Lyft drivers. AirBnB operators. Doctors?
Clinicians may not be the first profession that comes to mind when thinking of who participates in the gig economy. But as doctor and nurse shortages rise — by 2032, the American Association of Medical Colleges predicts the U.S. will be short up to 121,900 physicians — and Baby Boomers age, there is a growing opportunity for physicians to freelance.
Nomad Health is banking on that opportunity by connecting clinicians with temporary gigs through its healthcare job board.
“Healthcare staffing is a $20 billion industry that is growing very quickly and is very susceptible to intervention and disruption by tech,” said Alexi Nazem, a medical doctor and the co-founder and CEO of Nomad Health.
“When we do our job right, we’re putting doctors and nurses at the bedside of people that need them.”
Founded in late 2015 “by clinicians, for clinicians,” Nomad announced it raised $34 million in new equity and debt financing last week, with plans to nearly double its staff, open a second office and enhance its technology platform. Icon Ventures led the funding round, with Icon General Partner Tom Mawhinney joining Nomad’s board of directors.
Mawhinney said Nomad’s work helps address hospital staff shortages, as well as burnout among doctors and nurses.
“The success of Nomad has far-reaching implications for patients and providers,” Mawhinney said in a statement. “I am excited to work alongside the company as it continues to revolutionize the healthcare workforce.”
Polaris Partners, RRE Ventures, .406 Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank also participated in the funding round, bringing total investment in Nomad to $50 million. The funds will help Nomad continue to grow.
The company said its revenue has increased 500 percent from this time last year, with more than 4,000 healthcare across the nation using the platform to list jobs, and nearly 100,000 clinicians with profiles on Nomad. Nazem declined to disclose further details about the company’s revenue.
Forty-five percent of physicians on the platform are “actively” looking for jobs, according to Nomad, which said 30 percent of positions are located in non-metro areas where clinician shortages are the gravest.
“It’s a way to attract high quality, highly specialized talent to places you may not be able to get that person full-time, 24/7,” Nazem said. “You can’t hire a neurosurgeon in rural Nebraska all year long, but you can have four different ones to each come for three months. It’s a way for hospitals to actually get the talent that they need.”
In addition to helping hospitals outside big cities attract staff, Nazem said Nomad helps facilities plug staff shortages, and deal with fluctuations in personnel needs.
“A hospital in Florida will need many more doctors and nurses in December than in August,” he said.
It can also help hospitals provide episodic coverage. Nazem said physicians may be interested in joining the platform to get the opportunity to practice in a new clinical practice setting, look for freelance work to supplement their full-time jobs or “maybe they like the opportunity to get paid more. You can get paid on a per-hour basis and generally get paid more as short-term clinician.”
Traditionally, temporary doctors and nurses would need to interview with six staffing agencies to match with a position, Nazem said. Eventually, brokers would match candidates with a position, with little transparency around the original job posting, he said.
Nomad considers these traditional brokers its biggest competitors — Nazem named AMN Healthcare staffing agency as an example — and credits company growth to word of mouth, as well as its ability to cater to millennial work preferences.
“We know how millennials like to engage the workforce and that is as true with doctors and nurses too,” Nazem said. “It’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of thing.”
Work assignments on Nomad can range from a week to a year, although the most common placement lasts three months.
Nomad charges health care facilities a commission based on every job filled. Nazem said the commission is based on a variety of factors — including location, physician specialty, supply and more — but that it is “on average between two and four times less than traditional agencies,” which he said charge between 40 and 70 percent of a commission.
Doctors are designated as independent contractors through Nomad, and nurses are hired on as temporary employees through the platform. Nomad provides all workers with malpractice insurance.
The company plans to use the new cash to nearly double its staff to 90 people by the end of the year, with “large investments” in engineers and in the tech side of the organization, Nazem said. These new employees will support the opening of its second office in Charlotte, North Carolina — where the company hopes to attract a more diversified pool of talent and partner with more hospitals in new locations — as well as help Nomad streamline its user experience for clinicians.
Nazem said Nomad aims to introduce machine-learning to better match candidates to open positions, and reduce the number of clicks in its onboarding, application and document management processes.
In addition to the funding announcement, Nomad announced Bob Livonius has joined the company’s strategic advisory board.
Livonius, former CEO of Medfinders, which is now owned by AMN Healthcare, called Nomad the first marketplace of its kind.
“As the first company to bring the online job marketplace to clinicians nationwide, Nomad is a true innovator in the healthcare staffing space,” Livonius said in a statement. “The company is building fresh solutions that healthcare staffing desperately needs.”