So, after finally completing your MBBS, you’ve had your fair share of practicing at a hospital and think you are good to go on your own now. Some of us just aren’t cut out for working for somebody else. Most trained doctors start to dream of that the day they begin medical school, but owning a private medical practice can be harder than you think.
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, for-profit insurers control 43 percent of the market, while 60 percent of community hospitals are part of an enterprise health system. That trend is likely to continue through 2025, when the healthcare industry is projected to reach $5.5 billion in value.
The stats clearly show how the influence of large enterprise systems and hospitals continues to grow, and the healthcare industry continues to become concentrated in fewer hands. Naturally, in this scenario, many providers find it convenient to just join these giants; they already spend such hefty amounts of money on medical school, that stepping straight into a job that pays great seems like a better idea than finding and establish your own name.
From lack of capital, managing a CMS that offers the transparency patients demand, having the financial or technical expertise of leveraging technology, balancing between making a profit and offering affordable healthcare services, handling business operations and overhead costs effectively, becoming a partner with insurance companies… it can be a handful. However, it can also be more rewarding, which makes it worth a shot (pun intended!).
According to a 2017 American Medical Association report, only 47 percent of physicians in the U.S. had ownership in a medical practice in 2016, down from about 52 percent in 2012. However, 58 percent of physicians reported that they worked in small practices, defined as those with 10 or fewer doctors, and 56 percent worked in practices owned solely by other physicians.
Below are the steps you will need to follow if you are planning to opt for the private medical practice route:
Develop a Business Plan:
A solid plan acts as a solid infrastructure for your business. When thinking of starting your own practice, outline your goals clearly and mention the means you will need to meet them. Include a projection of all of your anticipated costs for at least the next 3 years, and chalk out the following:
- Where your capital, revenue, and financing will come from
- What your costs of construction and setting up the practice will be
- The cost of medical and office supplies
- Which medical record system you will use
- A floor plan of what your practice will physically look like
- What your timings will be and how you will manage emergencies
- Who will manage your human resource and operations
- How you will market your practice
- How you will deal with insurance companies
Now that you have a plan in place, consider your financing options. The traditional way is to get a bank loan, which can be quite tricky. You can also consider financial institutions with a medical division that works to provide loans to healthcare professionals.
Choose which route you want to take, and start applying. See if the banks have a medical/dental division and submit your loan application to their department; the professionals of that department will better understand the risks and revenue models of the medical sector. Remember to apply to multiple places, as different organizations vary in their terms and services.
Pick a Location for Your Clinic:
Location is considered to be the most significant factor when it comes to opening any business. When considering a location, keep in mind the following factors, including but not limited to:
- Population demographics
- Rent and maintenance costs
- and whether a building meets your needs
Obtain the Proper Equipment:
The equipment at your practice is of great significance, as it will affect the efficiency of your practice. Patients are already distressed, they do not want a slow medical record system, or dirty seats in the waiting room to make their situation worse. Your practice should not only treat them but also help calm them down in situations of grief or worry.
Requirements for medical equipment will depend on the type of practice you’re opening, but the things you will definitely need to arrange are:
- Communications system to handle external and internal communication
- Comfortable furniture
- Office supplies
Whether you decide on new, used, or refurbished equipment, make sure to obtain it from a leading medical equipment provider like Alternative Source Medical.
Staff Your Clinic:
When it comes to hiring medical staff, you do not just want staff who is experienced and has sound knowledge of the medical sector. You also want to consider how well they react in stressful situations, whether or not they know how to be kind and understanding at all times, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. If they are bad communicators, for example, they might trouble the patient unnecessarily or give across the wrong message to them.
The staff you will need to hire will include:
- An administrator to manage daily operations
- Certified Nurses
Market Your Practice:
According to a research, 72 percent of internet users said in 2013 that they had looked online for health information within the previous year, according to Pew Research Center. Furthermore, 35 percent of U.S. adults said they had searched online specifically to try to diagnose a medical condition.
These numbers throw ample light on the importance of marketing in this day and age. Make a proper marketing strategy but start off with a simple, informative website at least. This will help you build trusted relationships with patients, and also establish solid social proof in favor of your name.
Taking medical practice completely into your own hands can sound exciting and seem daunting at the same time. While the idea of freedom from established systems, liberty of having your own timings, more autonomy over the processes and workflows, and the joy of owning your own thing can excite and motivate you, the competition, complications, and challenges can be scary.
There is no universal formula to starting your own practice, but a detailed plan and a clear schedule will definitely be of help. We hope the above explained steps will help you build a team, find ample financing and choose the right medical equipment, so you can start and run your own medical practice smoothly.
Remember, though, as great as it is to do things on your own, it is also important to consult with professionals as and when necessary. They have ‘been there and done that’, their track record speaks for itself, and hence their guidance should prove to be valuable. All the best!