Oct 9, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Working from home has some pretty sweet perks. From the incredible convenience of bypassing a time-consuming and costly commute to lesser-known upsides, like the benefits to the environment, the concept of working from home can be a uniquely appealing one. Think you’re out of luck when it comes to landing a remote job because you work in the field of healthcare? Think again. In fact, there are an abundance of home-based jobs out there -- if you know where to look, that is. Read on for a roundup of four work-from-home healthcare jobs to consider.

1. Telehealth Nurse

As the intersection of two red-hot fields, telehealth fuses healthcare with technology to offer patients an alternative to costly and often unnecessary visits to a doctor’s office. While telehealth isn’t all that new (patients have been calling doctors for generations), the advent of everything from video chat to electronic health records is transforming healthcare delivery.

Says Minority Nurse of the trend, “While the basic practice of using technology to connect with patients is the same, telehealth nursing is one area that has evolved over the decades, opening doors for nurses to enhance their careers and help improve patients’ overall healthcare experiences. Telehealth services can support the coordination of care, enhance patient experience, and decrease overall health care costs.”

And the advantages aren’t just to the patient. Nurses working in telehealth also gain professional benefits. Continues Minority Nurse, “Telehealth nursing has rapidly evolved into a role that is a key member of the patient care team and a meaningful career with opportunities for growth. Today, telehealth nurses work with cutting-edge therapies and support patients in a variety of rare disease states, giving nurses the opportunity to pursue an area they’re passionate about, and be a resource to patients throughout their therapeutic journey. To do this, telehealth nurses need a deep understanding of clinical specialties and therapies. In support, many companies that employ telehealth nurses offer trainings and continued learning programs so nurses can expand their knowledge, earn accreditations, and elevate their degree.”

2. Medical Writer

It’s not exactly news that writers can work practically anywhere. But the breadth and depth of things they’re writing about may surprise you. One particular area of writing ripe for people with backgrounds in scientific and medical topics? Medical writing.

A Perspectives in Clinical Research journal article defines the duties and responsibilities as follows: “Medical writing involves writing scientific documents of different types which include regulatory and research-related documents, disease or drug-related educational and promotional literature, publication articles like journal manuscripts and abstracts, content for healthcare websites, health-related magazines or news articles. The scientific information in these documents needs to be presented to suit the level of understanding of the target audience, namely, patients or general public, physicians or the regulators.”

Which begs the question: Do you have what it takes to be a medical writer?  If you don’t yet, you can, insists the article: “Medical writers require an understanding of the medical concepts and terminology, knowledge of relevant guidelines as regards the structure and contents of specific documents, and good writing skills. They also need to be familiar with searching medical literature, understanding and presenting research data, the document review process, and editing and publishing requirements. Many resources are now available for medical writers to get the required training in the science and art of medical writing, and upgrade their knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis. The demand for medical writing is growing steadily in pharmaceutical and healthcare communication market. Medical writers can work independently or be employed as full time professionals. Life sciences graduates can consider medical writing as a valuable career option.”

3. Case Manager

According to the Case Management Society of America (CMSA), “Case management is a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation, care coordination, evaluation, and advocacy for options and services to meet an individual’s and family’s comprehensive health needs through communication and available resources to promote quality, cost-effective outcomes.”

Just as opportunities for telehealth nurses continue to rise, so do opportunities for remote case managers. And the work they’re doing can make a real difference. One study published in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing determined that “the use of telehealth technology has the potential to effectively assist case management and home health agencies manage their caseloads, increase responsiveness to a client’s changing medical conditions, and address the ongoing nursing shortage.”

4. Medical Coder

Do you have an aptitude for math, number and attention to detail? If so, a career in medical coding may be right for you. The American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC) says, “Medical coding is the transformation of healthcare diagnosis, procedures, medical services, and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric codes. The diagnoses and procedure codes are taken from medical record documentation, such as transcription of physician's notes, laboratory and radiologic results, etc. Medical coding professionals help ensure the codes are applied correctly during the medical billing process, which includes abstracting the information from documentation, assigning the appropriate codes, and creating a claim to be paid by insurance carriers.” 

And while many of them work in hospitals, physician’s offices, and nursing care facilities, others work from home. Not only that, but given increasing demand -- its projected rate of growth between 2014 to 2024 is an impressive 15 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- it follows that employers will do more to entice the best and brightest talent, including offering more flexible and remote work arrangements.

One last thing to keep in mind? While working at home is a dream come true for many people, for others the lack of structure, uptick in distractions, minimal opportunities for socialization, and struggles with work-life balance can be a challenge. By proactively devising and implementing strategies aimed at helping to counter these potential issues, you can set yourself up for a fulfilling and productive experience as a remote worker in the booming healthcare field.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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