Starting a new business is scary. Starting a new medical practice can be downright terrifying. The medical field is fraught with regulations, legalities, and paperwork pitfalls that can stifle your new practice startup before the first patient clears the doorway.
You can prevent any stumbling blocks on your way to new practice bliss by being prepared. Below are five steps you can take before your practice opens its doors to ensure that the first days run smoothly into years of future success.
Know the laws and regulations in your state.
There are many federal laws in place that cross state boundaries, but even more laws vary from state to state, unique to the local populations and state legislatures. It’s vital for you to understand the state wherein your practice will reside, as both cultural and legal standards could be different. You can adapt over time to some of the cultural differences, but violations of state laws could result in fines or other less easily resolved legal entanglements. Avoid these by researching state standards thoroughly.
Ask for advice from friends and fellow practitioners.
Asking others who practice in the same state can help you resolve many of the cultural and legal issues up front. Recommendations from those currently in practice are also likely to be more realistic and more practical than some of the others sources you might turn to. Experience teachers a great deal, and advice from those who have already done what you’re trying to do is always invaluable.
Choose the right facility for your needs.
In envisioning your new practice, you probably established an ideal of your practice’s goals and objectives—what you hoped your startup practice could uniquely provide. You need to keep those details in mind when selecting your facility. Also, don’t get ahead of yourself. Maybe you dream of a multi-functional facility that combines specialties with family care, and maybe even a few preventive and holistic medicinal ambitions. That might be a bit much to start with, and you need to pick a startup practice facility with that achieves your primary goals, that’s the right size and is located near a target population that will benefit from your services. If you plan to offer family medicine, select a smaller location near a suburb or family-oriented area. If you intend to do outreach services for high-risk populations, select an area that meets the demographic you are trying to target. The statistics are available and location is key. And again, don’t think too big to start. Establish yourself first, achieve your primary objectives, and then grow once your experience has shown you what your patients really need.
Pick your staff with care.
In staffing your startup practice, return to your vision. You will want to select healthcare professionals who share your dream. The climate of modern healthcare is changing greatly and many types of practices are emerging that cater to a unique range of services, often melding more progressive treatments with traditional medicinal practices. If you plan to start a business like this, you’ll want to make sure that you select staff who are open-minded and truly interested in your goals, as opposed to older, more traditional practitioners and staff who are set in their ways and impressions.
Have all systems, forms, and basic paperwork ready to go.
Unfortunately, the humdrum necessities are just as vital as the big-picture items. You will want your startup practice to be organized and compliant with all potential legal issues. The appropriate systems, forms, and paperwork are part of this process—and they will save your new practice in more ways than you can imagine over the long run. Set a plan in place from the beginning, one that accounts for effective Electronic Health Records (EHR) compliance, Eligibility Verification capabilities, training on maintaining those systems and records, and appropriate filing processes. This particular area would definitely be something to discuss with other healthcare professionals who have begun their own startup practice; they might have some best practices or recommendations about system providers that you can apply to your business.
Opening a new business or a new practice will always be, to some extent, a risky venture. However, most of the more rewarding aspects of life are steeped in risk and the potential for failure. But when you do succeed, the resulting satisfaction is that much sweeter.
If you’re planning to open your own startup practice, take the time you need to prepare, research, and create a rock solid plan. Then, plan for nothing to go exactly according to plan and set fallback plans for major items. After that, you might actually be ready to make it happen. In the end, if you have planned well and stayed true to your vision, your rewards will be just as sweet as your obstacles were challenging.