Expanding into private practice is a pivotal point in any medical professional’s career. It often marks the beginning of an exciting new venture, full of challenges and experiences, with the potential to be extremely gratifying. In fact, thousands of doctors in the UK are considering leaving the NHS and moving into other areas - including private practice!
However, after dedicating so much time to becoming a doctor and expertly learning your craft of caring for patients, it’s easy to forget that moving into private practice is essentially about becoming a businessperson.
There is much to consider when setting up a private practice - from administration support and GDPR to medical malpractice insurance and reputation. Even once you’ve got the whole framework in place, specialists are often left wondering how best to build value in their practice.
To achieve short and long-term financial gain - and let’s not forget professional and personal fulfilment – there are four key areas you should focus on to help you achieve success:
- Administration and billing practices
- Data analysis and medical malpractice insurance
- Reputation, Compliance and GDPR
Let’s break down each area a little more and get a thorough understanding of how you can scale and increase the value of your business. Whether you’re brand new to the private sector or already have an established practice, these tips will help you grow your business.
The importance of a strong medical administrative team
For many flourishing private practices, the administration team is often at the heart of the business. Employing a cohesive admin team with the right skills and expertise will provide you with a solid platform to breed success and in turn allow you to focus on the most important job of all - caring for your patients.
First and foremost, having strong secretarial support is key. Not only will they be dealing with your day-to-day bookings, transcription, and general maintenance of medical records, they are front of house and the ‘face’ of your business. As the first point of call for your patients, having your secretarial team can have a huge impact on your reputation and how your patients view you and your practice.
Similarly, employing the right team to manage your billing and collections is vital. While it’s easy to assume that your secretary can just do it for you, it’s important to understand that billing encompasses a vast array of activities which can have an acute impact on a practice’s ability to grow. So, it’s vital that you have the right expertise in place to ensure you get it right and ultimately help you optimise your income. There are three ways you can increase your income through great billing practice:
- Charging competitively: ensure your fees are competitive in comparison with peers of similar specialities and geographies without pricing yourself out of the market
- Insurer contract and fee negotiation: maintain healthy relationships with all insurers. Ensure you are charging appropriately in line with each contract whilst negotiating the best possible rates
- Effective billing processes: it may seem obvious but prompt and accurate billing is more important than ever. Use proper tools like Healthcode to help support efficient billing practices, and be sure to keep on top of your debt management – it’s vital to maintain healthy income and cashflow.
Make use of your practice data
Like many industries nowadays, data is key to helping you scale your practice. And as your private practice grows, more data will be produced.
Developing tools, such as dashboards, to analyse your data can be a crucial way to promote growth and add value to a practice. Studying patient activity, for example, is a useful way to understand trends within your practice. Monitoring this performance can be beneficial in recognising which treatments are most lucrative or where improvements can be made in order to expand business.
Not only can data be used to boost patient numbers and aid practice growth, it can also be used to secure discounted premiums. The use of specific CCSD coding activity and granular billing data can be used to secure discounted medical indemnity premiums. For instance, for clients using Bill Medical, they can access huge discounts of up to 30% with Lockton Health thanks to the billing data we provide for their practice.
Build a strong and compliant reputation
In all walks of like, reputation is vital to success - and this couldn’t be more poignant than in healthcare. Patient reviews have the power to make or break a clinic or physician’s reputation and have a dramatic impact on income and future growth potential.
A natural route to building a reputable practice is by collecting and publishing patient feedback. These reviews can determine your future opportunities and ultimately, add scale and value to your private practice. In fact, statistics from the 2021 Womply Article show that if a business has more than nine current reviews, they will earn 52% more revenue.
Similarly, if a business has more than 25 current reviews, their revenue increases to 108%! Check out our dedicated patient review blog for more information on how to make better use of patient feedback.
Here’s what our partners at Doctify.com had to say:
“Patients are actively searching for reviews to help in their decision-making process. Reviews build trust, eliminates any doubt, and helps patients evaluate if your service is right for them or not. By simply showcasing independently verified reviews along the patient journey can increase the chances of a patient booking an appointment.”
Reputation is also built on trust, and nothing promotes trust better than protecting the privacy of your patients. It is fundamental that all specialists in private practice ensure they are GDPR compliant to protect the legitimacy and integrity of their business.
Encrypting emails, storing patient data correctly and implementing appropriate security arrangements are just a drop in the ocean in order to remain compliant. Employing the right team to implement the correct processes is vital to the lifespan of your business and can help you avoid significant financial penalties.
Find Partnerships to help you scale your practice
Developing scale can be challenging for any practitioner, whether new or established in private practice. You became a doctor after all, not a salesman. So why undertake the challenge alone?
Partnering with other like-minded specialists is an organic way to grow your client base and establish a powerful brand. Structures of group practices are limitless; however, a developing a clear vision and shared goals will determine exactly how your group practice is formed and how it operates.
It can also be beneficial to look to partner with other organisations within the ‘healthcare ecosystem’ such as practice management systems, patient review sites and administrative providers – all of which have the ability to boost your operational efficiencies and aid scale and add value.
Grow your private medical practice and increase your income
Working in private practice is truly an exciting venture and can be really fulfilling as a medical professional. By getting your business basics right and having the best support in place, you can build a successful and profitable practice in next to no time.
Even something as simple as having a billing and debt management partner can be the key to increasing your revenue and scaling growth. In fact, we helped leading multi-doctor clinic Castle Orthopaedics do just that. In just six months of working together we helped them reduce their aged debt by 78% and increase their income and patient numbers by 42% - check out our short case study right here.
If you’re looking to move into private practice or would like to scale your existing practice, feel free to get in touch to find out how we can help you do just do that.