As a physician, our primary focus has always been on patient care and well-being. However, with the evolving landscape of healthcare, many physicians are now starting to question if private practice might be right for them. In this article, we will explore how I transformed my clinic into a thriving business without compromising patient outcomes.
It Is Tough Out There
The past 4 years since I’ve started my practice have been hard. Very hard. Honestly, knowing what I know now, I’m not sure I would have started the business from scratch. Growth has been hard, but we finally turned a corner. This is the first quarter where I have made more money by running the practice than seeing patients.
Pseudo-Business vs Business
I call my practice a pseudo-business because if I was not there seeing patients, I was not making money. While technically a genuine business, it is not one that makes me money outside of whatever hard work I was doing. Until now.
I finally have crossed the threshold where I’m making more money by running the practice and managing others compared to seeing patients. It took 4 years to get here, with lots of road bumps along the way. I’m happy I did it, but I honestly feel about 10 years older.
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Shifting the Mindset:
Running a successful primary care clinic requires a shift in mindset from being solely a healthcare provider to becoming an entrepreneur. Recognize that your medical expertise can be leveraged to generate revenue beyond patient consultations. For me, that was the hardest part. Switching from worrying about practicing medicine and delivering good care to running a successful business.
Optimize Business Operations:
Efficient clinic operations are key to maximizing revenue. Our office runs lean. Very lean. We implement strategies such as streamlining administrative tasks, optimizing appointment scheduling, and leveraging technology to enhance workflow. This allows us to see more patients while maintaining high-quality care.
Embrace Ancillary Services:
Diversifying our clinic’s offerings through ancillary services can significantly boost revenue. Consider incorporating services such as laboratory testing, vaccinations, minor surgical procedures, wellness programs, or telemedicine consultations. These services not only generate additional income but also increase patient loyalty by offering comprehensive care under one roof. I’ll have more about this in a future post.
Optimize Billing and Coding:
Accurate and efficient billing and coding processes are crucial to ensure proper reimbursement for the services we provide. We now have 2 full-time billers that overlook everything that we do. They are also looking for suggestions on how to better bill for appropriate services that we are rendering. We can also run a report on our patients. For example, we can run a report for patients who spent more than 60 minutes in our office and cross reference those patients from those who did or did not have a level 5 bill submitted.
Develop a Strong Online Presence:
In today’s digital age, having a robust online presence is essential for any business, including medical practices. We have a professional website and encourage satisfied patients to leave positive reviews. A strong online presence can attract new patients and establish your clinic as a trusted and reputable healthcare provider. Our biggest referral base is from word of mouth. Satisfied patients.
Delegate and Outsource:
Recognize that you cannot do it all on your own. This was honestly one of the hardest things for me to overcome. Delegate non-clinical tasks to capable staff members, allowing you to focus on patient care and strategic decision-making. Additionally, consider outsourcing tasks like accounting, marketing, or IT services to professionals who can provide expertise in those areas.
Continual Professional Development:
Invest in your own professional development to enhance your business acumen and leadership skills. Attend conferences, workshops, and seminars focused on practice management, entrepreneurship, and healthcare innovations. Staying up to date with industry trends and best practices will help you navigate the ever-changing healthcare landscape.
Transitioning from being solely a physician to becoming an entrepreneur in my primary care clinic opens up new opportunities to generate revenue while providing exceptional patient care. By optimizing clinic operations, embracing ancillary services, establishing strategic partnerships, and leveraging online platforms, you can maximize your clinic’s revenue potential. Remember, as a physician, your expertise extends beyond patient consultations, and with the right mindset and strategic approach, you can thrive both as a healthcare provider and a successful business owner.