As they say, it is easy to start a business but it is another ball game to keep it running profitably. In the case of a medical practice, it is a business operation that needs to stay healthy, financially speaking, in order to survive and grow. This post is for medical professionals looking to start and run their own practice with the help of medical practice loan and physician loans.
Find a balance
One cannot be faulted for being ambitious. As a doctor about to start a small clinic or hospital you will be tempted to go in for medical practice loan and medical equipment loan and be in a position to offer the best all inclusive services. Wait and stop a minute. Getting started down this path is not difficult. Running it is. Consider that loans always have a regular repayment schedule and a fixed amount to be paid. Calculate the possible income during the lean months and find if earnings will be sufficient to cover the installment as well as other liabilities for the month. Stumped? It is better to employ a chartered accountant or a financial consultant right from the start and, more importantly, retain them as your practice runs. You get more than accounting services—they help you plan and manage financial implications such as taxes and also give you reports on your state of financial health.
Employing the right people and technologies
There was a time when doctors used to have a small clinic with a room or two to accommodate patients and bare minimum staff. This model still works for many well established doctors offering services at affordable rates. However, your practice is also a business operation that should be run professionally in order to generate enough profits to keep you in the black. Keeping in mind that you have started out with medical equipment loan and physician loan you will need to project a professional image to patients and the public at large. This means you employ fewer but well-qualified people such as a qualified doctor as an assistant, and qualified nurses to give the right care. You also cannot ignore technologies: that would be a big mistake. It is imperative to set up and operate electronic health records and have software integration you can use on desktops in the clinic and on mobiles. You could opt for custom software or make use of standard apps but use them you must to give good quality services and stay on top.
Not giving proper care to patients
Growth of a medical practice does not happen overnight. It takes time to draw in patients and patients are influenced by the quality of care they receive. Satisfied and happy patients will recommend others to visit your clinic. Put your patients at the focus and do not consider them as a source of money to be milked for all that they are worth. You may treat fewer patients but do listen to each, consider ways to reduce financial impact of treatment and persistently follow up through WhatsApp or other means of appointment reminders. People like doctors who care for them.
One can fall into a routine pretty quickly. You go to your clinic, treat patients and that is that. Stagnation can actually negatively impact your future growth. Avoid it. Consider ways to be proactive. This is a business. Businesses need promotions. Can you offer some such as free checkups on specified days or free treatment to the needy or a seminar for diabetics or for heart patients? These activities may not directly translate to revenues but the long term impact is an enhancement of your reputation. Talking about stagnation, there are tremendous advances in the field of medicine. It helps to stay on top of current techniques and try to incorporate latest developments into your practice. Another aspect that the word stagnation will touch upon is your medical equipment. These equipment are expensive and need to be maintained to ensure they are always working. Do not skip on paying annual maintenance and service charges – employ the services of the original supplier or an experienced person.
Doctors can go to their clinics, treat patients and leave most of the backend operations to their staff. It is good to delegate responsibilities since doing so would leave you free to focus on the core activity of treating patients. However, delegation can also lead to laxity. Therefore, do not make the mistake of trusting others too much. Designate a day to check your clinic for all aspects such as for instance hygiene and sanitation, stock of medical supplies and how the inventory is managed, checking prices and finding better suppliers and checking growth of competitors in your neighborhood.
If you are operating a clinic entirely with your own funds you could afford to be a bit lax and let things just slide along. However, if you have taken a medical equipment loan or physician loans you will need to run your clinic both as a doctor and as a businessman.
Profits are vital and, apart from treating your patients, it pays to spare time to look at the financial side of your operations. Ignoring it is a mistake and could lead to a critical situation.