Starting your own medical practice can be a very overwhelming, yet rewarding, experience. The inherent risk is enough to deter many physicians from opening a private practice, but it’s still a great way to take medicine into your own hands. The reality is that starting any type of business is risky, but there’s a lot more at stake when opening a medical practice. The good news is that physicians and doctor’s offices are always going to be needed, so there’s a high chance of success. Here are a few tips on starting your own medical practice.
Writing a Pro Forma
A pro forma is essentially a business plan, except it’s not as detailed. Business owners know how important it is to be detailed when writing a business plan because that’s what you present to financers to get funding for your business. With a pro forma, the focus is more on debt, expenses, and anticipated revenue five years into the future. Cost elements that need to be included in your pro forma are:
- Practice setup
- Lease cost per square foot
- Medical supplies
- Office supplies
You’ll want to do your research to make sure your projections are as realistic as possible. It’s harder for physicians to get loans from bank lenders due to the amount of medical school debt they usually obtain.
Purchasing Equipment and Furniture
Building and Location
Before you purchase equipment and furniture, you have to purchase a physical building to house your practice— and you have to choose a good location for the building. First and foremost, you’ll want to consider traffic patterns, especially if you’re opening an urgent care center. It’s also a good idea to review potential referral sources in the area. Other factors you’ll want to consider when choosing a location are:
- Growth of an area
- Housing trends
- Competition and physician density
- Un/employment trends
- Median income (can be very telling of insurance plans)
Furniture and Medical Equipment
When you do decide on a building, you’ll need to determine if it’s going to need renovations. Once that is taken care of, you can begin to furnish your waiting room and exam rooms. For your waiting room, you’re going to need chairs, a reception desk, waiting room tables, lamps, sanitizing stations, trash cans, and even artwork for the walls.
Once you’ve ensured that you have furniture for your waiting room(s), you can focus on the medical equipment you’re going to need. For your exam rooms, you’re going to need exam tables, doctor’s stools, guest chairs, cabinetry, exam lighting, and scales. Other pieces of equipment you’re going to need for your practice include:
- Background check services
- Credit card processors
- Electronic health record systems
- Medical billing services
- Medical transcription software
- Practice management system
Staffing Your Practice
Once your building is full of furniture, decor, and medical equipment, you’re going to need to fill it with staff. There are many routes you can take when it comes to hiring your medical staff, from spreading the word yourself to hiring an agency to help.
Word of Mouth
This is a very old way of hiring, but it’s also still effective, especially for physicians. Some physicians even decide to collaborate and open a joint practice. You may know of other physicians across different specialties who may want to work with/for you.
Job Search Sites
Job search sites are going to be your best bet when it comes to hiring for your practice. There are many different sites where you can post your job openings, such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn. You can use these sites to hire receptionists, nurses, and even other physicians.
However, job search sites don’t always yield the results you want. When hiring other physicians, your best bet is to hire a recruitment service, such as the Medicus Firm. Using job-specific sites like these (no matter what industry you’re in) can help you find the most qualified candidates. These experts help you find the right employees by using digital marketing strategies to attract the best talent.
Just keep in mind that before you can open your doors, you must incorporate your business as a legal entity, obtain a tax ID, and get business insurance (specifically medical malpractice insurance). You’ll also want to apply some of those digital marketing strategies towards targeting new patients and creating more awareness for your practice. Also, if you’ve built a great rapport with your current patients, they’re likely to follow you to your new practice.