By Matt Mettry, Director of Medical Professional Services
Brookwood Medical Center
If you’re involved in running a medical practice as a doctor, nurse or administrator, chances are that you know you need to think ahead. But do you know how important it is to be strategic about how you grow the practice?
There’s a lot of overhead when it comes to practicing medicine, and planning ahead will not only help your bottom line, but also help you provide high quality services to your patients.
You need to plan as far ahead as possible, which in most cases means 3-5 years. Look at the ages of your physicians and think about when they might retire. Succession planning is so important because it can take 12 months to 3 years to find physicians in certain specialties. The more time you have to interview candidates, find the right fit and get that new partner on board, the better.
Also think about whether or not aligning with a hospital is something you want to see in the practice’s future. Interests like autonomy, control, being part of a small organization and being your own boss are often reasons to start a private practice. Are you willing to give those up?
When you join forces with a hospital, you become part of a much bigger organization. You’ll still have control over the way you practice medicine, but there may be some changes, like requirements to use electronic health records and receiving input on hiring decisions.
Being a part of a hospital run medical practice will also introduce expectations of net revenue and volume. These are things you need to be comfortable with because it takes a lot of patient volume to have a really successful medical practice.
Whether aligning with a hospital is in your future or not, here are some action items you can take now to help grow your medical practice:
Introduce yourself to the community with speaking engagements and community education.
Consider opportunities to get involved in the community through business and civic clubs, church, social clubs, professional associations, chamber of commerce, rotary, etc.
Print welcome flyers and cards with name, photo, location, bio, availability and website.
Meet and greet other physician office staffs to create referral base.
Develop a list of targeted local schools and employers for introductions, screenings and events.
Create customized appointment cards, business cards, letterhead and envelopes.