Interviewing to Practice Telemedicine From Abroad? Here are 10 Must-Ask Questions!

Got an interview with a telemedicine company coming up? Fabulous! Let’s make sure you’re fully clued in about your potential new gig and the exciting possibility of practicing telemedicine from anywhere in the world.

Here are the 10 Must-Ask questions!

1. In which setting are you providing care, and through which modality?

Knowing whether your patients will be inpatient, outpatient, at home, in a nursing home, or in an urgent or primary care setting will help you determine their potential acuity and whether the course of treatment will be short-term or longitudinal. Medical care can also be provided through various modalities, from an e-consultation, a second opinion, and remote monitoring to a virtual visit.

Make sure that you feel comfortable providing care in the setting and treatment modality that your role would encompass and its associated liability.  

2. Will you be e-prescribing?

Consider which types of medications you feel comfortable e-prescribing and which medications will need follow-up. Importantly, from our personal communications with the DEA, the DEA does not allow you to prescribe controlled substances while providing care from abroad.

3. Will you be considered an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

If you’re an employee, the employer will withhold income tax, social security, and medicare contributions from your wages but may also offer employment benefits – which may be less useful if you practice telemedicine from abroad. As an independent contractor, you’ll have greater ability to tax-deduct expenses related to your work with the company but you won’t receive a benefits package.

4. Is the patient population covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurers?

This information can give you a sense of the demographics of the patient population. In addition, providers residing outside of the US are not eligible to bill Medicare/Medicaid. If you plan to live outside the US and practice telemedicine into the US, ensure that you won’t be billing Medicare and Medicaid directly.

5. What is the compensation structure?

Different companies have different compensation models. For inpatient or emergency room care, some companies will pay you by the hour, others will compensate you for each patient seen, and others will have a hybrid model.

For outpatient work, you’ll want to know how long ahead of time patients are scheduled and if you are paid for no-shows.

Know your worth – don’t be afraid to negotiate.

6. Is there a minimal commitment?

Some companies require you to commit to a minimal number of hours per week or shifts per month, while others will have no such commitment, and you can join the platform PRN. Know what you’re getting yourself into.

7. Is Malpractice Insurance provided?

If the telemedicine company provides malpractice insurance, know whether it’s a claims-made or occurrence policy. A claims-made policy provides coverage if the policy is in effect when the claim was made AND when a lawsuit was filed. Ideally, a claims-made policy would provide “tail coverage” that extends coverage for a period of time after the policy has ended. Occurrence policies cover claims for an event that took place during the coverage period – it doesn’t require tail coverage. An occurrence policy is often more expensive and less frequently offered by employers.

8. In which states does the company provide clinical care?

This will dictate which state medical licenses you’ll need. It’s also worth asking whether a company will reimburse you for obtaining new state medical licenses.

9. Do they allow providers to practice telemedicine from abroad?

This is a critical question for those interested in practicing telemedicine from abroad. Some telemedicine companies will not allow providers to be outside the US at the time of the appointment to stay within CMS Medicare/Medicaid regulations or the terms of the malpractice insurance.

That said, there are a number of telemedicine companies that DO allow providers to be abroad. You’ll want to ensure their telemedicine platform is accessible outside the US, or consider connecting through a VPN. Check out our list of telemedicine companies that allow you to work from abroad (and those that don’t).

10. Talk to a physician who’s already working with the company

If you’re still not sure if this position is right t for you, ask to speak with a physician already working for the company to get a better idea. You’ll want to know if support staff are responsive, how patient safety concerns are handled through the telemedicine platform, and whether you’re paid correctly and on time.

Bottom Line

Get ready to rock your telemedicine interview with these 10 must-ask questions. Being fully informed will help you land a gig that’s a perfect fit for you. And if you’re planning to work from abroad, be upfront about it. For a list of telemedicine companies that support working from abroad, click here!

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Ashwini Bapat, MD, is a palliative care doctor, a co-founder of Hippocratic Adventures and EpioneMD Coaching. She lives in Portugal with her husband and 2 kids. When she’s not blogging, you’ll find her swimming in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, frosting a cake, or watching the Korean reality show “Single’s Inferno” with her husband.

For a personalized approach to moving abroad, learn about how our Guidance Service can help.

Originally Published November 13, 2020.

Updated June 7, 2024



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