There comes a point in many successful doctors’ careers when they want to open their own medical practice instead of continuing to work for one. While many physicians make this decision to reach communities in need, to foster innovation, or to expand their own bandwidth for treating patients, medical practices are still businesses at the end of the day.
As with every other industry, business owners within the medical field have to run efficient and financially secure organizations. For some physicians, this side of running or starting a clinic may not come naturally. If you’re a doctor who runs their own office or plans to open one soon, you may want to consider these best business practices to ensure that your clinic thrives.
Hire Compassionate, Trust-worthy Staff Members
All businesses have to focus on customer service and experience in order to maintain loyal customers or patrons. Within the medical field, quality “customer service” equates to quality care and the “customer experience” encompasses everything from a doctor’s bedside manner to the administrative team’s ability to process billing and insurance claims accurately. When patients seek medical care, they’re often in a vulnerable state and every single employee needs to show more than just competence, but compassion as well.
To ensure a healthy working environment, your first priority should be to hire a good office manager. A good office manager can make or break your business since staff retention greatly depends on how they operate. Once that’s complete, focus on hiring the right individuals to fill in the rest of the team. You can use HR companies to find qualified candidates or post on the job boards of nearby medical schools. You also need to conduct background checks and reach out to references to ensure that your employees have clean records and experience with patient care or administrative duties.
Once you’ve solidified a team, you need to train your staff on workplace behavior and proper policies to ensure that your operations run smoothly. The active role of your office manager will be critical throughout this process, so make sure they understand your expectations and vision for the clinic.
Don’t be Afraid of Consulting
While some business owners may view consulting as an unnecessary expense, don’t be so quick to write it off, especially if your expertise lies in medicine, not business. Consultants with specialized training in launching, running, and expanding medical clinics can offer insight at every step of the way and ensure that your practice runs smoothly and within budget.
A consultant can give you accurate estimations on how much capital you’ll need to launch, how to market your clinic successfully, how to estimate monthly costs and more. Hiring a consultant can also help when it comes to implementing new hardware or software at your clinic. For example, the NextGen medical records platform combined with NextGen consulting can help your medical practice get organized when it comes to administrative management and patient record keeping.
Focus on the Waiting Room
As the old saying goes, “the first impression is the last impression.” In the case of your clinic, your waiting room will be the one place that will ensure patients that they’ve come to the right place for treatment. You need to ask yourself, “What does my waiting room say about my practice?” Many medical practitioners often forget the importance of providing a comfortable waiting room experience for their patients; focusing solely on providing quality medical service.
As a result, their waiting rooms feel crammed with uncomfortable chairs, bad lighting, disjointed furniture, and old magazines. The issue with this mindset is that patients often have to wait for hours in the waiting room which can create a negative impression in their mind before even seeing the doctor.
You need to create a positive environment for your patients from the very beginning. Create a warm and welcoming ambiance for your patients by ensuring the waiting room is well lit, has comfortable sitting arrangements, and is well-stocked with the latest editions of magazines and newspapers. A small bistro area and a fireplace can also make nice additions.
Stay Up to Date on Technology Trends
Another common mistake that many doctors make is using manual administrative methods. Boost productivity and organization by investing in medical billing services, medical transcription software, accounting and invoicing software, and even telehealth platforms.
The latest technologies may have a steep learning curve and considerable upfront expenses, but you need to keep in mind the long-term benefits they will bring to your business. Implementing and utilizing these technologies will help you cut recurring expenses and streamline individual parts of your
clinic’s operations. Aside from benefiting your operations, your patients will also feel that their doctor is professional and highly qualified.
The Business of Quality Care
While most doctors don’t embark on their medical careers with business management in mind, many physicians establish and maintain successful clinics. At the end of the day, your goals should align when it comes to offering high-quality patient care and running a successful business. Always keep in mind that clinics are both social services and capitalistic ventures, and you have to marry these two concepts in order to thrive and heal as many patients as possible.