Starting Your Healthcare Practice – 5 Top Tips to Consider!

Published on 13/03/2024

How to start your practice - 5 tips

In addition to offering professional autonomy, starting a healthcare practice offers a meaningful impact on the healthcare industry.

The journey to launching a practice requires thorough planning and, most of all, patience. It includes many steps such as choosing a location, making a financial plan, defining practice workflows, as well as promoting the services you offer. Creating a successful practice requires each step to be taken carefully.

With the right preparation, support and mindset, establishing your practice can turn into a great experience and a successful project. ​​Leveraging more than a decade of experience in assisting healthcare professionals, this article outlines five key steps for successfully establishing a new practice.

1. Define Your Future Practice Format: Single or Shared Practice?

More and more healthcare professionals are starting a joint practice with colleagues. There are many reasons why this form of practice works, here are the main ones:

  1. Launching a business with someone else can help to minimise the burden on only one person. Financial planning, practice organisation and patient acquisition can be divided among colleagues.
  2. Patients whose doctor is not available at a specific time will check if another healthcare professional at the same practice has an open slot left. This way, patients can rely on more than only one healthcare professional at a specific location.
  3. In the event that the rent for the practice location you find is too high for one, why not make it for two or more? The reality is that it can be difficult to overcome financial difficulties on your own.

2. Choose the Right Location for Your Practice

Choosing the right location for your practice is an important decision. In a report by Weatherby Healthcare, 23% of patients cite location as a crucial factor and 48% as a very important one when choosing a healthcare provider. A patient’s decision on whether to visit you will therefore greatly depend on your location.

So, before making a choice, it’s essential to first consider several key questions:

  • Is my specialty in demand in this town/province?
  • Is there much competition in this area? If yes, what kind of competition will I have to face?
  • How easily can I gain new patients in this place?
  • Does this location provide easy access to a variety of patients?
  • Is there an option for me to take over a practice from someone else without having to establish a patient base from scratch?

To find answers to these questions, you will have to evaluate your preferences and, more importantly, the needs of your patients.

Additionally, financial considerations play a crucial role. You need to evaluate whether you’re willing to invest in your chosen location and, if so, understand the associated costs. Addressing all financial aspects is essential for crafting a comprehensive business plan before launching your business.

3. Make a Financial Plan & Learn Business Management Fundamentals

When starting your own practice, it is important to understand the fundamentals of business creation and management. You’ll find yourself immersed in administrative tasks related to running a business. These include invoicing, practice management, navigating taxes and payroll — all integral aspects of entrepreneurship.

You can prepare yourself for future challenges by attending startup seminars and delving into detailed whitepapers on entrepreneurship.

Additionally, it’s essential to precisely outline your upcoming expenses: rent, supplies, personnel, practice management software, and more. Time is money, as the saying goes, and in the medical field that is especially true. Many practices are now utilising management tools to streamline their daily operations and thus save valuable time.

Creating a simple Excel spreadsheet to itemise your costs can be a practical first step. There are also dedicated professional software solutions (ERP) designed to help you run your business. However, if financial management isn’t your strength, seeking guidance from an accountant or an experienced consultant is highly recommended.

To conclude, it’s crucial to comprehend the expenses you’ll face at the launch of your practice. Equally important is understanding the recurring costs you’ll encounter daily. This dual perspective on costs ensures you’re well-prepared for both the launch phase and the ongoing financial management of your practice.

4. Adapt the Most Appropriate Tools to Your Working Habits

The choice of practice management software will significantly depend on your practice’s size, specialty, and the number of staff members. Before making this choice, it’s essential to assess your comfort and familiarity with digital tools.

The market offers a diverse range of software solutions, enabling you to tailor the management of patients, appointments, billing, resources, and other in-practice processes according to your preferences. Many practices now prioritise finding a software solution that supports the daily operations of their staff, streamlining workflows and enhancing overall efficiency.

When it comes to appointment management, the Doctena Booking System offers many automated features to streamline practice workflows. Some of the most popular ones are the following:

  • With automated SMS and email reminders, practice staff can reduce manual tasks by up to 30%.
  • Using the last-minute availabilities feature, patients automatically get notified via email whenever an earlier appointment becomes available.
  • Newly booked appointments can be automatically confirmed without doing any manual work.

Plus, the Doctena Agenda of each practitioner can be shared between secretaries, as well as among colleagues working in the same practice.

Furthermore, healthcare is changing with the help of new AI-assisted tools. Doctena has embraced AI by partnering with two innovative solutions:

  • The AI-driven patient interview provided by Bingli enables healthcare professionals to save about 20 minutes per patient intake.
  • Alfred, a Luxembourgish practice software, incorporates an AI-based prescription module. It seamlessly connects appointments made through Doctena with the corresponding prescriptions in Alfred, streamlining the entire process.

5. Start Attracting Patients Online

After thorough planning, the focus shifts to marketing your practice and establishing a robust patient base. Potential patients must hear about, see, and read up on your services.

Remember, word of mouth is crucial. Actively engage with local patients, network with your colleagues, and ensure your patients receive top-notch care in your practice. This approach not only encourages patients to recommend you to others, but can also lead to excellent online reviews.

While word-of-mouth recommendations were the go-to in the past, today’s patients increasingly turn to online reviews to make informed decisions about their healthcare professionals. According to Software Advice, a staggering 71% of patients now start their search for doctors by exploring. Therefore, investing in a professional practice website that allows patients to access your services easily is key.

Beyond having a dedicated practice website, healthcare professionals need to be present on other online platforms, too. Appointment booking portals like doctena.nl offer a space where patients can find their practice details and book their appointments online. They can also read reviews from other patients. Leveraging such increased online visibility, you can efficiently reach and attract a wider patient audience with ease.

Nothing Can Hold You Back

Starting a healthcare practice might seem challenging, but it’s a move towards independence and fulfilling your professional and personal goals. It’s about blending your medical expertise with business skills and engaging with the community.

In conclusion, establishing a successful practice hinges on choosing the appropriate type of practice, securing a suitable location, efficiently managing finances and operations, while also embracing the right technologies along with effective marketing strategies.

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We strive to improve patient care by simplifying and securing communication between practitioners and patients. With Doctena, patients can book appointments easily and healthcare professionals can send them automated reminders securely.

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