You’ve done it! You’ve completed medical school and are now ready to set up shop and practice what you’ve learned. However, now you’re faced with a decision: Should you become an entrepreneur and start your own independent practice or become employed at a hospital? The decision is much easier than you think.
Starting and running an independent medical practice is more viable than it has ever been before, especially when you’re equipped with state-of-the-art technology. It’s much more attractive than working for a hospital, where physicians find themselves tied to quotas and financial metrics that compromise patient care and their lifestyles.
When you start your own practice, you decide you want more autonomy to make decisions that enable you to spend more time with your patients, which equates to better patient care. You want to set your own schedule and quotas, without someone telling you what you should or should not do. Join the thousands of doctors who are establishing independent medical practices; it will be one of your most rewarding professional experiences. Below are some of the most common mistakes physicians make when establishing a private practice. It’s great to be an independent practice if you do it right.
Tip #1: Timing is Crucial
The process of starting a practice should begin prior to finishing your residency, leaving a hospital or exiting a medical group. Decide prior to completing your residency if private practice is for you. Placing yourself in a position of urgency only adds stress to an already stressful position. Making a decision prior to finishing your residency or leaving your current job is the best way to give your practice a good start.
As motivated as you may be to get your practice up and running, you’ll need to rely on the help of others, including a lawyer, accountant, lender, real estate agent, office manager, etc. Establish clear objectives with your team of experts to make sure they complete their required projects as promised. You should plan to spend at least six months for you and your team to get your new practice up and running. If not, you risk having to see patients gratis, or at a great discount, if you intend on participating in third-party payers. If you intend to open a concierge medical practice, the time consuming credentialing process will not slow you down, but you’ll still have to contend with multiple individuals and organizations to establish a business. The timeline with credentialing is approximately six months. Without credentialing, give yourself four months.
According to Lucien Roberts of Physician’s Practice, “Though most credentialing can be done within 90 days in many markets, give yourself at least 150 days. As payers have merged and supersized, a practice’s ability to expedite an application has decreased. You are working on the timeline of someone else — the payer — and each payer has its own internal timeline for application processing. Give yourself some leeway and start early.”1
Contact AdvancedMD today to start your ideal medical practice or call (800) 825-0224.
If you’re graduating soon from medical school or planning to leave a larger medical practice or hospital, to practice independently for the first time, here’s the first of five eBooks to help you quickly become up to speed on running a successful practice:
Free eBook: How EHR can Create a Better Patient Experience
1. Roberts, Lucien W., Five Steps to Easy Physician Credentialing. Physicians Practice. July 23, 2014.