Thinking about setting up a medical practice? Congratulations! Establishing a successful healthcare business can be highly rewarding, although it’s fair to say the process is also complex. It’s not unusual to encounter roadblocks and pitfalls if you’re unfamiliar with the terrain.
At GPsupport, we provide best-in-class IT solutions specifically for Australian healthcare providers, but our expertise doesn’t end there. Our team can help guide you through the process of setting up a new clinic – from construction, to fit-out, registering with Medicare, and ultimately welcoming your first patients through the door.
We pride ourselves on understanding the common pain points associated with opening a new medical practice, and can help you avoid these hurdles by acting as your end-to-end Project Manager. GPsupport is happy to engage with you from Day 1, before leases are signed or a premise has even been secured. We take our role in supporting Australian healthcare providers seriously, and we’re pleased to liaise with you to ensure your clinic’s success.
We’ve compiled the following checklist to help get your journey towards a new clinic started:
1. Evaluate your target market
If you’re establishing a brand new medical practice, the first step is to consider your target market. A ‘target market’ refers to a specific segment of the population that’s most likely to attend your practice, based on demographic factors such as age, gender, location, income, occupation and so forth. Psychographic factors may also be useful to consider, including your target market’s typical values, aspirations, interests and lifestyle choices.
The needs of your target market may differ based on the location of your proposed clinic. For example, a children’s specialist will find more success in an area that’s populated with young families. In this instance, it would be advisable to organise and decorate your clinic to provide the best possible experience for kids and their parents. Ultimately, your target market is strongly related to your pricing model, so it pays to get this right.
2. Consider your location
Speaking of location, it’s worthwhile researching other medical practices surrounding your proposed clinic. You’ll need to understand who your local competitors are, and should also take stock of any complementary healthcare businesses in the area. For example, pharmacies, hospitals, aged care services, pathology or diagnostic labs may all make it easier for you to establish a successful and well-connected medical practice.
In addition, you should consider the practical aspects of your prefered location. Is on-site parking available? Is public transport readily accessible? Are there any community factors that could impact your target market long-term – such housing prices, local infrastructure and so forth. If you’re not going to be able to achieve the results you’re looking for in a certain location, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere.
A note on securing finance:
At GPsupport, we work closely with the team at MedFin, the Australian specialist financier for healthcare professionals. MedFin is part of the NAB group, and we maintain close industry relationships with their lending team. Contact us to find out more.
3. Begin design and construction
Once you’ve secured your ideal location, you should pay careful attention to the design and construction phase. A medical clinic has unique needs that makes it different to a regular office fit-out. At GPsupport, we recommend including adequate space for data points, physical on-site servers, administrative areas, medical storage facilities, and related features that will enable your business to operate effectively.
Our team can liaise directly with your builder, to ensure that your clinical practice is set-up for long term growth. We know that working with experienced experts before even beginning your build will help you to avoid future roadblocks, and will save time and money in the long run. Setting up a new medical practice is something that our team does every single day – so you can trust our experience and knowledge to help make the design and construction process seamless and stress-fress.
A note on your clinical fit-out:
GPsupport maintains a close working relationship with the team at Perfect Practice. The design consultants at Perfect Practice specialise in building, renovating and refurbishing custom spaces for Australian healthcare providers. We’d be pleased to put you in touch, to collaborate on the successful launch of your clinic!
4. Acquire medical supplies
It goes without saying that your medical practice needs to have an adequate supply of equipment and consumables on-hand. We suggest acquiring equipment from overstocked hospitals or retiring doctors to help keep overheads low. This will enable you to invest more money into other areas of your business. Standard medical supplies you will need include:
- Clinical equipment: Stethoscopes, exam tables, otoscopes, blood pressure monitors, and other diagnostic systems.
- Medical consumables: General medicine, disinfectant, anaesthetic, gloves, scalpels, syringes, gauze, bandages, etc.
- Office staples: Papers, pens, prescription pads, filing systems, etc.
- Corporate uniform: Lab coats, uniforms, name tags, etc.
5. Integrate business technology
No successful medical practice can function without IT. Whether it’s phone systems, PCs, internet connections or billing software, IT is the backbone of any modern healthcare business. GPsupport can take care of your entire technology infrastructure so that you can focus on other areas of your business. The key business technology you will need includes:
Core Network Infrastructure
- Clinical management software,
- Business administration software.
GPsupport can design and deliver tailored IT solutions for your business, and we also have a back-end relationship with many key clinical vendors. This allows you to avoid lengthy negotiations with multiple vendors, and offers a pain-free experience as the opening day for your clinic approaches.
Working with an IT provider that specialises in the healthcare sector means that you will have complete peace of mind knowing that your business data is secured, compliant and accreditation-ready. Find out more about our cloud-based clinical solutions here.
A note on Medicare billing:
Registering with Medicare can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. The good news is that GPsupport has a thorough understanding of Medicare billing requirements, and we can walk you through step-by-step. For more information, speak to our expert team today.
6. Check accreditation, registrations & legal obligations
Speaking of accreditation, don’t forget to ascertain which accreditation requirements apply to your healthcare practice. Whilst GP accreditation is voluntary in Australia, it is essential for accessing government funding. In addition, medical practitioners need to be registered with AHPRA to work in Australia, and should undergo a criminal history check.
Finally, be sure to register for insurance that suits your needs. Insurance is an important safeguard against risks to your business, and items such as medical indemnity insurance and workers compensation insurance are required by law.
A note on accreditation:
Did you know that Australia has specific regulations that govern the way your patient data can be stored, accessed and distributed? To find out more about how your business data impacts your practice’s accreditation, speak with our team today.
7. Recruit your team members
Hiring team members is an exciting step towards opening your new clinic! The right staff are critical to the success of your medical practice, and they should have the proper skills, knowledge and qualifications for their role.
Think about the primary care services you will deliver, and every task that is performed to deliver those services. From there, map out the people you will need to hire. You may wish to speak with a human resources consultant for further guidance and advice.
In most instances, clinics will need general practitioners, nurses, receptionists, an account manager, payroll officer, bookkeeper, business manager, practice manager, IT consultant and any specialised staff.
A note on recruiting an IT expert :
One of the advantages of collaborating with GPsupport is that you may not need to hire in-house IT experts. In fact, our team can act as your primary point of contact and action for all your business technology needs. For more details, speak with our dedicated team now.
8. Promote your clinic and open the doors!
Promoting your clinic is an important part of growing your patient base. Focus on networking with other practitioners in the area, or even developing an online presence to build relationships with new and existing patients. Another good way to promote your clinic is to get involved with the local community – establishing personal connections with your target market.
When it comes to promotion, the options are limitless. Understanding where your potential patients spend their time and reaching them through relevant channels is crucial to the success of your medical practice.
A note in promoting your clinic:
If you’re not sure where to start in terms of marketing and promoting your clinic, speak with GPsupport. We can recommend strategic partners who may be able to help strengthen and grow your business’ profile.
Hopefully this checklist has given you a sound idea of how to get started towards opening your medical practice. If you need more in-depth information, the RACGP also offers a brilliant General Practice Toolkit that may help you further.
At GPsupport, we open new clinics every day. It’s what we do, and ‘support’ is in our name. We’re able to provide tailored recommendations for all the building blocks needed to shape your medical practice. Make an enquiry or speak directly with our expert team today.