Your complete guide to starting out in private practice
Altura Health – Your trusted health partner
Starting a private medical practice? At Altura Health, we understand the intricacies of running a thriving private practice. We have been powering Private Day Hospitals and Practices with innovative medical software for over 30 years and have become an award-winning leader in the industry. Supporting private practices, new and established is what we do and we are excited to support you too.
So, whether it is advice, registration with Medicare and the health funds, software needs, claiming assistance, or training, we are committed to helping you so that you are empowered to deliver better health outcomes for your patients.
Start with the business plan
Though medical organisations have more regulatory hurdles and hoops to jump through, like any other business, it all starts with the business plan. The business plan includes the type of practice that you will operate, your target market, mission, how you’re going to get there, a plan for profitability, marketing, procedures, and more. It is the high-level plan for the business and in many cases, will be needed by financial organisations to secure funding.
Legal, accreditation, and registration
During the creation of the business plan or shortly after you may wish to seek professional legal and financial counsel to ensure your plans are feasible, no legal blind spots have been overlooked, and that you can secure the funding required.
Consider your location
When it comes to selecting a location for your private practice, there are a number of factors to consider, such as:
- Your target market
- Vicinity to local GPs. This will help immensely with referrals and new business opportunities
- Vicinity to hospitals, aged care facilities, pathology and radiology labs
- Public transport availability
- Parking availability
- Local competitors
Whether your target market is young adults who are travelling to and from work and need readily available transportation or elderly patients who need nearby supporting healthcare facilities like pathology labs and hospitals, it pays to carefully consider the factors above. Your attention to these factors will dictate what premises may or may not be suitable and will prove helpful when discussing your needs with commercial real estate agents.
Building a network of GPs
One of the most important relationships to foster in private practice is a network of local GPs. This never ceases to be essential but is especially critical when you are starting out. Consider reaching out to local GPs and introducing yourself and your specialty. Try to build rapport and a symbiotic relationship where you not only refer patients to them as well but educate one another on your field. You may send out email newsletters and other communications to your network promoting your services and unique approach to patient care. Once you have the referral and see their patient, be sure to keep the GP in the loop by sending them a letter. This builds trust with the GP and allows them to deliver better care, which of course benefits the patient as well.
Practice Management software like FYDO, powered by Altura Health, allows you to easily and quickly create electronic letters from letter templates, saving you time. They are completely customisable and can be branded with your logo and other styling elements. The integration of mail merge tokens allows you to create dynamic letters in seconds, thanking the GP and keeping them informed. FYDO also allows you to run reports on your referrals, identifying your biggest sources of referrals, and by extension, revenue. This data is not only invaluable but also readily accessible and easy to read. Use it to send out thank you cards and gifts to your referral base during the holiday season.
Attracting staff with industry experience that are passionate about patient care is paramount to running a successful private practice. With that in mind, one of the first roles to hire for will be an experienced practice manager. This staff member will wear many hats in the organisation and carry out duties from administrative responsibilities to billing, and from dealing with Medicare and the health funds to looking after patients. Understandability, it can be daunting to hire an experienced full time practice manager when you are starting out.
So, another approach would be to outsource your Medical Billing to a reputable service provider like MYNT Medical Billing, powered by Altura Health. In the early days of your practice, getting consistent, reliable revenue will be vital to the longevity of your practice. Rejections, misbilling, unnecessary audits, and lengthy phone calls to Medicare and the health funds could jeopardise the financial health of the practice at a time when you can least afford it. In addition, outsourced medical billing can save you hours per week, allowing you to divert your time and energy to building other aspects of the business.
To learn more about outsourced medical billing, click here to read our 4 minute article and find out how it can maximise your revenue and buy you back time.
Integrating business technology
These days, no successful business can run without a dependable IT infrastructure. Key elements of your business hardware and software includes:
- Printers/ Scanners
- Patient Management Software
- Administrative software
It goes without saying that a robust Patient Management and Billing Software will be a core element of your practice. A quality Patient Management System (PMS) will allow you to manage your appointments, patient records, documents and letters, clinical notes, and billing. It will also help take your practice to the cloud and go paperless. This means you can access your practice anywhere, anytime on any device. No more lost documents, clutter and confusion.
An award-winning PMS vendor like Altura Health will help you with the paperwork to get registered with the health funds if needed and their onboarding specialists will assist you with onboarding. They will also train you and your staff and their Australian based support team is at the ready to assist with day-to-day support tickets.
Benefits of the cloud
What’s more is that their cloud solutions mean you can do away with outdated middleware and third party IT providers and enjoy the benefits like:
- Access to your practice and data anywhere, anytime, on any device
- Access on any operating system whether it’s Windows or Mac
- Automated routine backups
- External penetration testing and security audits to ensure security of your data
- Automated updates. Enjoy new features as they are rolled out without interruption
- Superior support
- Automated payment and exception report retrieval
- No installation necessary
- Managed hosting
- Access from multiple devices and locations by multiple users
Market your practice and launch!
When it comes to marketing, there are an unlimited number of actions you can take online and offline to promote your business. Begin by sending out newsletters to your professional contacts, participating in the community and networking with other healthcare professionals whether they are GPs or other specialists. Share your expertise and establish relationships with local GPs, as their referrals will drive most of your revenue.
Claiming and dealing with rejections
Will you hire in-house staff to take care of the billing and rejection handling or outsource it to a medical billing service provider? Click here to read our article to learn how outsourced medical billing can earn you more, while saving you and your administration staff hours per week!
Hopefully this guide has been helpful in giving you an idea of what to consider when starting out in private practice. We’d like to thank you for taking the time to review our guide and considering partnering with us for your Patient Management and Billing software needs.
If you’d like to learn more or have any queries, feel free to get in touch. We help new and established practices everyday and would love to be of service to you too.
The team at Altura Health