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Getting What You Need from Part-Time Teleradiology

Part-time, locum tenens, moonlighting—in its many forms, practicing radiology on the side is a time-honored tradition. It offers an alternate pathway to financial freedom, an opportunity to broaden your skillset, and a tool for career exploration. Maybe you do some yourself. You wouldn’t be alone; a recent study from Medscape found that 42% of radiologists supplement their income with extra work, either by extending their hours or working outside their current position.

As vRad’s Medical Director, I see radiologists making this choice during many phases of their careers, from just out of residency into (semi)retirement. If you’ve explored part-time radiology or moonlighting positions—but especially if you haven’t—here are some of the reasons I’ve seen radiologists make the decision to work more, and why you might want to consider it too.


Earn as much as you want, at your own pace

Despite radiologists frequently working extra hours just to clear the worklist, many would still like to add part-time shifts. But they sometimes bump up against strict practice policies that prevent them from earning extra income in-house. These limits can add difficulty when juggling various combinations of the following expenses:

  • Medical school loans
  • Starting a family
  • Paying for a home
  • Catching up on retirement contributions
  • Putting a spouse, partner, or child through college
  • Funding an investment
  • Easing into a retirement schedule

At vRad, we see radiologists from a wide variety of practice types choosing to supplement their income with part-time remote radiology. Part of that decision is that—as long as they’re fulfilling their contracted hours—they can add on as much work as they choose. In fact, even many of our own full-timers take advantage of this policy, picking up extra shifts whenever they feel the need to add to their regular salaries. One sentence you won’t hear at vRad is, “No, you can’t read more studies.”


Keep more of your skills sharp

When you’re constantly reading a massive worklist full of similar types of studies, you might come to realize that you’re not seeing a very broad variety of pathologies. We have an interesting segment of part-time radiologists who purposefully sought us out to keep specific skills sharp. This includes groups like military radiologists, who see mostly healthy 20–50-year-olds, and want to see a more diverse patient mix, with higher acuity conditions. There are interventional radiologists who want to supplement procedure-heavy days with diagnostic reading at vRad. We also see sub-specialists like neuroradiologists who would like to read more complex studies that might not be common in smaller private practices.

vRad in particular is ideal for keeping skills fresh because we handle a broad array of studies, both emergent and non-emergent. In addition, as part of the onboarding process, radiologists can specify which studies they prefer to read. This can be a reflection of avoiding studies you’re not a fan of, or requesting study types you want to see more. This is an area where teleradiology might suit your needs better than locum tenens, in terms of case selection and variety.


A vehicle for career exploration

Part of controlling your career means having the freedom to completely change your career’s trajectory, and knowing it will be for the better. Many radiologists have opted into teleradiology or as a preview of sorts. As technology advances, more radiologists than ever are considering fully remote reading environments, with all of their inherent advantages. Testing out remote radiology part-time is a great way to see if it’s going to work for you.

Similarly, radiologists can use locum tenens assignments to feel out new hospitals, or cities they’re interested in moving to. Sometimes even just to break up the sameness of a current day-to-day schedule; to help stave off burnout with novelty. Being able to know in advance how a new career move is going to feel for you, personally, is invaluable. In fact, sometimes the extra salary benefit is merely a bonus.

If you reside in a remote area with fewer in-person options, teleradiology might be your perfect fit. If you’re just digging into the pros and cons of part-time radiology choices, I highly recommend this blog by vRad’s Dr. Nina Geatrakas.


Your radiology career path is personal

In terms of the economic freedom to make career moves, it’s a great time to be a radiologist! Part-time positions and fully remote reading are offering radiologists more choices than ever before. Even if you’re happy in your current position, it’s worth keeping an eye on your options. Supplementing via teleradiology is a great way to get more of what you need out of your career.

The key is to put yourself directly in the driver’s seat and make strategic choices that are right for you and your loved ones. The era when radiologists had to bend to the whims of an unforgiving market might return, but it’s not today. Take the time to analyze your career path while the industry is leaning in radiologists’ favor, and make sure it’s going the direction and the speed you want it to.

If not, teleradiology is a great way to make more money, read an exciting variety of cases, and explore new options. I encourage you to reach out if you’d like to find out if vRad ought to have a spot on your chosen career path.

Author Scott Baginski, MD

Medical Director, vRad



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