7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Starting a Medical Practice
Are you dreaming of starting a medical practice of your own? Here’s everything you need to know about starting a medical practice.
Starting a medical practice from scratch isn’t easy.
The current state of the medical field doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. For instance, the 4 years prior to 2016 saw an 18% decline in visits to primary care doctors in the US.
In search of cheaper and faster medical support, patients have started frequenting corporate-funded urgent care treatment centers instead. The vast resources at their disposal make it difficult for the average practice to compete.
But, don’t be put off.
Starting your own successful practice is, of course, still possible. You just have to know exactly how to do it, and avoid making any egregious mistakes along the way.
In that endeavor, it helps to know in advance about the problems that often arise. Hoping to steer clear of serious practice pitfalls on the road ahead?
Keep reading to learn about seven particular issues to avoid at all costs.
1. Skipping Ahead
Let’s face it, the journey to opening a practice can feel long and arduous.
There’s a multitude of essential steps, many of which cover new and unfamiliar territory. Everything from deciding your practice’s values and finding the perfect location can be fraught with challenges.
In a bid to save time, many people try and skip ahead.
One specific example of this comes from the need to have a practice address before getting credentialed with government and third-party insurance payers.
It’s common knowledge that the credentialing process can take a long time. Many physicians are surprised, however, to learn that payers require them to have the physical address of the practice before they start the credentialing process.
While this can feel like it’s delaying the process, trying to get around it isn’t possible. Worse still, attempts to do so can backfire and take up even more valuable time.
There are thousands of details required for a successful medical practice startup. Simply running down a checklist of tasks is not the only key to success.
Many tasks are prerequisites for other tasks, and the key is to achieve the tasks in the proper sequence and to know which ones are prerequisites for others.
Avoiding delays and negative outcomes by understanding that the startup process is an intricate maze and the process requires thoughtful navigation!
This flowchart should help.
2. Lack of Organization
Efficiency is key if you’re to open your practice within the time-frame you’ve set yourself.
Don’t take a lackadaisical approach unless you want the process to drag out indefinitely — Organization is your ally.
There’s no way to be on-task and as efficient as possible without staying organized along the way. You’ve got a million and one things to do, and lots of room for error. As such, the ability to plan, prioritize and get tasks done quickly is essential.
Sit down at the start of the journey and plan out the road ahead. From there, consider using a project management tool and a daily planner to keep track of your daily tasks.
3. Being Unrealistic with Timings
This point is worth re-emphasizing:
Setting up a medical practice takes time. Furthermore, with many parts of the process outside of your control, it’ll probably take longer than you’d hope. Setting a realistic time-frame will help you avoid stress and disappointment.
After all, you’ll be working with lawyers, real estate agents, and money lenders, and so on. None of these job titles are renowned for being fast-operators! They often work to their own schedule, as opposed to yours.
It’s worth remembering that you’re only one client among others. Setting up your practice is your priority, but it’s unlikely to be theirs.
Expect frustrating delays and ready yourself for the waiting game; you can’t rush what’s out of your control.
4. Taking the First Loan Possible
This pitfall is a good example of how rushing can get you into trouble.
Most people seek financial support from 3rd party lenders to start their own medical practice. Are you one of them?
If so, do not rush into accepting a loan. Being in a hurry can create tunnel vision, which backfires on your finances. You end up accepting terms that aren’t in your long-term interests. Everything from the loan amount to the interest rate could be subpar.
Never take the first loan you’re offered. Take your time to shop around for numerous deals to help you compare the offer. Save yourself time, hassle and money in the long run by putting in the due diligence upfront.
5. Selecting the Wrong Location
The location of your practice can make or break its success.
Many people simply assume that all locations are made equal! News flash: they aren’t.
Failure to realize this is one of the biggest mistakes new practice owners make. Imagine setting up shop somewhere that sees minimal foot traffic, lacks public transport links, or that’s nowhere near your target demographic.
The chance of attracting patients becomes exponentially harder.
Visibility and traffic are essential. Unfortunately, these sought-after locations are usually more expensive too. Strike a balance between budget and location to find the perfect place.
Here are some further tips on growing your practice.
6. Hiring the Wrong People
A practice is only as good as the people who work there.
It goes without saying that you need to employ hardworking, caring and conscientious staff members. Don’t, and everything from patient satisfaction to personal enjoyment of work will suffer.
Again, don’t hurry the hiring process. Remember: it’s far easier to hire someone than fire them! A bad hire can cost you serious time, money and mental energy.
Take your time to find people who are passionate about your vision and eager to be part of your practice’s growth.
7. Failing to Ask for Advice
Here’s a quick one to finish:
One of the biggest mistakes people make on this path is failing to seek advice.
It’s on vital importance to realize that you have gaps in your knowledge, which can be hugely costly. As such, there’s an immense benefit in talking to people who have already opened a medical practice.
Seek out others who’ve been there and done it all before you. Ask them to share their tips to help you figure out the best way forward.
Avoid These Pitfalls When Starting a Medical Practice
In today’s world, starting a medical practice is no easy task.
It’s a long and complex process at the best of times, fraught with potential hiccups that can prove costly to both time and money. Knowing about the potential pitfalls in advance is essential to avoid them.
Hopefully, this post has highlighted the most common problems to help you do exactly that.
Would you like some support getting set up? Contact us today to see how we can be of service.