This guide covers everything you need to know to establish and manage a private practice, including the importance of developing a business plan and partnering with healthcare recruiters.
For many physicians, establishing a private medical practice is the dream — on top of the financial perks, managing a private practice can help provide greater autonomy and control over patient care, making the profession more fulfilling.
However, starting and managing a private practice can be challenging, especially for those who are relatively new to the business side of healthcare. If you are thinking of having your own medical practice someday, here’s a one-stop-shop guide that can give you a bird’s eye view of the process of establishing one, the benefits, and the challenges that may come your way.
What is private medical practice?
A private medical practice refers to owning and operating a healthcare practice as an individual or group of individual practitioners. Rather than being owned by a hospital or a bigger healthcare organization, you and your group will be responsible for managing all aspects of the practice, including administrative tasks such as billing, scheduling, and hiring healthcare staff.
A private practice can be a multi-specialty group composed of several physicians and staff, this means that private medical practices may specialize in a particular area of medicine or provide general medical care to patients.
Steps on setting up your own medical practice
Setting up a private practice requires commitment and hard work — it can be daunting to think of having to start from scratch but once you have determined your goals, everything can easily fall into place. Below is a general guide that can help you in your journey in establishing your private practice:
Conduct Market Research
As with starting a business, understanding the market can provide the rudiments needed to set-up your practice. You will need to consider your potential customers first (in this case, patients and clients) and identify their needs in terms of healthcare.
Market research is vital as it can help you determine not just the demand for your healthcare practice but also the areas where you can possibly thrive. It can also help identify the potential competition and what services they offer.
Develop a business plan
A comprehensive business plan is essential to establish a successful medical practice. It should outline the practice’s mission, goals, target market, services, pricing, marketing strategy, and financial projections. A business plan can also be helpful when seeking funding from potential investors or financial institutions.
Get the necessary licenses and certifications
Medical practices require several licenses and certifications to operate legally. These include state medical licenses, Drug Enforcement Agency registration, National Provider Identifier number, tax ID, and other applicable certifications. Ensure that your private practice is compliant with the law to avoid penalties in the future.
Choose a location for your practice
Location can make or break your plans — it must be accessible and convenient to patients, have adequate parking, and meet all zoning and building requirements.
Obtain funding and get your capital
You can start your practice with your own money or you can get funding from potential investors. Once you have funds, you can then start your lease in the location you determined, purchase necessary equipment and supplies, and start hiring staff.
While you can operate your practice all by yourself, chances are you will soon need someone who can take care of some of the other tasks for you, especially if your client base continues to grow. You might need administrative personnel, physicians, medical assistants, nurses, or additional physicians to join your team. Hiring staff can be a grueling task — this is where professional recruiters come in. With recruitment solutions and service providers like De Vore Recruiting, you can easily tap into a solid network of talent that can help your private medical practice grow.
Set up billing and accounting systems
Managing finances is another challenging area for any private medical practice. You will need efficient billing and accounting systems to help ensure that your finances are in check.
Make sure that your chosen system is secure, accurate, and compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
A well-managed billing and accounting system can help streamline operations, ensure timely payment from patients and insurers, and help the practice remain financially stable.
Implement an Electronic Health Record (EHR) System
An EHR system is essential for medical practices to manage patient records and communicate with other healthcare providers. It is requisite to improve patient care, increase efficiency, reduce errors, and comply with regulatory requirements.
Furthermore, having an EHR system provides a centralized and comprehensive record of a patient’s medical history, leading to better care coordination and improved patient outcomes.
Establish relationships with insurance companies
Insurance groups are among your best friends when you set up a private practice. By developing strong relationships with insurance companies, private medical practices can negotiate favorable reimbursement rates, streamline the claims process, and ensure timely payment.
Overall, a good relationship with insurance companies helps maintain the financial stability of your private practice.
Develop a marketing plan
Private practice is a business and you should be able to put yourself out there to ensure that you get potential clients and patients. In this digital age, you will need to come up with a marketing plan that includes a website and a social media presence. Marketing will be able to help you differentiate your practice from competition and attract new clients.
Common challenges in establishing a private practice
On your journey to building your own private practice, you will likely encounter bumps and roadblocks that can derail or change the direction of your plans. Below is a table detailing the areas where private medical practices can face challenges and the possible solutions:
|Staying ahead of the
|Keeping up with
consultations, patient portals, extensive payment options);
Tips for a successful private medical practice
There is no one-size-fits-all solution in ensuring success in your private medical practice — your journey will be unique to your goals and strategies. But here are some general tips that can guide you in your path.
- Prioritize patient care – Whatever your motivations are in setting up a private medical practice, your ultimate goal is to provide the best patient care. Patients are the lifeblood of any healthcare practice and ensuring their comfort and satisfaction will help you grow your practice even more through positive reviews and referrals.
- Invest in technology – It is important that you stay abreast about the latest innovation and technological developments in your speciality. This will help you achieve better patient outcomes.
- Ensure staff satisfaction – Your staff will serve as a backbone that will hold your private practice together. Partner with a group that has the expertise and industry knowledge to make sure that you foster a positive workplace culture to boost morale, encourage skills development, and retain your healthcare personnel.
- Expand your network – Maintaining positive relationships with patients, vendors, insurance providers, and other key industry players can help give you insights on how to manage your practice more effectively and efficiently. Never underestimate the power of referrals!
- Establish a strong online presence – The new battleground for businesses is online and for you to stay relevant with your current and potential patients and clients, you will need to set up an active online presence through your website and social media platforms.
It takes time, dedication, and hard work to build a successful practice — however, by following these tips and seeking guidance from experienced professionals, you can establish a practice that meets the needs of your patients while also achieving your financial and professional goals.
If you are ready to take the plunge, start doing your research, develop a solid business plan, and seek out the resources and support you need to succeed. In no time, you will be able to build a thriving private medical practice that makes a positive impact not just on the lives of your patients but also on the community you serve.