1. CHALLENGE READINESS
Owning your own practice, while challenging at times, is a rewarding and satisfying accomplishment. As a physician, you are no stranger to long days and working hard to achieve what you want. Thomas Edison said it best, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” If you start out for the right reasons, let that guide you and be your motivating factor on those long days. Become an entrepreneur for the love of solving problems, daily challenges, and at the end of the day having things done your way. What is most rewarding is having the perseverance to work on your practice and watch it succeed day by day. With the vision of your enterprise burning brightly in your mind, you will view the startup challenges as only minor obstacles to overcome.
2. RELATIONSHIP MARKETING POWER
Relationship marketing differs from other forms of marketing in that it recognizes the value of customer relationships built off that strategy. Relationship marketing no longer includes just networking at events and getting out into the community, it now encompasses a whole new field: social media, the most popular forms being Facebook and Twitter.
Social media is not just a fad or a phase, social media is a powerful and well-respected marketing medium. There are over 1.15 billion Facebook users, and according to recent statistics 70% of marketers use Facebook to help gain new customers. Twitter has over 215 million active users, and 34% of marketers used Twitter to successfully generate leads. Putting time and effort into your social media strategy can help expand your business quickly by allowing you to target your audience and raise awareness about your practice within your community.
Having a webpage is a necessity for customers to find you, but having a social media page is a way for customers to feel like they are getting to know you and your business. Posting items such as interesting articles, free flu shot clinics, or welcoming new staff members to your practice, helps keep your business on your followers’ radars and helps them feel connected to you. Best of all, these social media sites are free and you have the control to do with it as you please.
3. MARKET RESEARCH
Now is a better time than ever to go into private practice. With the Affordable Care Act in process, there are many newly insured people out there looking for healthcare. With that being said, don’t go blindly into a solo practice without understanding the political, economic, and business environment where you want to start your practice. In order to succeed, it is important to research and understand the healthcare needs of the area in which you want to start your practice. You don’t want to put the money into your start up, and invest all the time it takes, to find out there are many others in the area offering the same service you do, in a poorly insured area, with a low target population. Start out investing in your new practice with a sound market analysis.
4. REVENUE CYCLE MANAGEMENT (RCM) EXPERTISE
Revenue Cycle Management is a relatively new umbrella term that reflects a broader range of services and has more benefits than “medical billing” alone. When looking at RCM companies, it is important to find one that manages everything from when the patient makes an appointment and subsequently enters your facility (by helping to determine patient insurance eligibility, collecting co-pays, and proper coding of the procedures) to when the patient leaves (by assisting with claims processing, following up on denied claims, and revenue generation) and the claim is paid. By having one company handle every step, it ensures you get paid for the work you did. Employing one expert organization using the latest technology will result in a rapid turn around and payment of your claims.
Doing your own RCM is difficult, time consuming, and risky. Mistakes in billing can literally cost you thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands.
If you haven’t researched the RCM alternative in the past few years, it is worth doing so as it has changed dramatically. The services offered are expansive and the cost has decreased over the years with the continued advancement in practice management software.
5. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
You’ve established your Advisory Team (Lawyer, Accountant, & Practice Set-Up Advisory), created a rock solid business plan, secured financing, found your location, executed your lease, hired the staff, completed your credentialing, learned a new EHR, hired an RCM company and done your due diligence in marketing. You open the doors of your new practice and you start seeing your patients, the way you want to see them, in the environment you want to see them in. It’s heaven. And you can stay in heaven if you understand that it isn’t necessarily the business with the best plan that succeeds, it’s the business that responds best when their plans don’t address the unexpected. It is about making your practice fit reality, not trying to force reality to fit your plans. Leave no rock unturned and plan for the unexpected, even before the doors open. Plan for when the third party payers take their time to pay you. Plan for your patient load to be very, very low initially. Plan for your Office Manager, who you thought was the greatest, to quit after 3 days and file for unemployment benefits. But, most importantly, plan to be flexible, plan to go-with-the-flow, plan to put your positive attitude out there for everyone to see. Plan for success by planning for the unexpected. Svast Healthcare works with you to create the rock solid business plan as well as planning for the unexpected.