What Does a Medical Advisor Do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A medical advisor provides information for organizations and individuals who need accurate and useful data on medical conditions or specific cases. Careers in this field are available in a variety of settings and usually require a medical degree along with experience in clinical practice. For increased authority, it helps to have a history of publication credits, involvement in research, and conference presentations which all indicate that a medical advisor is familiar with the field and can provide up-to-date information on request.

A man his pulse while reading information from an online medical advisor.
A man his pulse while reading information from an online medical advisor.

Film, television, and other media may use a medical advisor to ensure information is communicated accurately and appropriately. In fictional settings, this can include consultants to make sure a condition or injury is depicted believably and handled in a way that would be realistic; a television show might want a character to get cancer, for example, and would use a medical advisor to help with scripting. In news reporting, medical advisors check for accuracy and confirm that organizations are distributing correct information.

A medical advisor may be an expert witness and called to the stand in a court case.
A medical advisor may be an expert witness and called to the stand in a court case.

Advocacy and welfare organizations also use medical advisors who can assist them with the preparation of materials and presentations. A group advocating for better treatment of a specific disease might have a medical advisor review publications to make sure they’re correct, and can ask advisors to present information for members in workshops and at conferences. Medical advisors also keep their organizations updated on developments in the field, like promising new treatments or reevaluations of existing treatment protocols.

Organizations distributing medical information for the benefit of members or the public may want a medical advisor to lend authority to their publications. Doctors may review articles on medical subjects for informational websites, for example, to check for inaccuracy, add clarifications, and confirm that the data are up to date. This can increase trust among visitors who want to be assured the information they are relying on is accurate, and can also help organizations manage their liability. In addition to having doctors review their articles, they typically include a disclaimer noting they are not providing medical advice or creating a doctor-patient relationship.

Another role for a medical advisor is in a legal setting, where medical expert witnesses can be called to the stand in a case. They provide information about the nature of a situation under litigation; a medical advisor might be involved in a malpractice case, for example, or could testify about injuries found on a murder victim. Both sides of a case can retain advisors and have the right to cross-examine witnesses from the other side.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Medical advisors make a lot of money. The average is over $105,000 per year and many make more than that. I work at a law firm that conducts medical malpractice lawsuits and we pay those guys extremely well.



The article said that a medical degree and experience in a clinical setting is necessary, as well as a background in research and publication. I think it's like doctor's pay without being in the trenches, so to speak. I mean imagine not having to be on-call, no rounds, and no 18 hour shifts.


Whoa! I didn't know medical advisors needed an actual medical degree. Why is being a medical advisor better than being a medical doctor? Do advisors make more?

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