Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Private Practice
Starting a private practice is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. However, it's not without hardship or challenge. Everybody makes mistakes, and for many, that is how they learn and grow in the profession. However, there are some mistakes that come with creating a private practice that can help you avoid undue stress and complication. If you're on the lookout for these possible missteps, then you are much more likely to work through them quickly and effectively or even avoid them altogether.
Let's take a look at some of the most common mistakes people make when creating their own practice.
Not Making Sure You're a Good Fit
First and foremost, it's important to make sure that the physician is the right fit for private practice. Some providers are simply better in a hospital or clinic setting. There is a certain mindset and personality that does best for this type of setup, and you have to be willing to explore the possibility that private practice may not be the right direction for you. Before you begin this journey, take inventory of your personality, goals, and experience to ensure that this is the right fit for you.
Failing to Build Communication Skills
Private practice is an exceptional blend of clinical and intrapersonal skills. Some people are natural leaders and communicators, and other people must learn these skills. You must work on your ability to establish quality communication in order to attract staff and patients alike. If you don't naturally have these skills, it doesn't meant that you can’t develop them. Consider books, podcasts, or other learning materials that can help you build the communication style to suit the needs of your practice.
Not Creating a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan not only gives people an idea of who you are and what you're offering, but it goes a step toward differentiating you from the competition. Consider your demographic and the best way to connect with them. For example, if your practice primarily works with elderly patients, then it may make more sense to connect with them via mail or phone rather than through social media or advanced technology. While you are creating a quality marketing plan message, make sure that you also focus on the best way to get that message to the patient. When you work in private practice, you'll quickly see that it relies heavily on having an entrepreneurial mindset and the ability to wear different hats at once. If marketing is not your strong point, consider hiring a professional who can help.
Avoiding Investing in Yourself and Your Practice
Not every investment you make today will be reaped tomorrow. Some investments are long-term such as equipment, furniture, and décor. These things all help your practice function and create the atmosphere that you want your patients to experience. While it may seem like a lot of money to pay now, these are the things that give your practice a professional feeling that keeps people coming back through your doors.
Beyond professional investment, you must connect value to personal investment. This may look a little different for everybody. Consider what you need to look and feel your best. For some people, it may mean a new wardrobe, more advanced equipment, or even prioritizing your time off so that you can better function when you're working.
Not Establishing Policies
It may be tempting to let policies come together as they are needed. However, it's important to establish policies for your practice for both staffing and patient needs. You need to have policies that focus on onboarding new staff members, billing, cancellation, and the type of treatments that you offer. Putting these policies in place now will make your life easier in the future. It helps to streamline the process so you can better serve your patients.
Failing to Focus on Patient Satisfaction
Patient satisfaction goes beyond what happens in your office. People are more likely to post a review if they have a negative experience. Bad reviews last a lifetime, and they could influence whether or not someone else decides to come to you. Make sure that you're putting a lot of emphasis and effort into ensuring patient satisfaction. Connect with your patients, get to know them, and make sure when they leave your office that they are satisfied with the information that you gave them.
Negative reviews have a lasting impact, but if you do receive one, it's important that you handle it properly. Always respond to a negative review with validation and professionalism. Your response will give others an idea of how you handle stress, pressure, and negativity.
Inability to be Flexible
No matter how much you plan, you must accept that the best-laid plans still require some fixability. Consider areas that you could be more flexible without sacrificing your values. Perhaps you could be more lenient in how you handle new staff mistakes or how you work with a difficult patient. In areas that allow you to work better with people and overcome obstacles will only go toward improving your chances of success. Doing these things can help you engage with patients and staff in a more meaningful way and inadvertently put you ahead of the competition.
Finding the Right System and Partner
As your practice grows, you’ll need to make sure that you streamline your processes. Healthcare practices have unique needs that go beyond most businesses. For this reason, finding a system that is tailored for the healthcare field is critical. At Glenwood Systems, we work with our clients to make sure that your PMS (Practice Management System), RCM (Revenue Cycle Management), and EHR (Electronic Health Records) are all suited to your organization’s unique needs. Our systems can help streamline and organize practices so you can focus on what’s important – your patients.
Mistakes are Unavoidable
You'll make mistakes. Everybody does. However, learning from those mistakes will decide how successful you are in private practice and throughout your career. It's important to put in the groundwork so that you can avoid as many challenges as possible and pivot when you need to make necessary changes. Flexibility, room for growth, and streamlining processes help you avoid these common issues.