Starting a specialist practice: 5 top tips
Congratulations! You’re starting a specialist practice. But do you really understand what it takes to build positive cash flow? Or develop the right infrastructure to protect sensitive patient data?
In this article, we take a look at five key considerations for setting up a profitable specialist practice, while enabling more personalised, patient-centric outcomes. You’ll find out more about:
- How knowledge of cash flow, tax and accounting can help you set up and maintain a sustainable, scalable practice.
- The importance of the right legal advice and insurance, just in case.
- Why attracting and retaining the right staff is key to when starting a specialist practice.
- Setting up and maintaining your listing on GP referral directories for visibility.
- How choosing the right IT infrastructure can help you seamlessly manage workflow and appointments, cash flow and protect sensitive patient information, while also future-proofing your practice.
Tips for starting a specialist practice:
Cash flow, tax and accounting
Starting a specialist practice can be exciting. However, without the right financial, tax and accounting advice, you might be setting yourself up for a tough road ahead. Costs associated with leasing the right premises, specialist equipment, IT infrastructure and staff can quickly add up. It’s wise to get some medical-specialist financial advice before you invest in your specialist practice.
This way, you can understand exactly how much you have – and how much you might need as finance to set up and maintain a practice that is sustainable – and scalable.
Legal, insurances and policies
Specialist practices are highly accountable, so it’s vital you take the time to understand all the legal implications of starting up your specialist practice. This goes hand in hand with getting the right medical indemnity insurances in place to protect you and your team.
Having legal counsel assist with drafting and implementing employment contracts and internal policy and procedural documents is a good idea. These may relate to patient data security, staff behaviour, equipment management, occupational health and safety and risk mitigation management.
Attracting and retaining the right talent
A great specialist practice delivering patient-centric care is run by passionate healthcare professionals dedicated to better health outcomes. When starting a specialist practice, make sure you take the time to attract and retain a positive, hard-working and accountable team to support you and amplify your vision for the practice.
Having a digitally savvy and patient-outcome oriented Practice Manager is vital to ensuring your practice runs efficiently, securely and seamlessly as your patient flow continues to grow.
Add your practice to GP referral directories
GP referral directories like HealthShare are comprehensive and include the details of every private practicing specialist in Australia. However, specialist practitioners shouldn’t assume that their information is automatically updated across all referral directories.
Integrated into MedicalDirector since 2014 and Helix in 2018, HealthShare’s Specialist Referrals Directory is accessible to more than 50% of GPs Australia-wide when referring patients to a specialist. It’s good practice for private practicing specialists in Australia to manually check their information, rather than relying on automatic updates across all referral directories. GPs legacy address books are not automatically updated. They also don’t allow specialists to differentiate their unique services or the reputation they have worked hard to build.
Business Unit Manager, Practitioner Solutions at HealthShare, Rhys Staley recommends specialists verify their details at least a few times a year. This is particularly important when you’ve changed your details when starting a specialist practice.
“It’s common for specialists to add new practice locations, upload patient ratings, update qualifications and add special interest areas. For this reason, we always advise them to verify their details with HealthShare,” he says.
Another benefit of verifying these details is that the reach for specialists extends beyond MedicalDirector GP software. The HealthShare directory is also available on HealthShare’s consumer platform, visited by over half a million patients and consumers per month, and in the Practitioner Directories of Australia’s leading private health insurers.
Future-proof your new practice with the right IT infrastructure
Starting your practice with a robust, innovative and secure IT infrastructure can help you seamlessly manage day-to-day workflow and appointments, cash flow and protect sensitive patient information.
Cloud-based specialist software solutions like MedicalDirector’s BlueChip, offer everything from complex invoicing to securing sensitive patient data. You can also reduce no-shows with Blue-Chip’s automated SMS reminders and alerts, keeping your patient booking flow more efficient. You can quickly view appointments and manage all your reporting using its automated reporting tools.
Importantly, having the right technology from the outset is essential to empower your specialist practice as it grows. The right, scalable solution can also help you achieve your vision for your practice and your patients in a sustainable and seamless way.
To find out more, download our free ebook: ‘The Smart Guide to Starting a Medical Practice.’
Over to you
Which tip did you find most useful? We always love your feedback. Please share this article with anyone you know who’s thinking about starting their own specialist practice.
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