Opening a private practice can be both exciting and challenging. So here are seven tips that can help to ensure the success and longevity of any new practice.
1. Plan Far in Advance
Whether it’s drafting a business plan, applying for loans, installing equipment, training staff, or securing permits and licenses, each step is subject to uncontrollable delays. That’s why the AMA advises that new practices give themselves a generous timeline. Brainstorm built-in contingencies for every conceivable postponement. Time is money, and prior planning to manage it wisely is a rewarding investment.
2. Focus on the Patient Experience
New practices need to support patients with personalized service and more dynamic doctor-patient engagement. That includes pricing transparency and billing convenience, because 65 percent of patients express their willingness to ditch a provider if a competing practice offers a better payment experience. So simply by offering patients the level of care and service they deserve and expect, new practices can be competitive and successful.
3. Consolidate Technological Solutions
Patient-focused all-inclusive technological solutions can help in that regard. There are HIPAA compliant patient portals, for instance, that can provide patients with convenient 24/7 access to medical information, prescription and healthcare records, and appointment scheduling tools and calendars. The most advanced and comprehensive platforms integrate PCI compliant online billing and payment processing, as well as customizable analytics and reporting. They also include automated insurance verification tools and claims management software. That can save new practices precious time and money, since the average provider spends almost two days a week just on insurance paperwork.
4. Provide Convenient Payment Options
But more than 75 percent of healthcare practices create additional labor-intensive paperwork and collection delays by sending paper invoices via snail mail. No wonder they don’t receive any payment for at least 30 days. But the vast majority of patients prefer centralized billing and the same digital convenience they are accustomed to when shopping online. A robust payment processing portal can deliver that, without additional infrastructure investment or technical training.
5. Offer Flexible Payment Plans
These systems incorporate credit card data encryption and tokenization, and can accept multiple forms of payment, including recurring and installment payments. Choose a safe, secure, scalable payment solution, and one that gives patients ultimate payment flexibility. That way they can even set up their own personal repayment plans on the healthcare practice’s payment platform.
6. Prioritize Patient Payments
Most practices, even well-established ones, routinely lose 40 percent of their accounts receivable revenue. The main sources of payment are patients and insurance companies, and patients now shoulder historically high levels of financial responsibility. That makes collection of patient payments a top priority. Verifying insurance eligibility is also extremely valuable in controlling loses. But nearly one-quarter of all practices fail to verify prior to providing healthcare services. That’s yet another reason to automate the insurance verification and claims submission process.
7. Protect Medical Practice Assets
Setting up a private practice is a major investment, so make sure that yours is fully safeguarded with multi-level insurance protection. That should include not only medical malpractice insurance, but also ample coverage for the office and equipment. But don’t neglect protection against liability in the event of a cyber attack or theft of confidential patient records. Those events are increasingly common, and without insurance coverage they can be financially catastrophic.