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What Physicians Need to Know About Opening a Private Medical Practice 

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With physicians becoming frustrated working in the hospital setting, many wish to branch out and start their own medical practice. This is a very common business venture, and it’s even fairly simple to get started. If you’re a physician thinking about opening your own practice, here are some things that you should know.

What Kind of Practice Should You Open?

There are different types of medical practices that a physician can open, though not all of them are private practices. Here’s an example of four different types of medical practices to consider opening.

#1: Academic Medical Center

An academic medical center is a medical practice that is located within a medical school. It has all of the same functions as a hospital, but there are more hands available for work and research since it’s made up of a team of physicians, nurses, teachers, and students. This is an ideal type of center to open if you’re a physician that loves research just as much as helping patients first-hand.

#2: Group Practice

A group practice is a medical institution started by a group of physicians. This can still be considered a private practice, except that everything— startup costs, ongoing costs, and total responsibility— are shared among physicians. If you choose to start a group practice, just know that you won’t have total control, but you also won’t be the sole burden-bearer.

#3: Hospital-Owned Practice

Starting a hospital-owned practice gives you even less control, but you’ll be able to take advantage of the hospital’s capital and other resources to help get your practice off the ground. Though you won’t be working directly under the hospital that your practice is a part of, you’ll still be subject to certain rules and regulations.

#4: Solo Practice

Opening a solo practice gives you full control over your medical practice, but you also assume all responsibility. A solo practice also comes with higher startup costs and comes with the same amount of risks that come with starting up any kind of business. However, this is the best option for physicians who want total freedom and control.

Create Your Business Plan

Once you’ve decided what type of medical practice you’re going to open, you can begin drafting your business plan, just like you would if you were starting any other type of business. Your business plan should outline things like why you’re starting a practice, what you’re hoping to achieve, an accurate estimate of your startup costs, and a prediction of how much you expect your business to bring in over the next 5-10 years. Not only does a business plan allow you to plan out how you’re going to go about setting up and opening your practice, but it’s also a way for you to attract investors for financing. It takes a lot of money to open up any kind of business, especially if you choose to open a solo medical practice.

Legal Considerations

While waiting for financing, it’s a good idea to start looking into the types of business insurance you’re going to need and how to go about incorporating your business as a legal entity. It’s also a good time to establish your policies and procedures.

Furnish, Equip, and Staff Your Practice

Once you’ve received financing for your practice, it’s time to choose a location for it. Choose a location that’s easily accessible to the public. When it comes to a medical practice, it’s not always a bad thing to open a practice near another, since many places are currently experiencing a shortage of physicians.

Equipment for Your Practice

After securing a physical location, it’s time to start purchasing the medical equipment you’re going to need. Typically, all medical practices are going to need similar equipment, though some may need specialty equipment. Some of the general pieces of equipment/software that a medical practice will need includes:

  • Card processor for payments
  • Electronic health record (EHR) system
  • Medical billing service
  • Medical transcription software
  • Practice management system

When buying equipment for your practice, don’t forget about furnishing it too. You’re going to need desks, chairs, computers, tables, etc. Many doctor’s offices also have TVs in their waiting rooms so patients are occupied while they’re waiting.

Staffing Your Practice

When hiring doctors and nurses for your practice, you’re going to want to make sure that they have the proper skills in their area of expertise. You can take the easy route of posting your job openings on job search sites in hopes that the best candidates will apply, or you can post your openings on a physician niche job site to further narrow down your applicants. Whether you’re starting a solo practice, group practice, or any other type, your goal is to make sure that you hire the best healthcare professionals to work for you.

Because the hiring process can take quite a bit of time, you also have the option to hire a recruiting agency that will help you find the best physicians for your practice. Recruiting agencies take away the stress and tedium of finding the best physicians to work for your practice.

Remember that although this is a fairly simple business startup, there’s a lot that needs to be taken into consideration. It’s a good idea to consult with other physicians who’ve opened up their own practice and also business attorneys, financial advisors, and insurance agents throughout this entire process.


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