First steps for opening up an independent practice

Are you considering an independent practice for yourself? Although it may seem an intimidating prospect, you will probably find that independent and solo practitioners are better able to provide quality care for their patients. In fact, Linda Girgis, MD, FAAFP , writing in Medical Practice Insider states that “patients receive the best care when their physicians maintain control of the way they practice.”

What are some of the first and most important things you will need to do when planning your independent practice? The list may seem long and daunting, but there are a few items that are crucial and will help independent and solo practitioners move toward success.

Hire quality staff. When you have skilled team members who are patient-focused, you can be more confident in your practice management. Your patients will be happier, knowing that everyone in your office truly cares about their well-being and that the practice is well run.

Launch a marketing strategy. Create a professional website that provides your patients with information about your practice. List your location and contact information as well as an overview of your background and education. Make the website interactive, so patients can communicate with you and your staff, make appointments online, and pay their bills online.

Set up an EHR system. Take advantage of technological advances by maintaining your patients’ health records electronically. With an EHR solution, you will spend less time on paperwork and more time being able to provide quality care to your new patients.

Hire professionals. You will need to enlist help to stay on top of legal issues and accounting matters, particularly taxes. In addition, as an independent physician it will be your responsibility to credential with insurance companies, so you may need professional assistance to be sure that task is completed appropriately and in a timely manner.

Communicate with the medical community. You know that communication is important once you are seeing patients as an independent physician, but it is just as important to reach out to specialty providers, labs, and healthcare facilities before you open your practice. Let them know what you have to offer, particularly when you have the ability to collaborate electronically.

Independent and solo practitioners have an advantage in being able to focus more fully on patient care. Follow these guidelines to open and succeed in your independent practice!