Nomad Health co-founders Alexi Nazem, left, and Zander Pease.
“It was so painful.”
That’s how Dr. Alexi Nazem summed up his almost yearlong experience trying to get freelance work as a doctor.
Nazem had to work with brokers, who shepherded him through a process that eventually led to a 94-page contract that had to be filled out by hand and mailed in.
Realizing there had to be a better way, Nazem created Nomad Health, a site that helps connect freelance doctors to work in healthcare systems.
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 starting Tuesday, Nomad’s extending that service to nurses who are looking for short-term work, an area where there are also staffing shortages.
Nomad, which raised $4 million in funding in 2016, currently works with doctors and hospitals in 14 states. Nazem said the company wanted to wait to launch into the nursing market, but because there has been such a demand already, the company will get started in Texas ahead of schedule.
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.
Altogether, the market for temporary healthcare staff is about $15 billion, according to Nomad. Of that market, nurses make up about $7 billion, Nazem said.
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.
Things will be slightly different for nurses because Nomad will have to outright hire them and provide benefits. (Doctors are part of the system as contractors.) Otherwise, the system is pretty much the same.
Eventually, Nazem said, the hope is to take the company’s namesake to a new level by promoting “travel nursing,” in which nurses who want to see the world — or in this case, just the US — can move around while staying employed with temporary nursing gigs.
“It’s a really interesting slice of the freelance market,” Nazem said.
For now, though, Nomad plans to work with nurses and healthcare systems in Texas before eventually going national.