6 Steps to Beginning a Private Practice

Posted February 19, 2015 by
Reception at a private clinic

Reception at a private clinic. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Completing years and years of school almost doesn’t seem worth it when you consider the fact that when you graduate you’ll be working for someone else. But that doesn’t have to be the case if you have the courage to stand on your own.

Although there are plenty of risks involved in starting your own private practice, the rewards can be tremendous. Whether you’re an ambitious recent graduate, or you’ve been in the medical field for decades, opening your own practice and becoming your own boss is a fulfilling experience.

If you’re ready to make the leap of faith, here are six steps to help you get started.

Step 1: Location

Once you’ve made the hard decision to spread your wings and start your own private practice, you’ll need to figure out where you want it located. Once you’ve found a specific area where you want your office located, you’ll have to find a space that can accommodate private rooms, an office and a waiting room.

The next step will be securing set-up financing. You can go through the bank, but lenders are oftentimes the better choice because many professionals seeking their own private practice are young without assets and still carrying student-loan debt. A lender will cover your starting costs and tangibles. You can also negotiate with one similar to a bank. Call a lawyer to obtain a business lease and incorporate you.

Step 2: Equipment

After you’ve found a location and received funds from your lender, you’ll be able to purchase a computer system for your office and all the needed equipment. Make sure to perform extensive research on a potential software vendor so your computer system runs efficiently. Having a paperless private practice is optimal; it frees up more of your time to spend with patients.

Step 3: Staff

It might seem daunting at first, but hiring staff is one of the easier tasks you’ll have to complete to get your private practice up and running. If you’ve worked at multiple hospitals throughout your career, you can contact past colleagues to see if they’ll join you. In addition, you’ll also want to hire a trustworthy accountant who can handle all your finances. An organized office manager will also come in handy.

Step 4: Patients and Insurance

Depending on your contract with your current – or most recent – employer, you might have a non-compete clause (or a non-solicitation clause) that prevents your patients to move with you to your private practice. But you’ll find that many loyal patients – if they were comfortable with your care – will follow you.

In regards to insurance, you should be able to keep your credentials with major insurance companies you’ve worked with. Use the resources of your regional practice association to find medical malpractice insurance at reasonable rates.

Step 5: Processes

In addition to having an efficient and effective computer system in your private practice, you’ll want to have a set of uniform processes so everyone working in your office knows what’s expected of them. Once you’ve highlighted your standards of practice, everyone can focus on the thing that’s most important – the patient.

Step 6: Work/Life Balance

You might have thought that working in the hospital environment drained your energy and stole time away from you, but a private practice is no different – and can be even more demanding of your energy and time, especially in the earlier years. Remember though, as stressful and demanding as setting up your own private practice can be, it can lead to you eventually having more time to spend with your family and friends. And that’s one of the reasons of starting one to begin with.

If you’re a recent med-school graduate, the barriers to opening your own private practice might intimidate you. Consider each carefully before committing.

Before you seriously start taking the steps to open your own private practice, make sure you weigh all the pros and cons. Assess if you’re experienced and educated enough to make this major move. If you feel that you are, and others have validated your beliefs, then get ready to take on the most rewarding challenge of your life.

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