Tech Innovator 'Nomad' Hopes to Become the 'Airbnb of Healthcare'
The Internet has done a great job in eliminating the middle man. It’s being used to bring people with rooms to rent to those looking for a place to stay, and has even brought people together looking to find a spouse. And now, physician Alexi Nazem’s company, Nomad, is trying to become “the Airbnb of healthcare." No, he’s not matching doctors with patients, but instead is matching doctors and nurses with hospitals and clinics looking for temporary help.
Yes, surprisingly, there’s an increase in the contracting of temporary medical professionals in a market where there’s a scarcity of new graduates, where more are retiring or leaving the medical field, and where some just want flexibility in their work.
Nazem’s goal is to build an online company that connects physicians and nurses with temporary jobs in hospitals and clinics. Currently, the work is handled by traditional placement agencies that act as the middlemen, matching jobs with candidates. But these agencies take a huge cut, estimated to be about 30-40 percent or about $15 billion per year. They also add another level of bureaucracy and slow down the process. The brokers require extensive paperwork to be filled out and take many months to fill a position.
By creating an online database of physicians and positions, Nomad can make a match much quicker, more efficiently and directly, with no middleman. Their online system will lower costs to the users by 40 percent, with the company taking a 15% fee.
Surprisingly, this startup is the first online company to help nurses and doctors and medical facilities find each other. While common in other fields, medicine has been slow to join the computer age.
Nomad co-founder Alexi Nazem told MobiHealthNews, “We’ve built the product, which is beautiful and functional, and now we want to get it in front of as many people as possible. There is a huge temporary staffing industry in the American healthcare system, but it is highly inefficient – the tools of the trade still involve a fax machine and telephones.”
Currently, Nomad is testing its service on a limited basis, working with more than two dozen hospitals and 400 doctors and nurses in New York and New Jersey.
“Anyone who needs to hire clinicians is a potential client for us. Over time, we will address a broader audience, and we see a lot of opportunities in telemedicine and retail clinics,” said Nazem, who has both a medical and business degree.
Surprisingly, tens of thousands of doctors and nurses are looking for freelance work. Why? It offers more flexibility for those nearing retirement age; they can find work part-time or in different locations that allow them to travel. Others just out of medical school have an opportunity to try out a position or earn extra money. And institutions are looking for freelancers to handle peak demands and to fill in for those on vacation.
Nomad creates electronic resumes of the doctors and nurses that make it easier for the hiring hospitals to search and find the best match for their needs. They also create a database of job listings that allows medical professionals to find positions of interest. There is complete transparency between both sides, unlike with brokers, where there is no direct contact between the candidates and health facility.
While applying technology to solving this problem seems almost rudimentary compared to other services that match customers with their needs, it is quite unique in the medical arena. Welcome to the computer age.