More and more physicians are wanting to start up their own practice these days, and for a number of different reasons. Maybe you want more independence from a hospital system, or maybe you want to do something about the physician shortage— whatever the reason— you’re going to need a variety of resources to help you open and run a successful practice.
First, you must decide what type of practice you want to open: solo practice, group practice, a practice under a hospital, etc. Next you’ll write a pro forma (business plan) to help you plan out your new business venture and obtain financing. Opening a medical practice (and any type of business) is expensive, so it’s important to have a good idea of what you’ll need before writing your business plan.
Lastly, you’ll need an actual building to house your practice— which calls for even more money. Successful medical practices are located in a prime area that’s easy to access. Being located near another practice may not be a bad idea at this time, due to the physician shortage. A real estate agent can help you find the best location for your practice.
#1: Financial Resources
Financing is probably the biggest resource needed to start a successful medical practice. The average cost of starting a medical practice ranges anywhere from $70,000 to $100,000— and this can differ based on the type of practice you open. Although it is possible for a physician to finance their own practice (due to the well-known fact that physicians make good money), many physicians still need outside financing.
Fortunately because medical practices are considered small businesses, physicians wishing to open their own practice can receive a business loan from the Small Business Association (SBA). They offer medical practice loans through banks and other third-party lenders.
#2: Equipment and Software Resources
A successful medical practice can’t be run without basic medical equipment, nor can it be successful without the latest medical software. Basic medical equipment includes items like defibrillators, EKG/ECG machines, sterilizers, ventilators, wheelchairs, and many more items. Don’t forget that you’re also going to need basic items for your office such as chairs, desks, and tables. While medical equipment and software are needed, you can’t forget about furnishing your practice for your patients.
In addition to basic items and basic medical equipment, medical practices need advanced software to help their business run smoothly and efficiently. Here are a few examples of high-performance software solutions for the healthcare industry.
Electronic Health Record (EHR) System
An EHR system keeps track of all patient records, including medical history, prescriptions, labs, and medical information from other providers.
Medical Billing and Transcription Software
Most practice owners choose to outsource this portion of their business to a third-party company because medical billing is a very time-consuming process. Billing services is how you ensure that you get paid for your services, so you’ll need the right software (or company) to handle this. Medical transcription services can also be outsourced, or they can be done in-house, with or without high-performance software.
Practice Management System
This is the most important type of software that all medical practices will need, regardless of type or size. A practice management system keeps track of all practice operations and information. In fact, this software can be integrated with all of the other software listed above.
#3: Hiring Resources
You’re also going to need skilled physicians to help you run your practice. The current physician shortage not only means that doctor’s offices are filling up with patients— it also means that physicians who have opened up their own practice may be having a hard time finding qualified staff to fill their vacant positions. Fortunately, medical school enrollment is going up, but this doesn’t always mean that all of the enrollees will finish and graduate from medical school.
It also doesn’t mean that all of the graduates are going to be able to find vacant positions— at least in their specialization or in a city or state nearby. Fortunately, Practice Match is a job search site strictly for physicians. Future physicians are encouraged to use Practice Match to find jobs, and physicians are encouraged to use this site as opposed to another job search site.
It also helps to speak with another experienced physician who has started his or her own medical practice in the past. Sometimes, some of the best advice you can get on starting your own business is from another business owner in the same industry.