6 Common Pitfalls in New Practice Start-Up

Starting a new medical practice is an exciting time but it also comes with many new challenges. Doing it right from the beginning will help you to avoid unnecessary stress and expense. Avoid these six common pitfalls and get your new medical practice started on the right foot.

By Adria Schmedthorst | Kareo


Pitfall #1 – “I don’t need any help.”

This type of thinking is very common in physicians starting a new practice. After all, it takes an independent mind-set to decide to open your own business. So, while understandable, choosing to go it on your own is a big mistake. At minimum, you need a tax advisor, legal advisor, and a practice start-up expert to guide you through the process of starting your own practice. Refusing help now will cost you later.

Pitfall #2 – Credentialing Woes

Waiting too long to start your payer credentialing process will result in lost revenue. There are many steps in the credentialing process that are out of your control. Paperwork backlogs and unexpected waits could result in you opening your doors without credentialing in place and providing services for which you may not be reimbursed.

Pitfall #3 – Change Orders

When you begin the process of finish out of your office space, make sure your construction plans are right the first time. Whether you are only making minor changes or starting with new construction, it is important to get out the tape measure and masking tape, lay out rooms, and decide if it works for you. Alterations to construction plans after the work begins are known as change orders and you will pay for the change plus a 15-25% fee.

Pitfall #4 – “This is the way we have always done it.”

Being set in your ways is a sure way to limit the success of your practice. Be open to new ideas from your staff members, and ask your staff to be open to them as well. New ideas feed practice growth.

Pitfall #5 – Over/Under Staffing

When starting your practice, it is critical to get your staffing needs right. Under staffing will cause your patient flow, customer service, and revenue to suffer. At the same time, hiring too many staff members will leave you paying higher employee costs at time when you should be careful with every expense. Instead, run a lean, cross-trained team for practice success. As a rule of thumb, a single physician practice seeing 20-30 patients per day should run smoothly with 3-4 team members.

Pitfall #6 – Failing to Market

Failing to market is planning to fail. From your website and social media to press announcements and community events, do not neglect your marketing. Be present in your community and make a genuine grass-roots effort to encourage patients to see you as a resource.

As you make the journey to independent physician and practice owner, you will encounter many pitfalls along the way. By preparing for them in advance, you will ensure the success of your practice and make opening your new practice a much more enjoyable experience.


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