The health care provider that starts their own practice is seeking refuge from standard operations of large healthcare organizations. These practitioners seek to spend valuable time with their patients without being restricted to time and volume of visits per day, to provide patient care in the manner they deem suitable, to have more say and more control over their practice, and receive better compensation. Unfortunately, only one in seven providers that start their own business are still operating at the five year mark. Why are these individuals that are highly trained and educated failing?
Providers do not receive any education in business management during their numerous years in college. None, zero, zilch, nadda!
To increase the viability of private practices, the first thing a provider should do when starting their practice is reach out for help. There are plenty of consultants, like myself, that specialize in healthcare practice management, healthcare systems, and healthcare strategy and operations, that will provide basic resources and guidance to get your feet on the ground running. Fill your network with individuals that have diverse professional backgrounds including, but not limited to: marketing, social media, payment processing, medical billing, legal, accounting, and business. Many will give you some guidance at no cost knowing that once you need their services, you will call on them or you will refer business to them if they have had a positive effect on your business.
Open communication with fellow private practitioners and ask questions. It is amazing what you will learn. They will share with you the mistakes they made, the things that work best for them, and solutions that are low cost or free until you are able to afford something bigger and better.
A business consultant that specializes in healthcare, with experience in healthcare other than consulting, will be your 2nd greatest asset. The 1st greatest is your medical knowledge and skill. A good consultant can act as a strategic advisor, teaching you the pros and cons of every aspect in healthcare through their experience with other clients. They can also provide operational support in developing policies and procedures, integrating patient care systems, recruiting, hiring and training staff, credentialing, and helping you expand your company whether through additional provider acquisition or through facility duplication.
Providers that are able to identify their areas of weakness in business and seek help from others to compliment these weaknesses are the ones that grow and realize the success of owning their own business. The other six out of seven should have read this post or contacted me.
Reasons for failure are not related to reimbursement rates, ACA or ICD-10. Here are the top 5 reasons private practitioners fail in running their own business:
#1 Lack of business knowledge and resources
#2 Poor bedside manner / Patient communication
#3 Market saturation of specialty
#4 Failure to market services and use social media
#5 Resistance to networking
The Salsbury & Co. website offers many resources to practitioners that desire to start their own practice or are struggling to make their existing practice successful. The American Medical Association (AMA) provides members with numerous resources from selecting the appropriate practice management system to how to write policies. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has many templates and examples of workforce policies and other advisory information that are useful to private practices with employees. Overall, there is an abundance of assistance available to the private practitioner that can help lead them to success, they only need to be open and willing to accept it.
To access Salsbury & Co.'s full line of resources (DIY policies and procedures, employee handbook, patient forms, and more) for private practices, please visit our website.
April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.
Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.
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