In 2022 alone, 83.4% of adults visited with a doctor or other healthcare professional and 93.9% percent of children did . If those seem like impressive statistics, what do you make of the fact that there were 1 billion office visits? Safe to say, office-based practice is in high demand. As said demand increases, professionals expand their businesses and more and more health professionals set up their office-based practices as well.
Setting up and running an office is an all-encompassing endeavor, since your medical prowess is not the only thing that the success of your practice will depend on. When you start your own practice, you become an entrepreneur, and as such, time comes to take multiple aspects into consideration. Read along to navigate them and prevail in a competitive and complex business.
Getting Started with Your Office-Based Practice
Running an office-based practice is essentially running a business. Unfortunately, you don’t learn the business side of the industry in medical school or during the residency. What you do learn is what you need to become a great physician, but get no formal business training. Fortunately, learning is at the core of health professionals. You have studied a lot to get where you are, so have amazing learning skills. On the other hand, though, sometimes learning and getting good at the business side still isn’t enough. Why is this? Because the administrative side of setting up your office-based practice and running it is incredibly time-consuming.
And that’s not all, once the practice is in motion, it’s time to get the word out and get patients.
Here’s a breakdown of the multiple aspects health professionals need to include in their big picture when getting started with their office-based practice:
Writing a Business Plan & Getting Funding
A good way to get some help with this is to use a web-based service. In some cases, you type in the information about all your expenses and it generates a business plan with graphs that you can submit to banks. A few websites that can help with your business plan are the Small Business Association, Score and Smartsheet.
The second phase is finding capital, as in getting a loan from the bank. Usually at your stage in the game, when you’re a young physician, you’re paying off loans, you have a mortgage to pay and usually don’t have a big amount of money set aside. The amount of money that someone needs really varies from specialty to specialty, but it covers medical equipment. Once you have your business plan ready, you can submit it to a bank.
Coding & Billing
As you set up your office-based practice, you might find coding challenging. AAPC defines coding as
“(…) The transformation of healthcare diagnosis, procedures, medical services, and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric codes. The diagnoses and procedure codes are taken from medical record documentation, such as transcription of physician’s notes, laboratory and radiologic results, etc. Medical coding professionals help ensure the codes are applied correctly during the medical billing process, which includes abstracting the information from documentation, assigning the appropriate codes, and creating a claim to be paid by insurance carriers.”
With more than 10 different types of codes used, and alphanumeric code sets that surpass the hundred thousands, healthcare providers need special training to keep up. A mistake in coding can lead to a mistake in billing, which will indefectibly hurt your office-based practice. Fortunately, there are healthcare experts who take on this responsibility for you. Services like Peregrine’s are there to help providers who have set up office-based practices so as to ensure they can focus on what truly matters and leave the administrative tasks in the hands of professionals.
Electronic Health Records
As you receive more and more patients, you will largely benefit from an EHR system that centralizes and tracks each and every one of them. EHR adoption has more than doubled since 2008, as per healthIT.gov. This is because EHRs provide accurate, up-to-date and complete information. Also, they enable secure information sharing with patients and other physicians as it enhances privacy and security. Organizing health records into a smart system offers in turn a better life-balance for physicians. However, it can be challenging to set them up and spread adoption among the staff. A healthcare consulting firm can do this for you and leave your practice in tip-top shape.
Marketing & Social Media
Speaking of what you don’t learn in medical school! Now, some physicians were born to be in front of the camera and create content; but that’s not the case for everybody. Regardless, patients are unquestionably the core of your office-based practice and you will need to attract them in more ways than one (word-of-mouth). Marketing options for physicians are endless, so at the time of starting out in your practice, you might want to look into them and select your marketing partner taking the following into consideration:
- Do they have experience or a background in healthcare?
- What level of digital experience do they have?
- Are they ROI driven?
- How do their values align with mine?
- Are our goals aligned?
Once you are able to answer these questions in a way that satisfies your needs, it’s time to get ready to receive more and more patients!
Boosting your Office-Based Practice
At Peregrine Healthcare, we can help your office-based practice by using stakeholder feedback and web reporting data visualization tools. This way, you can look at your practice and constantly improve patient satisfaction. We are a healthcare consulting firm whose focus is to provide efficiency solutions for health practitioners. Our team of healthcare experts knows the value of time and we work together to produce positive outcomes, aid growth and drive patient satisfaction.
Contact us for more information about what we can do for you and how we can tailor our services to your needs.
 National Center for Health Statistics. Percentage of having a doctor visit for any reason in the past 12 months for adults aged 18 and over, United States, 2019—2022. National Health Interview Survey. Generated interactively: Sep 19 2023 from https://wwwn.cdc.gov/NHISDataQueryTool/SHS_adult/index.html