Are you looking to start a medical practice?
As a medical doctor, there’s no doubt one of your biggest dreams is to open your own practice. Who doesn’t want to become their own boss?
However, starting your own practice is a different ballgame. When you own a practice, you do more than diagnose and treat patients: you must also take care of the business side of things.
It’s not as easy as it might look, but don’t develop cold feet. Thousands of doctors have built wildly successful practices, and you can too.
Here’s a guide on how to start a medical practice successfully.
Identify the Type of Medical Practice You Want to Start
There are five types of medical practices:
- Solo practice
- Group practice
- Federally qualified health center
- Academic health center
Each type of practice has its benefits and drawbacks, but if you’re anything like most doctors, you’re looking at the first two options. A solo practice is ideal when you want to be in control of every aspect of running it, but you also have to bear the startup costs alone. A group practice, on the other hand, has shared control, but it’s easier to pool funds and raise startup capital.
Choosing the type of practice to start largely depends on your personal preferences.
You also need to decide whether the practice will be out-patient only, or you will offer both inpatient and outpatient services. The decision you make here will have a big impact on your capital costs since it takes more money to build a facility that offers inpatient and outpatient services.
Create a Business Plan
Whether you’re starting a solo practice or one that’s hospital-owned, you need a clear business plan. At the heart of it, a medical practice is a business that needs to turn a profit. Writing a business plan is one of the things you have to do if you want your practice to be successful.
The plan fleshes out the name of the practice, services offered, financial projections, target market, and sales and marketing strategies, among other crucial details.
Writing a comprehensive plan for a medical practice isn’t a light task. If you’re no proficient at it, it’s advisable to hire a consultant who has vast experience writing plans for medical practices.
If possible, find a consultant who has experience writing plans for the specific type of medical practice you’re looking to open. For example, if you’re to start an outpatient medical center, ensure the person you’re hiring has written plans for such practices.
Ultimately, your business plan will give you a clear picture of what your practice will look like, as well as what you’ll need to get it started.
Raise the Required Capital
Your business plan will establish the practice startup costs, but on average, it costs about $100,000 to start a small primary care practice.
Do you have the capital ready?
If you’re going solo, you have to find ways to fund the practice. You could use your personal savings, but if you’re still short on cash, there are options.
For example, you can go in for a business loan. Most lenders are hesitant to lend to practices that aren’t off the ground yet, but with a strong business plan and good personal credit, you can get a loan.
You can also borrow from family and friends, as well as explore grant opportunities from governmental and non-governmental organizations. You could also consider partnering up with another physician. This effectively means you’ll end up with a group practice, but if it makes raising money easier, it’s worth it.
Choose a Location and Set Up the Space
You certainly have an idea of where you’d love the medical practice to be located. This could be a city, town, or even neighborhood.
After you’ve identified your location, find an ideal building, lease or buy a space, and start setting it up. In your head, you’ve got a picture of how you’d want the practice to look like. However, you probably don’t have the expertise to actualize your idea. Consider hiring professionals to set up the place according to your wishes.
Setting up the space includes purchasing and installing the necessary furniture and medical equipment and software. Your business plan will have a list of everything you need to purchase.
Pay special attention to medical technology (equipment and software) as it will have a big impact on your operations, especially when it comes to cost reduction. Tech like medical dictation software, for instance, ensures you don’t have to spend several hours taking down patient notes. The software translates human speech to written text.
You also need to secure the relevant permits and licenses before opening up for business.
Staff Your Practice
There’s no way you can run the practice on your own. Your job is to attend to patients.
This means you need to staff your practice right from the start. You don’t have to go all out and fill every position, but for a start, you need a receptionist who can also double up as the office manager, medical billing specialist, and a nurse or physician’s assistant.
As your practice grows, you can outsource some functions to a medical practice management company.
That’s How to Start a Medical Practice
You’ve made a smart decision to start a medical practice. It’s an ideal way to take control of your career while doing what you love best and making good money. With this guide on how to start a medical practice, you now have all the information you need to open a successful practice.
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