Medical Director vs Collaborating Physician – What’s the Difference?

Medical directors are pivotal for compliance and streamlined operations in many medical facilities. In some cases, having a medical director or collaborating physician is necessary for medical oversight and ensuring your practice is doing things legally. However, laws vary between states and municipalities concerning when medical oversight is required.

If you’re searching for a medical director for your business, you may have come across the term collaborating physician. A collaborating physician is the same as a medical director, it’s just a different term. 

Here’s a detailed breakdown of medical director vs. collaborating physician to help you with your search. 

What Does a Medical Director Do Outside of a Hospital?

You’ve likely searched for what is a medical director and come across the quick definition of what one does and how they are required for compliance reasons and medical oversight in medical businesses. 

Medical directors don’t just work in hospitals; in fact, there is a long list of businesses that need these licensed physicians in place to function properly. In a medical business like an IV hydration clinic, MedSpa, psychiatry business, or in-home nurse practitioner, the medical director will review the policies and operations of your business and provide the necessary approval for things like good faith exams and signing off on medication orders. 

Where a medical director is allowed to work is restricted by licensing, but for the most part, medical directors can work alongside savvy business owners to grow their medical or health-related businesses. 

Is a Collaborating Physician Different From a Medical Director?

A collaborating physician is a term that refers to the position of a medical director. The basic difference between the two terms is semantics. 

The creation of the term collaborating physician came about due to the shifting role of the medical director. Historically, the medical director is thought to be in a hospital setting, running a division or a specialty. Now, medical directors are mobile, and they help more clinics and practices provide quality medicinal services. 

So what’s with the two terms? The term medical director was changed to better describe the role outside of the hospital where the director works in collaboration with, or in partnership with, nurse practitioners and other advanced licensed individuals.

What is the Basic Requirement for Being a Medical Director or Collaborating Physician?

A medical director or collaborating physician who is providing oversight for a nurse, nurse practitioner (NP) or physician’s assistant (PA) will be a licensed doctor in their practice location. At this point, they likely have multiple medical degrees, years of experience in the field and decades of experience.

Most experienced licensed medical directors will know what they need to do to ensure compliance in your medical facility. However, if you end up hiring a medical director straight from a hospital setting, then there may be a necessary adjustment period where they learn your operations or practices and how they differ from those in institutional settings. 

In essence, all that is required of a medical director or collaborating physician is a medical license in your state and the understanding that it may take time to train them for your purpose. 

Responsibilities of a Collaborating Physician

The collaborating physician or medical director hired to provide medical oversight in your medical facility will do all they can within their scope of practice to ensure your business runs smoothly. It’s important to understand what exactly they will help with, as many business owners think that they will take over operations or set up compliance policies.

Collaborating physicians aren’t there to set up your healthcare practice for you. Instead, they want to review the systems that you have in place and make sure that they follow the necessary compliance requirements. 

This means that they will be doing things like reviewing the operational procedures for the treatment at hand, ensuring that they are doing patient checks or good faith exams when required, signing off on medication orders, and helping with HIPAA or MIPPS filing requirements. 

Where Can You Find the Best Medical Director?

Whether or not your medical business needs a medical director, you can find one local to you or through a remote medical director service like ours. 

Using a source like Guardian MD can speed up this process and make the assimilation process far more efficient. Our medical director partnership services allow NPs and PAs the ability to connect with an educated, licensed physician in the United States related to their area of practice so that they can quickly and more efficiently run their medical practice. 

Take away the legwork of finding a qualified and experienced medical director with GuardianMD. Our rigorous approval process means that you’ll receive exceptional professional medical oversight and supportive compliance services. 

The services that we can help with include:

If you’re tired of trying to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong when it comes to choosing a medical director, schedule a discovery call and learn more about what GuardianMD can do for you!