For many, medicine is a lifelong practice — certainly a career that asks a substantial commitment to the pursuer. And while a career in medicine can provide fulfillment in many ways, there are also plenty of grueling years. If you’re in the field, then you know the misconception that “medicine” = “money.” Even if you were to ignore the student debts, most residents start in the ballpark of $50,000/year and while there are some people who would say “that’s a decent wage,” they often fail to take into account that residents are working some 80 hours a week (which typically puts a resident’s hourly pay below the minimum wage), but they do it because it’s a real, purpose-driven work. That’s also why if you’re seeking to start your own medical practice, making sure you can do so successfully will keep the spirit (and the business) alive. While work in the hospital is rewarding, many start their own practice, which comes with its own share of one part excitement and one part challenge.
On the less demanding side, you work for yourself and have greater control over practicing medicine. On the challenging side, you have to consider hiring, setting up, and launching the new practice, not to mention handle insurance which is a full-time job in and of itself. Challenges vary as some are noticeably harder than some, depending on your area of expertise, social connections, and level of study. Nonetheless, it can be done, and with a few tips, you can easily have a successful business.
Purchasing An Existing Practice
An existing medical practice is a good investment. Some of the benefits of purchasing an existing practice are existing clientele, more than likely; patients will be transferred to you once you become the new owner, equipments are already in place, and experienced staff. You will also have a community of medical practitioners and staff because you are more of a replacement of the previous practitioner, which eases the transition process. Purchasing an existing medical practice comes with a lower risk than starting from scratch.
Solid Business Plan
A business plan gives you a great understanding of where you are going and what you are doing. It involves the route you will take to establish a successful practice. A business plan consists of your established goals, mission and vision statement, and objectives. Within the business plan, you layout your business financial model, budgets, and the timeline for growing your practice. This plan guides your next steps as your progress towards opening for the first time.
After a business plan, the next step is funding; how will you finance your business? One of the easy ways to get funding for a new medical practice is a business loan. It is not always easy to get a business loan because most medical students leave university with debts, but a small business loan will provide you with the flow you need to get started.
Location is an important factor in starting a new medical practice. You have to take into consideration: how much space do you need? Which location is most accessible by all patients, but specifically those with physical challenges? After you have your ideal location, you have to undergo furnishing, inspections, lease terms negotiation, and operation hours.
Other factors to take into consideration when starting a new medical practice are:
- Medical credentials
- Insurance coverage
- Hospital Access
- Vendors such as office supplies, janitorial service, medical waste management, and maintenance.
One of the greatest differences between medicine and healthcare is that healthcare is a business, and medicine is a profession. When you establish a new medical practice or purchase an existing practice, you must be guided under the moral code to provide competent medical care with respect and compassion. At the same time, safeguard the patients. This, therefore, means while you can profit from your practice, it should more about using your medical knowledge to assist those in need and less about the business aspect of medical care.