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New practices checklist: Everything you need to start a new independent practice

Doctor laptop stethoscope

Starting your own independent practice enables you to provide the quality care you know your patients need and deserve, while preserving your autonomy as a healthcare provider. Optimizing your success from the beginning means following a new practice checklist so you’ll better understand everything you need to start a new independent practice.

The first step is to develop a project plan. The plan will include your new practices checklist as well as ongoing tasks that will be necessary to sustain your practice moving forward. Starting a new practice will be much less stressful once you have everything in writing and are able to double-check what needs to be done. Include a timeline in your plan that will get you to your target opening date successfully.

Develop a realistic budget as part of your plan. The typical cost of starting a new independent practice can range from $70,000 to over $100,000. Your average monthly cost for operations is estimated to be around $6,000. As part of your new practices checklist, include a budget that covers all the essentials of starting and operating a new practice, such as:

  • Office space
  • Insurance
  • Staff
  • Vendors
  • Furniture and equipment

Then determine what you want your image, or your brand, to be. Although branding is usually thought of in regard to more commercial ventures, as a healthcare provider you will also need to establish an image that stays true to your basic mission and vision. This will become even more important as you complete another step in the process, marketing your practice to new patients.

Your brand will include your practice name and logo, as well as your culture and environment. These elements will be part of the “statement” you communicate to potential patients.

Find an affordable and appropriate space for your practice. Determine the best location for your new practice, based on potential patients’ access abilities and preferences as well as your own needs. The primary consideration will be whether your patients can get to your office, as well as get in and out easily. If the space is on a busy road, for example, it may be difficult to access. You can save money initially by looking for an existing facility that has been vacated by another healthcare provider.

Your image or brand will also impact your choice of office space. The location and physical features of your practice should be in line with the image you want to project to patients. Small and convenient might be better in the long run than expansive and new, for example.

Purchase appropriate equipment, include technology tools. One of the most important tools you need when starting a new practice is an electronic health record (EHR) system. Your EHR will enable you to provide higher quality care more efficiently and will allow your patients to access their own records, which encourages them to participate more in their care. If you plan to participate in a CMS incentive program, you will need the right EHR system to qualify for payments.

Elation Health works with your new independent practice, to support you as you complete your checklist so you can get your practice started and properly credentialed.

Promote your new practice. Marketing may seem out of your wheelhouse as a healthcare provider, but you will need to promote your practice to potential patients in your community to establish a solid patient panel on opening day. Once you develop a reputation among existing patients, you can rely more heavily on word-of-mouth and patient reviews to promote your practice. Remember to stay true to your image, or brand, as you reach out and attract new patients.