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 #3: Hire Right
Although you might be tempted to hire your cousin or your neighbor’s niece to work at your practice, hiring the right people for the right positions is imperative to get your new practice off to a good start.
According to Holly Regan of The Profitable Practice, “Hiring decisions can be key determinants in the success level of your practice. The office manager is an especially crucial member of your staff. He or she must be a ‘Jack of all trades,’ possessing both clinical and business acumen. In addition to keeping the office running smoothly, the manager has to supervise practice staff, handle patient complaints and oversee bookkeeping and finances.” She continues, “Your office manager must be friendly, even-tempered and outgoing. They must have excellent people skills, and be able to communicate effectively with everyone who passes through the office: physicians, clinical and administrative staff, patients, drug company representatives and other clients or partners. Your manager should also be empathetic toward everyone in the office, and should enjoy talking with, listening to and helping others.”4
A physician who is active in running the practice requires a manager with less experience, however, a physician who delegates needs someone who can handle the workload. A person who is college educated, especially an MBA or RN, should handle additional responsibilities. An RN will help with certain additional responsibilities such as giving shots, or conducting physicals or hearing tests, etc.
Ensure you bring in highly motivated staff who are as invested in your practice as you. Don’t hire until you’re positive an individual is a good fit culturally, can understand, demonstrate and abide by your vision and values. If you’ll have a busy, fast-paced practice, hire staff that can keep up with you. Hiring the wrong people is expensive, considering how much you‘ll invest in them to learn your EHR, practice management and other IT systems, equipment, operations, billing, finances and workflow. Above all, trust your instinct. Before you screen candidates, decide what education and experience is necessary for the role that’s specific to your practice. During the interview process, look and listen for the qualities and characteristics that are important, and look for any warning signs.
It’s most important, though, to surround yourself with the right people who can give you, and especially your patients, a positive experience. Training and investing in a subpar employee is never advised. The less time you need to spend training your employees, the more time you’ll be able to spend with your patients, your family, and doing everything else you enjoy.
Contact AdvancedMD today to start your ideal 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 to Stay Independent but Not Alone
4. Regan, Holly, The Profitable Practice. How to Hire the Right Medical Office Manager, March 14, 2014.