How to keep your independent practice sustainable

As an independent physician, you face a lot of challenges. However, the rewards that can come from being independent, rather than joining a hospital group or becoming employed by another healthcare provider, can be tremendous. Those rewards are undoubtedly why you chose to become – and remain – independent. How can you keep your independent practice sustainable, so that you and your patients can continue to enjoy those benefits?

Effective practice management is one of the keys to the success of an independent practice. Marni Jameson, Executive Director, Association of Independent Doctors has shared some insights culled from independent physicians’ best practices, in the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA)’s MGMA Plus. The list includes:

  • Keep your community presence strong. Positive exposure in the community helps promote your image as an independent physician while marketing your practice to potential new clients. You can volunteer, sponsor a local team or event, offer to speak to area groups, and get involved in other ways that demonstrate your commitment to your community and to your profession.
  • Use your current connections as a referral base. Word of mouth is hands-down the most effective way to promote your practice. Network with specialty physicians, laboratory reps, and business people in your community to keep your independent practice top-of-mind.
  • Search out practical alternatives to hospital services. You may be able to offer some of those services in your practice, to boost your revenue and better serve your patients.
  • Educate patients and potential patients on the benefits of an independent practice. As an independent physician, you are not tied to higher hospital fees. That fact alone could bring in more patients and increase your revenue.
  • Make referrals easy. Using an electronic health record (EHR) solution increases your ability to immediately access and communicate with other physicians and with your patients. A more efficient and effective referral process has significant potential for increasing your referral rate.
  • Stay positive. As Jameson found, “practice administrators agree, believing you will survive is half the battle.”