Dr. Nithin Natwa wears many hats. He practices family care, and he's also a board-certified physician in sports medicine. He provided care to football players at Michigan State University during his fellowship and continues to take on athletes as patients. He even runs an esports injury analysis Instagram account for his almost 13,000 followers.
He's also back in school, but this time for something entirely different: an MBA. Dr. Natwa returned to school in part so he could get a better understanding of how the healthcare system worked from a business perspective and channel that into opportunities for himself.
Attending business school allows Dr. Natwa to meet many entrepreneurially-minded people, giving him the opportunity to invest in their projects: "That's my goal with the MBA, on top of just the benefit of it being educational is to hopefully get involved with a couple of different ventures that will help increase some passive revenue for me going forward," he explains.
Ultimately, Dr. Natwa hopes that learning about business and earning money outside of his day job can help him become a better doctor overall.
"A lot of times we start being held at the whim of the overseer, of the hospital system in terms of our output," he says. "It would be very nice to just have a side passive income that we were able to not have to worry about having to meet quotas and able to just see the amount of patients that we want to see and provide good care."
In this episode of the Prosperous Doc, host Shane Tenny, CFP® chats with Dr. Natwa about his sports medicine work and what he hopes to accomplish with his MBA. They also discuss social media for doctors, the advantages to earning a passive income, advances in telemedicine, and how to deal with patients armed with internet theories.
Name: Dr. Nithin Natwa
What he does: Based in Detroit, Dr. Natwa works as a double board certified physician in sports and family medicine. He's also pursuing an MBA at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Company: Henry Ford Health System
Words of wisdom: "[Sports medicine] brought an appreciation to the fact that not everything important in life is about life or death. There are a lot of things out there that might seem mundane to the average person, but that are honestly life altering to a specific person."
Top takeaways from this episode
★ The neat thing about sports medicine? Patients are motivated. Convincing patients to take your advice isn't always easy. Not every patient with a sweet tooth is willing to switch to a healthier diet to prevent diabetes or heart disease, for example. But athletes depend on their healthy bodies for their livelihoods, which means that they're much more willing to take a physician's guidance.
★ The pandemic has accelerated health technology. A silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is the rise of virtual health, Dr. Natwa says. Although doctors have been visiting patients through telehealth for years, it's now become a mainstream part of healthcare — and that's good for both patients and doctors who want more efficient care.
★ Find other streams of income. Dr. Natwa has met entrepreneurs through his MBA program, and it has given him opportunities to invest in his classmates' business ventures. The stable income he earns as a physician allows him to take greater risks in those investments too.
★ Doctors can be influencers too. Many doctors have taken advantage of platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok to build up audiences and develop brands of their own. Eventually, they can monetize this brand; Dr. Natwa hopes to keep growing his fantasy football Instagram account so that he can eventually build another income stream through social media.
[5:16] Collegiate athletes are great patients: That's why Dr. Natwa describes why he prefers working with college athletes. He notes that professional athletes are mostly concerned with being in peak physical condition instead of focusing on long-term health; as adults, they're more likely to dismiss doctors' advice.
[11:03] Telemedicine is beneficial to the patient: Although patients tend to be skeptical about the quality of care they might receive through telemedicine, Dr. Natwa says they receive the same quality of care as in-person visits. In fact, telehealth appointments can help doctors work more efficiently and cut down on appointment wait times.
[13:15] Correcting myths about sports injuries: Dr. Natwa discusses what it actually takes to heal a strained muscle — no medication is going to cure that ankle sprain or knee injury.
[15:27] Esports is a huge industry, and it needs physicians too: Some might dismiss esports as "just video games," but it's really an untapped, multimillion-dollar industry, Dr. Natwa says. Doctors are needed for conditions like thumb sprains, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, and neck injuries.
[16:44] There's a correlation between esports and mood disorders: These mood disorders might be connected to a number of factors, like lack of social interaction or bad lighting.
[18:13] Younger patients love to weigh in on their diagnoses. Talk to them differently: Unlike older patients who tend to be deferential to doctors, millennials and Generation Z are much more likely to look up their condition online and weigh in during a doctor's visit.
[27:40] Health tech is a booming industry: Doctors can leverage their medical knowledge by taking on related professional roles, like sitting on a health technology advisory board.
[30:03] An MBA can lead to more opportunities in healthcare: While pursuing his MBA, Dr. Natwa is learning about operating, marketing and finance — all subjects that would allow him to transition to a part-time management role and climb the healthcare administrative ladder.
[32:20] Social media is about building trust: Developing a presence on social media isn't just about tallying up followers. If you share foundational medical knowledge, you're likely to get followers who are interested in health and wellness.
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Disclaimer: Prosperous Doc podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentists to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice. Spaugh Dameron Tenny is a comprehensive financial planning firm serving doctors and dentists in Charlotte, NC. To find out more about Spaugh Dameron Tenny, visit our website at www.sdtplanning.com. You can also connect with our host, Shane Tenny, CFP ® at email@example.com or on Twitter.
Compliance code: CRN202301-276399