While starting your own medical practice is no easy task, there are many doctors across the board who decide to take the smaller route of owning and operating their own practice, as opposed to joining an already established hospital or medical center. The number one reason being that this is often what the patients prefer. They want to know who their doctors are, keep it consistent, and receive great service in a more intimate practice.
It can be a challenge at first to finagle all the different moving parts, but once that is complete, it can provide its new owner with a sense of freedom to know they can now operate on their own terms, no more listening to what someone else feels is the best route. Here are some of the important things you need to get in order if you’re looking to start a medical practice of your own.
The first step to opening a medical practice is starting with a full-blown business plan. The plan should be extensive and include realistic projections when it comes to revenue, expenses, and any potential debt. Typical funding will come via a bank loan, which can sometimes be tricky for those who already have student loan debt, but is vital when it comes to starting up your new practice before revenue begins streaming in.
In order for your practice to operate on a day-to-day basis, it’s going to need the proper medical equipment to do so. An electronic health record system is becoming more universal in medical practices to make digitizing and streamlining records and communication as effective as possible. These systems should also be able to facilitate a medical billing service that automatically syndicates with updated record information.
There are a few necessary legal steps that will need to be taken before opening. This includes receiving your proper credentials to accept insurance, choosing a legal business structure to determine taxes and liability for potential lawsuits, and obtaining proper state, national, and DEA licensing. Without facilitating all of these things before opening, you will likely face some serious problems down the road.
Once everything else is taken care of and you are cleared for opening, it’s time to staff up! Start with an office manager who will be able to jump in and take over the day-to-day hassles, so you can focus on your patients and delegate when necessary. Depending on the size of your practice, you may also need to hire nurses and another practitioner to have on staff. Watch your overhead, focus on your patients, and you will succeed.
Dr. Arnold Peter Weiss is the R. Scot Sellers Scholar of Hand Surgery; Chief of Hand Surgery; Vice Chairman & Professor, Brown University.