If you’re a physician who works for another physician or establishment, you’ve probably thought about what it would be like to open your own practice. The biggest advantage of owning a practice is the greater amount of freedom and flexibility you’ll have. However, this is a big step and you should really make sure that this is something you’d want to do before you actually start. If this is what you want, here are seven steps to take when opening your own medical practice.
#1: Decide What Type of Practice You’d Like to Open
Nearly 20% of urgent care clinics are owned by hospitals, making hospital-owned clinics pretty popular. However, if you’re wanting to start your own practice, you probably want more freedom than hospital-owned clinics offer. If this is the case, consider opening a solo or group practice. Both are private practices, but a solo practice gives you the most autonomy (with the most expenses and responsibilities), while a group practice allows you to share everything with one or more physicians.
#2: Create a Business Plan
Once you’ve decided what type of practice you’d like to open, you’re now able to write a business plan. All aspiring business owners must write a business plan to obtain financing and to detail how they plan to run their business. However, starting a medical practice doesn’t always require a full-length business plan— your main focus should be on the financial aspects (startup costs, estimated revenue, etc.). The goal of any business plan is to receive financing, and since the medical field isn’t as competitive as other industries (because people are always going to need doctors), the marketing and competitive analysis aren’t as important.
#3: Choose a Location
While you’re waiting to hear back from investors, you should start looking for a commercial building for your practice. Even though there’s not much competition when it comes to medicine, you’ll still want to locate your new practice in an area that’s not already overrun with private practices. For the most success, look for areas where there aren’t many medical practices— this may signify a need for more doctors in that area.
You should also decide if you want to buy/rent a newer building or an older building. An older building may require some fixing up, so be sure to include that in your business plan.
#4: Equip Your Practice
Once your building has been approved, it’s time to make it look like a medical clinic. Of course you’re going to need basic medical equipment, tools, and machinery, but don’t forget get about practical items, such as:
- Chairs and tables for your waiting room
- Desks and chairs for your staff
- Trash cans
You’re also going to need medical software, such as a practice management system, an electronic health record system, medical transcription software, office management software, etc.
#5: Staffing Your Practice
The next thing you’re going to need to equip your practice with is medical and office staff. You’ll need other physicians, physician assistants (PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), nurses, and also receptionists and medical billers. You can post your openings on a job search site for PA positions, NP positions, and other physicians to increase your chances of finding qualified candidates. You’ll also want to look for office managers, receptionists and other supplemental staff that have had experience working in a medical setting.
#6: Take Care of all Legal Aspects
Before any type of business can open its doors, there are a few legal things that must be done. First, you must register your practice as a legal entity and obtain a tax ID. As a physician, you must also obtain credentialing. You must also remember to purchase all of the necessary types of insurance, such as:
- Commercial property insurance
- General liability insurance
- Medical malpractice insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance
#7: Market Your Practice
The last thing you should do before you open your practice is market it. You can try traditional forms of marketing, such as fliers and newspaper ads, but don’t let this be your only form of marketing. You should also look into digital marketing. One of the most effective types of digital marketing is social media, with platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn being some of the best platforms for marketing a business.
Every physician’s experience of opening a private practice is different, but these are the basic steps that need to be taken. Things may differ slightly depending on the type of practice you open and if you’re opening a practice with other physicians.