Going from a “solo” practice to a “small” practice

Many physicians at independent practices may consider bringing another physician on-board and expanding their practice. At some point, they may decide that they either need to or want to add to their solo practice, primarily because of increased patient load. What are some considerations they must make to transition from a solo practice to a small practice?

The first decision is how to recruit and screen applicants. Outside assistance may be needed with this step. Independent primary care providers who are already strained by limited resources can take advantage of a recruiter’s services to find the perfect candidate. An effective recruiter will be able to “weed through the candidates” so the physician is only reviewing the top three or so.

Although the recruiter will conduct the initial screening, it will be up to the independent primary care providers to determine who will be the best fit for the practice. Considerations may include appropriate training and education, the candidate’s familiarity with IT tools such as EHR systems as well as the candidate’s personality and communication skills.

Once the candidate is identified and hired, a transition plan will need to be in place to bring the new physician on-board. The new physician may need to be trained on the electronic communication tools or billing system used by the practice. An announcement should be made to patients as well as other providers and healthcare facilities in the independent primary care providers’ network. Post the new physician’s bio on the practice website and send out notices via social media to announce the expansion.

The new physician should also be trained on practice management, particularly in regard to the practice’s emphasis on tracking performance and quality measures. With the move toward value-based payments, this step will be particularly important for the success of the practice overall.

Expanding from a solo practice to a small practice may seem challenging, but when independent primary care providers take into consideration the steps and the benefits involved, the transition should go smoothly.