How to Start a Medical Practice – it’s a business, too!

employee at desk learning how to start a medical practice

How to start a medical practice . . . . When I was being interviewed for an article about billing and accounts receivable recently for Dermatology World magazine, I was reminded about how starting a medical practice means actually starting a small business, too.


How to start a medical practice (or grow an existing one) is challenging

Medical practices are ultimately successful based on the patient care the physician provides.  But remembering that starting a medical practice is starting a small business, too, can go a long way toward supporting that success.  It can increase your rewards, both financially and professionally.  This can keep you excited about your practice, despite long hours and many challenges.

All small businesses must deal with a wide range of issues:

  • Selecting a legal structure, such as a corporation, partnership or limited liability company.
  • Applying for a Business License, which usually requires posting notices in local newspapers, and may require a fictitious business name.
  • Obtaining a federal tax identification number and state employer identification number.
  • Opening bank accounts and setting up financial records, or outsourcing bookkeeping/accounting services.
  • Hiring staff and making arrangements for payroll and benefits.
  • Obtaining general liability, property, worker’s compensation and business interruption insurance.
  • Establishing a website and developing an online presence.


Starting a medical practice as a small business requires several additional tasks

Physicians researching how to start a medical practice have several more things to consider:

  • Deciding on the range of clinical services to offer, and how those decisions affect equipment, supplies, staff and space.
  • Applying for a National Provider Identifier (NPI), and applying to participate in Medicare or Medicaid programs.
  • Obtaining professional liability (malpractice) insurance.
  • Applying to health plans and insurance companies to become a participating provider, and negotiating agreements.
  • Developing policies and procedures for clinical and administrative tasks/activities.
  • Selecting a practice management and electronic health record system.
  • Setting a fee schedule that is competitive in the local area, especially if you will see a significant number of cash patients.


How to start a medical practice must be followed by how to monitor your  small business

After you clear all the hurdles of starting your medical practice as a small business, don’t forget to keep up with the management!  Our free monthly newsletter may assist you in keeping up to date on need-to-know subjects.  Some examples of what to monitor to sustain performance:

  • Appraising the quality of clinical services and customer services.
  • Tracking physician productivity.
  • Monitoring cash flow and profitability.
  • Evaluating billing, accounts receivable and collections.
  • Assessing the performance of staff.
  • Analyzing the results of your online presence.
  • Monitor compliance and HIPAA related requirements.

Starting a medical practice as a small business from the ground up can seem like a daunting task.  To get help, download a copy of our list of Healthcare Start-up Issues.  It’s a more comprehensive list of issues to consider when thinking about how to start a medical practice as a small business!

When you need proven expertise and performance

Jim Hook, MPH

Mr. James D. Hook has over 30 years of healthcare executive management and consulting experience in medical groups, hospitals, IPA’s, MSO’s, and other healthcare organizations.

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