It often makes sense, as a medical provider, to go into business for yourself. You can set your own hours, set your prices, and have control of all aspects of the business. If you are a physician that is considering private practice, you will want to keep the following planning tips in consideration. Not every physician is prepared to handle the business side of a medical practice.
Are you able to obtain financing?
Opening any business, even a medical practice, takes a lot of capital. You may be able to get financed for your business. However, this will require exceptional credit, a good down payment, and a strong business plan. Lenders want to know that you have more than a medical degree. You will have to prove your business plan and how you will make money. You will have to address all of the specifics of the business including who will work there, how you will bill patients, how you will spend your profits, and when you expect to pay the loan off in entirety.
Who will handle the day to day of the business?
If you went through medical school and obtained your medical license, it is likely that you only want to focus on the medical side of the business. Your business, however, will also require someone to manage the day to day. This includes scheduling appointments, answering patient questions, dealing with insurance companies, and handling after hours call services. You might have to hire multiple people to handle all of these tasks, including the medical answering services, but it can be a good business decision to have an office manager to keep track of the day to day.
What type of patients will you see?
This is an easy question to answer if you have a specialty. However, many physicians choose a wide range, or family practice, medical education. This means that you will have patients with many medical concerns. You will have to establish the types of patients that you are qualified to assist, and have a list of those that you will refer to specialists. As a physician, you took a duty to only help those that you are qualified to help. This falls under that scope of practice. You will also need to have a type of after hours answering services company or system for those special patients, with referral information.
How will you handle emergencies?
Emergencies are quite common in the medical industry. Most physician offices operate on regular business hours. You will also need to decide what you will do with those emergency calls after hours. Using a professional medical answering services company can be a safe way to screen calls and provide emergency help. Approximately 91% of all U.S. citizens have their mobile device within reach 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means that medical questions and emergencies will come in after hours. Using an after hours call answering service is a great solution for those calls.
Will you offer scheduling after business hours?
A physician?s office is only as successful as the number of patients it has. About 89% of people will hang up on a business if they hear a voicemail. Not having a 24 hour answering service can lose you patients. When you outsource a 24 hour live answering service, your new patients can schedule appointments and reach medical answering services for questions, any time of the day or night. Because 79% of consumers prefer to interact with companies by phone compared to other options, a live medical answering services service may be a better option than an automated system or online scheduling service.
Many physicians obtain their license with the intention of going into private practice. Private practice can be very financially rewarding, especially if you also have business sense. As you prepare for your own medical practice, ensure that you can answer all of these questions. Your financing may rely on the ability to answer these and other business operating questions.