Setting up a new practice is one of the most rewarding and daunting decisions a healthcare professional can make. By turning your passion for helping people into a business, you’ll generate an impressive profit while serving the community. Read on for a comprehensive checklist for setting up a new practice.
1. IT systems & processes – A customised IT system is essential in ensuring your practice runs smoothly. Integrated IT systems and processes enable you to:
· Keep track of patient records, test results and medications
· Generate patient reminders for appointments
· Access the latest medical research
· Decrease waste and costs through digitised test results
2. Insurance – As a doctor, you have a professional obligation to ensure your practice is appropriately covered by professional indemnity insurance. According to current regulations, you must meet the requirements set out in the Registration Standard of Professional Indemnity Insurance, established by the Medical Board of Australia.
3. Marketing – Marketing is essential in building, promoting and improving patient perception of your practice. The most effective ways to market your practice to current and prospective patients include:
· Expand your services by: offering extended hours, house calls or nursing home visits
· Conducting patient surveys
· Send out “Welcome to Practice” and “Happy Birthday” letters to current and prospective patients. This is an effective way to generate positive word-of-mouth
· Send out appointment reminders via text or email. By putting in the extra effort, patients will associate quality, care and compassion with your practice, and may increase referrals
4. Staff – Enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff are the cornerstone of a successful medical practice. These are some useful factors to consider before hiring staff:
· Determining essential staff requirements for your practice.
· Familiarising yourself with the employment standards in your State and typical pay rates
· Determining the qualities you require in employees (i.e. strong clinical skills, great customer service skills, a friendly manner, adaptability and a willingness to learn)
· Determining the skill set and training your new hire should have, and if you want to train them in-house or pay for additional training
· Ensuring your new hires have positive references. As this person represents your practice (and is often the first and last person your patient deals with), you want to ensure your employees are a positive representation of your practice.
5. Space – The right physical location for your medical practice is vital for its ongoing success. When choosing a location for your practice, you should consider:
· Is it a high traffic area? Is it exposed to foot traffic, or is it near a corner where motorists stopped at a light may notice you?
· Is the building bright, noticeable and well lit?
· Are there any practices similar to yours nearby?
· Are you located in a clean, respectable part of town? Are the footpaths clean, walls free of graffiti and the crime rate relatively low?
· Is ample parking available for patients?
· Are you seeing non-driving patients by selecting a location with close proximity to public transport?