You went to school to help others. You may have gone straight to work in a hospital or large practice before realizing that healthcare quality influences and is influenced a facility’s bottom line, budgets, and client satisfaction scores. While you understand that business is a necessary part of medicine, you might feel uneasy about working on someone else’s behalf.
If you’re going to make money for someone, it should be for yourself — and in a way that you can directly impact your community. However, going out on your own means that you need to be business savvy and prepared to deal with the most common issues faced by medical entrepreneurs. Here is a list of business tips to get started:
Treat It Like a Business
It’s critical that you understand that your practice is a business. You don’t have to expand to a large provider practice anytime soon, but you do need to make sure you’re approaching any issue as a business owner — not just a care provider. The first thing to consider is what you want to do with your time each day. If you desire to spend the majority of your time seeing patients, then you’re probably going to need to hire someone to run the administrative and billing sides of your practice. Consider someone with a degree in healthcare administration to improve your medical practice and keep it running smoothly.
Consider Going Electronic
Electronic health systems and medical practice management software are expensive, but by the time you buy paper, printers, and the space you need to store all of your client and financial records, you might have just about the same amount of money invested. Not only will all of your charts be stored on a server or in the cloud, but you’ll also have access to several tools and applications that can save you time.
A good electronic records system can do so much more than just store your notes. You can find one that allows you to electronically fax documents, schedule appointments, and even interface with a patient portal. Other features might include electronic prescribing and an entire back-office suite that can keep you organize and move in the right direction as a business.
Think DNP When You’re Ready to Expand
Growth is both exhilarating and challenging for a solo practitioner. If you’re on the brink of needing another clinician, it might be a good time to consider a nurse practitioner instead of another doctor. If you have a physical therapy or psychology practice, you might want to hire a medical assistant before you add in another full-time provider. Dentists will need to hire another care provider before you increase your clientele. However, you can always look for a part-time doctor who can give you the flexibility of taking on more patients without the overhead of a full-time provider salary.
Stay In Tune With the Culture
As a solo provider, you’re going to be busy. Set an intentional goal to stay connected with the culture of your practice, and ask for patient reviews and feedback. You can send out patient surveys, but you might not get a very high response rate. It’s best to talk to your patients in person and ask them what they like about the practice, as well as what they think could be improved. By giving your clients firsthand access to you and the ability to share their thoughts openly, you can collect invaluable information that will help you be successful.
Keep Up With Industry Trends
Healthcare is continually changing. As a medical entrepreneur, your success is dependent upon how connected you are to what your patients and others want. The best way to get new clients is by word of mouth, and the easiest way to get current clients talking is to understand what the general public wants from their providers.
Not every trend will fit the culture of your practice. Instead of jumping on the latest bandwagon, be sure to make decisions that work for you and your clients. If your practice is focused on symptom management, you might want to consider homeopathic medicine, holistic care, or remedies like CBD and hemp oil products, which is becoming a massive industry in its own right. If you’re looking for a new marketing strategy, be sure to check out social media use to attract new patients. A few other top healthcare trends for 2019 include the use of technology like telehealth, artificial intelligence, and wearable patient monitoring devices.
All of this talk about work and running a private practice might have you feeling stressed. This is precisely why you need a self-care plan. Set aside time each week to disengage from work and engage in an activity you enjoy. You should also get plenty of rest, eat a healthy diet, and get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
Headed for Success
If you’re ready to be a successful solo practitioner, be sure to use these business tips. Whether you decide to go electronic, hire another provider, or just create a comprehensive self-care plan, you will be one step closer to success.