
Zander Pease, who is the Co-founder and Head of Product at Nomad Health, filled us in more on Nomad’s process and exciting projects that they currently have underway this year.
Junto Health (JH): Why are you passionate about working at Nomad Health? What lead to Nomad’s initial creation?
Zander Pease (ZP): Nomad Health was founded to fix a hugely inefficient part of our healthcare system: the locum tenens industry. “Locum tenens” refers to doctors working in a part-time role, an arrangement used by +90% of U.S. hospitals. Yet this $3 billion industry is exclusively served by luddite agencies with high costs and poor user experience. We launched Nomad as the first platform to empower doctors and facilities to find and contract each other directly, without an agency. Soon, we will be expanding into travel nursing.
This ties Nomad’s broader mission: simplifying healthcare labor. Our entire healthcare system rests on the millions of highly trained clinicians delivering care – maximizing their potential is, for me, a big, exciting problem to work on.
JH: Where is your largest market currently based?
ZP: Nomad launched in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut just over a year ago. Since then, our focus has expanded to the entire East Coast and Southern United States. We are most excited to launch in Texas and California soon, as they are the largest locums markets in the country.
JH: Are there any medical specialties that you have seen requiring a large amount of locum tenens?
ZP: There are locum tenens opportunities for every medical specialty, but the industry as a whole is concentrated around Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Psychiatry. These particular specialties are critically needed at hospital facilities, where patient demand is urgent.
JH: What are the main aspects that drive doctors to look for temporary positions?
ZP: We tend to see doctors in one of three categories. More and more young doctors, recently out of residency, work locum tenens to explore different practice settings and for the extra pay, in addition to their full-time job. The second category is older doctors who appreciate the freedom and flexibility that locums provides – it’s often seen as a way to ease into retirement. And lastly, we have an active base of doctors who work locums for the bulk of their career. These freelance professionals maintain multiple state licenses and are our “power users”.
JH: What is the next milestone for Nomad Health?
ZP: Our next biggest milestone is launching Nomad for nurses and mid-level providers, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Last month we released a beta version of our product for this market and started taking applications, we have been completely blown away by the interest. Nurses, same as doctors, are eager to be able to find job opportunities transparently – without using agency recruiters. It’s a big space to tackle, but we’re excited to make an impact.
JH: Will your program for nurses be run in the same manner as physicians? What is the goal of expanding into the nursing field?
ZP: There are significant differences between the locum tenens and travel nursing market, particularly concerning employment regulations, but the spirit of Nomad is the same. We are the first platform to empower nurses and medical facilities to find, message, and contract directly with one another, without an agency recruiter. We believe in zero paperwork and transparent pricing.
The most exciting aspect of the expansion is the fact that we are positively impacting even more clinicians. Our company mission fits perfectly with the travel nursing industry needs, and we’re confident that nurses will love the Nomad experience.
JH: What has the biggest challenge been for you with developing a platform in the health sphere where innovation is only recently beginning to boom? The easiest aspect?
ZP: Trying to innovate in healthcare is a unique challenge. We are lucky that Nomad skirts some of the more difficult challenges (HIPAA regulations, heavy software integration, etc.) and that we’re innovating in an existing market (the locum tenens industry is at least 30 years old). Having said that, driving new technology adoption and selling to large hospital systems can be slow especially since we’re often working with systems that have been hiring in a certain way for a long time.
One the flip side, we directly benefit from healthcare innovation at large. The recent boom of urgent care centers, for example, is a huge opportunity for us. These centers are technologically savvy, price sensitive, and don’t have the ties to our recruitment competitors.
Moreover, as centers seek opportunities to drive efficiency, clinicians across the country are also eagerly embracing new technologies to help make their lives easier. Our team at Nomad is motivated to reduce major administrative burdens on clinicians. Using simple and modern technology, we strive to make it easier for them to focus on what they do best – taking care of patients, and our communities at large.
To learn more about Nomad Health you can visit their website and follow them on Twitter (@Nomad_Health).