How to Position Your Medical Practice to Avoid Being Gobbled Up
As hospitals consolidate and grow, they tend to gobble up independent, physician-owned medical practices. Doctors who once worked for themselves are now employed by large hospitals or hospital-owned facilities.
While some welcome the change, others view it as a loss of autonomy.
How then can you position your practice to remain independent?
Offer Quality Services
Your patients are the consumers of your services. Without patients, you will find yourself closing up your business or joining a hospital and losing your autonomy. Examine your own customer service. Review your patients’ experience before they enter your office for consultation. Everything about patients’ interactions — from the way their calls are handled to how they are treated during wait time – is critical. Make sure they are comfortable enough to want to visit your practice again.
Treat Your Practice as Your Business
Check your finances to ensure that the practice can financially sustain itself in an economic downturn. A lack of resources causes many doctors to jump ship and join a larger organization. Know that you must market your practice to ensure patient flow and stable income. Against a backdrop of financial and regulatory burdens, only a strong business can remain an independent one.
Partner with Fellow Medical Practitioners
Affiliating with doctors in your specialty provides a sense of confidence and security. This does not mean that you give up your independence. Partnering provides an opportunity to share access to technology and other resources. You will join colleagues in providing patient-focused seminars (a great marketing tool) or conducting research. These affiliations will give you a different perspective that may help you improve your practice.
Make sure you adhere to all the medical regulations set by relevant government and medical agencies. Update your certifications when required. If a hospital desperately wants you and finds out that you lack a license or certification, they may leverage this information against you.
Keep on top of the developments, issues and challenges facing independent medical practices as well as hospitals in your community. When you’re informed, you can position yourself as both a doctor and business owner.
Never Forget You’re Running a Business
For doctors who value autonomy, power and personal relationships with their patients, maintaining independence as a private medical practitioner is important. If you don’t want to join a hospital system as an employee, you must view your practice as a business and run it as one.