Medicine is a valuable career path that allows you to serve the community, and opening a private medical practice allows you both greater freedom and closer relationships with your patients. It’s a highly rewarding opportunity that takes great skill, business sense, and passion to bear fruit.
If you’re looking to become a private practice physician, you’ll need a solid plan in order to develop a successful business, as well as a way to sustain your growth over the long term. Here are the steps to developing and growing a successful private medical practice in order to best serve your patients.
It’s vital that you take the time to think about exactly what your private practice does, what your business’s brand will be, and what the path forward will look like for you and your team.
First, what’s your practice area? Are you a podiatrist, audiologist, family medicine physician, or psychologist? What patient demographics do you serve: are you a paediatric psychiatrist, or are you a gerontologist? This will help you figure out what types of hiring needs you may have, what your marketing strategy should be, and how much growth you can expect in your given area.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs has a thorough and straightforward guide to developing a business plan that breaks everything down into three different sections: the business model, the financials, and the supplementary documentation to prove your research. While it’s geared to presenting your potential business to investors, its guidelines are applicable to businesses in every field, including medical practices.
When developing your business plan, remember that it doesn’t need to be perfect, and that changes will happen as you learn more about the industry and your financial circumstances change. However, having a guiding document to lead your way can prove immensely helpful, and it will get you through those first few tough years of opening a practice. Aim to revisit and revise your planning document at least once a year to see what needs to change and how you can improve.
Every organisation needs excellent staff, and your private medical practice is no different. The key is to find highly motivated physicians and administrative employees that want to see your business succeed as much as you do, and who come well-equipped to learn everything they need to know about your practice area.
One of the best things you can do to attract good talent is to post on industry-specific job boards; these are geared specifically toward those in the medical field so that you can avoid looking through hundreds of irrelevant applications. For example, if you’re opening a family medicine clinic, you can attract those looking for quality family medicine physician jobs by listing here rather than casting your listing to the fickle winds of Indeed or LinkedIn.
Your private practice can’t grow if no one knows about it, which is why you need to develop a good market strategy that follows all applicable laws for medical advertising. To steer clear of any potential liabilities, your advertising should focus on things like the credentials of your staff, like Board Certifications, and the overall experience that patients can expect when they arrive at your practice.
You’ll then need to make yourself visible to those in your patient demographic by finding the channels that appeal most to them. This could be things like advertisements in newspapers, a strong but HIPAA compliant social media presence, or joining physician directories on places like Psychology Today.
Personability and approachability is everything for doctors, so strive to get yourself out there and talk to potential patients whenever possible. For family medicine, you may attend local events geared toward children and talk with parents who are attending; if your clientele is mostly elderly, think about leaving brochures about your practice at retirement homes or community centres.
Medicine isn’t stagnant, and your skills shouldn’t be either. While you need to take Continuing Education credits in order to maintain your licence, seek to go above and beyond this by undergoing additional training that will help you better serve your patients.
For example, become more well versed in mental health issues: consulting a family physician is many peoples’ first step to becoming diagnosed with a mental illness, and you can make a huge difference by being able to identify and tactfully broach the topic of mental health treatment with your patients and their families.
Staying up to date and being able to provide comprehensive services - as well as a great patient experience - will do wonders for your reputation and patient base.
Developing a private medical practice takes research, ingenuity, persistence, and patience; thankfully, you have all of these attributes thanks to your medical training.
Create a solid business plan, hire great staff by advertising on medical job boards, advertise appropriately, and stay on top of recent trends in medicine, and you will see your private practice flourish into a true cornerstone of your local community.
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