Leadership in healthcare – what does it take?
Starting a medical practice can be exciting and challenging, and marks a pivotal time in your career as a transformational leader in healthcare. But it also comes with the responsibility of personal and financial investment, and needs serious consideration and forward planning.
In MedicalDirector’s latest ebook, ‘The Smart Guide to Starting a Medical Practice,’ we uncover the key questions to ask yourself to determine whether you’re ready to take the lead in running your practice, and the support group you need to help get started.
Understanding the ‘business’ of healthcare leadership
You’re a highly qualified health practitioner, but are you qualified to own and operate a business? It’s time to start thinking like an entrepreneur and a CEO. This means there are some core skills you need to learn and conquer, in order to manage the fundamental business aspects of running your own practice.
First, take the time to evaluate your own business skills. You need to be able to answer some fundamental questions about how comfortable you are about ‘running a business’ and the financial responsibility and risks associated with it.
What is really motivating you to lead a new practice?
While it’s important to be optimistic and passionate about your vision for healthcare, you also need to be realistic about the work and dedication involved. This means taking the time to evaluate what the real reasons are for starting your own practice. You need to weigh up the pros and cons, understand your vision and the risks. Consider the potential benefits of higher income, asset building and a more empowered professional lifestyle, and weigh them against factors such as business risk mitigation, staff management and the daily challenges of running a business.
Start with the end in mind
In order to discover what is really motivating you, you need to start with the end in mind, says Steven Macarounas, Founder of The Private Practice, which runs regular workshops for practitioners who want to set up their own medical practice.
“From the beginning, you need to set your goals and stepping stones, and start with the end in mind,” Macarounas said. “Structure your business to suit your lifestyle, not the other way around. Otherwise you run the risk of your work taking over your life. So the secret here is to set up smart, so you set yourself up for success.”
“Even when you do it and do it well, there will be difficulties and challenges. But if you get it right, the rewards will be enormous – for you, your family and the wider community.” Macarounas added.
Support is critical from the start
According to Macarounas, seeking the right people and systems you can trust from the beginning can help support you as you embark on your new and exciting journey to starting and leading a new medical practice.
“Support is absolutely critical when you’re starting out – from having the right doctors, business partners and practice managers, to the right referral systems,” Macarounas said.
Importantly, as part of this support structure, you’ll need to structure your business and invest in the right clinical management systems that offer scalable solutions and are agile enough to adapt to a growing medical practice.
“It’s all about having the foresight to see what makes your practice valuable from now and into the future,” Macarounas adds. “At the same time, you need to consider the right support systems that make you work smarter, not harder as your practice grows and becomes busier.”
For any business owner, a good mentorship and professional advisory support group is vital to researching and understanding the wider market demands of your medical practice – and how your practice fits within the wider health ecosystem.
“Whether you’re considering running a specialist practice, a general practice, or have a vision to scale, grow and sell medical practices, you’ll need to connect with people who have had the experience and foresight to guide your journey,” Macarounas said. “You want to have a clear picture of what works and what to avoid, and how to develop a practice that not only offers a transformative level of healthcare to your patients, but also meets the wider vision you have for your balanced work and life goals and career aspirations.”
Some great sources of advice include:
- Industry associations – Like the RACGP, which offers valuable advice for practitioners ready to start their own practice.
- Industry solution providers – Like MedicalDirector, who can offer you support and advice on how much you will need to implement the right IT infrastructure that will scale and grow with your practice.
- Business educators – Like The Private Practice, who run workshops around Australia on the business of setting up, running and marketing a practice.
- Government bodies – Often offer tax and other incentives to help new businesses.
- Financial institutions – Can offer tailored financial advice and guidance on how to best structure any loans.
To find out more, download our free ebook: ‘The Smart Guide to Starting a Medical Practice.’