10 Tips for Starting a Medical Practice
The medical industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, as well as many other countries. In fact, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), healthcare spending accounts for 17.7% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) — an incredible $3.6 trillion. Healthcare plays a vital role in our economy and our society and, as a result, the healthcare sector is responsible for creating millions of jobs.
Pursuing a career in the medical industry can be incredibly rewarding. In addition to getting paid well above the national average salary, healthcare workers are also able to have the satisfaction of truly making a difference in the lives of those they help.
If you have been in the healthcare industry for multiple years — or even if you are new and are willing to take some risks — you might be considering starting your own medical practice. Currently, there are more than 200,000 medical practices in the U.S. and this figure has been increasing each year.
While opening your own medical practice can be an extremely lucrative endeavor, there are still a few important things that you will want to keep in mind. In this article, we will discuss 10 of the most important things to remember when starting your own medical practice. By paying close attention to these essential details, you will be one step closer to running a successful medical practice.
1. Consider the type of practice you plan on opening
The first big decision you will need to make when starting a medical practice is determining which type of practice is right for you. In addition to deciding the type of medicine you will be providing (general, cardiology, OBGYN, etc.), you will also need to determine what structure your practice will operate with. Solo practices, group practices, federally funded practices and hospital-sponsored practices will all be subject to different regulations and obligations.
2. Protect yourself from legal risks
The healthcare industry is full of legal and financial risks that you will want to be sure to protect yourself from in advance. Is your business prepared to address new and unexpected expenses? If you were to face a malpractice lawsuit, would you know how to respond? Creating a legal business structure (such as an LLC) and hiring a healthcare lawyer can help protect your business from the unexpected.
3. Financing comes first
Healthcare can be extremely expensive, meaning it will be important to ensure you have an adequate source of financing in place. This may be from a bank or alternative sources of healthcare financing. Once you have your financing figured out, doing things such as setting rates will instantly become much easier.
4. Build a team you can rely on
Even if you are running a solo practice, you will still want to develop a team you can rely on. In addition to the people who will actively be working in your practice, additional helpers such as accountants, marketers and others will be crucial for your long-term success. Generally speaking, it is better to build your network early, rather than waiting for the need for additional help to arise.
5. Make sure all healthcare workers are properly certified
Certifications—such as ACLS, PALS and BLS help ensure that essential healthcare workers are properly trained to act in various situations. ACLS, PALS and BLS certifications need to be renewed every two years; if someone on your staff fails to maintain their certification, you could face various legal consequences. Fortunately, platforms such as eMedCert make it easy to obtain these essential certifications online.
6. Don’t forget about the importance of social media
Social media is an important component of the marketing cycle, yet, it is often overlooked by up and coming doctors. Social media and digital marketing will help your business increase its exposure and begin generating a sizable, reliable base of patients. If you don’t want to do all the digital grunt work on your own, consider hiring some outside help.
7. Keep looking for ways to improve
The ability to introduce new best practices — perhaps more than anything else — will be key for any medical operation that hopes to remain in business for the long-run. Hiring outside help, tracking industry news and continually investing in new equipment will help ensure that your business is always in a position to remain competitive. Running a medical practice is a marathon, not a sprint.
8. Take advantage of new technologies
The medical industry tends to be very innovative, which has been especially apparent over the past few years. With new technologies being introduced every day, you will find that you can quickly reduce costs and also improve treatment outcomes. For example, according to the CDC, about 86% percent of practices use electronic medical records, which has yielded considerable results for physicians of all kinds.
9. HIPAA compliance is an absolute must
HIPAA, which was first signed into law in 1996, has created a set of standards for how individual medical information ought to be stored, transferred and shared. HIPAA is not simply a suggestion, but a clear code that dictates what medical practices need to be doing on a regular basis. The Department of Health and Human Services claims that it received 28,261 HIPAA complaints in 2019 alone — be sure to take steps to keep your firm off the complaint list.
10. Always be willing to change
While you might be out of medical school, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that you can still be learning. One of the biggest issues that doctors face is that they assume if something works for now, it will work for many years to come. But the industry simply does not work that way. Whether its online certifications, new technologies, new ideas or even new medical philosophies, being dynamic and willing to change will help your medical business overcome future obstacles.
If you are considering opening your own medical practice, you are certainly in for a very exciting journey. However, while you are probably excited and ready to get started today, there are a few important details that you will want to remember. Keep these 10 things in mind and you will be well along the path to success.