Setting Up a Medical Practice Checklist

Thinking about setting up a medical practice? It might seem like a huge task, but we’re here to shed some light on the process and help you get started! We’ve put together this 10 step checklist for setting up a medical practice. And while it’s not exhaustive, it will give you a clear idea of what steps you need to take next and provide a bit of insight on how to start a clinic business. Get started now with this setting up a medical practice checklist!

1. Demographic

If you’re starting a medical clinic from the ground up, the first thing you should be doing is working out who your demographic is. Your demographic is defined by their key features and will differ based on your area of expertise and the location your clinic will be in. If you’re a specialist, consider placing your clinic in an area in which a large portion of your demographic resides in.

For example, a children’s specialist will find more success in an area known for being popular with young families. Think about things that could affect the population of an area, such as housing prices, local facilities, schools and other aspects, and think about whether changes in the market long-term will support your clinic.

2. Start Your Own Clinic or Buy One

If you’ve decided on your demographic, you’ll now need to consider location, overhead costs and your long-term plan for the clinic. Part of this is deciding whether you’re going to build a brand new clinic or buy an existing one. While there are numerous advantages and disadvantages to both, the main aspect you’ll need to consider is whether your decision will support your style of practice.

While starting your own new practice will allow you greater freedom in terms of location and practice style, it can also be a lot more difficult to establish a new clinic. On the other hand, buying a clinic will give you access to existing customers, but you may have to work around the existing location and demographic, which can be difficult if it doesn’t align with your goals.

3. Location

When choosing the location for your clinic, as well as considering the previous aspects of demographic and new/existing clinics, you also need to think about the following factors:

  • Other medical practices in the area (competitors and complementary businesses)
  • Other Health Services
  • Pharmacies
  • Hospitals
  • Aged Care Services
  • Community Facilities
  • Transport Infrastructure
  • Pathology and Diagnostic Services
  • Any other key personal criteria

If you’re not going to be able to achieve the results you’re looking for in a certain location when it comes to these factors, avoid it and look elsewhere.

4. Design and Furnishing

If you’re buying a clinic it may come with existing furnishings or may need renovation. When building, you will need to look at hiring designers, builders and more to help create a space that is going to support your business. Things to consider include accessibility, parking space, lighting, space required for chairs, storage areas, administration areas, and the overall design of the clinic. Talking to several experts before building anything can help you avoid potential problems and refine your plans. Remember to plan for the future, as your clinic will grow with time. Failing to plan ahead and outgrowing your space can cause major problems down the line.

5. Acquiring Clinical and Medical Equipment

If you’re just starting out, there’s a long list of things you’ll need to get started. Don’t think that it’s going to cost you the world though. A number of these items you can get for cheaper by reaching out to overstocked hospitals and retiring doctors. This will help keep overheads low and save you money for improving your clinic in other areas. Standard items you will need include:

  • Clinic Equipment: Stethoscopes, Exam tables, otoscopes, blood pressure monitors and other monitors
  • Office Equipment: Computers, printers, network equipment, phones and payment machines
  • Supplies: General medicine, disinfectant, anaesthetic, gloves, scalpels, syringes, gauze, bandages etc.
  • Network Services: Phone networks, internet, utilities
  • Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999
  • Clothing: Lab coats, uniforms, name tags
  • Furniture: Tables, chairs and décor

6. Technology and Networks

If you’re serious about managing a clinic, you’ll need some kind of clinic and client management system in place, as well as a network your doctors can rely on to store data, make appointments and more. While you can set one up yourself, it’s far less time consuming to hire a business to set up and manage your network and systems for you.

With a medical IT support specialist, you should get professional set-up of your network systems and clinic management software, as well as monitoring of these to ensure they’re running correctly at all times. Good medical IT support services even offer cloud computing and 24-hour support, helping you keep data backed up, secure and accessible, maintain relationships with your customers and ensure appointments can be managed from anywhere at any time.

7. Staff and Team Members

Hiring the right staff is crucial to running a good medical practice. Your staff need to have the right mix of skills, knowledge and competency, as they will have a large influence on the quality of service, as well as costs and overall performance. Think about the primary care services you will deliver, and every task that is performed to deliver the services. From there, map out the people you will need to hire.

For example, most clinics will need general practitioners, nurses, receptionists, an account manager, payroll officer, bookkeeper, business manager, practice manager, IT consultant and any specialised staff. While your clinic won’t need all of these, it’s important to work out exactly who you need to hire.

8. Additional Requirements

  • Insurance
    • Insurance is important for managing risks and can help your clinic run smoother overall. Medical indemnity insurance and workers compensation insurance are required by law, while all other kinds of insurance are useful to have regardless of your operations. It’s important to work out what kinds of insurance you will need before starting your clinic.
  • Accreditation
    • While GP accreditation is voluntary in Australia, it is essential for accessing government funding.
  • Registration
    • Medical practitioners and nurses need to be registered with AHPRA to work. Medical practitioners also need to undergo a criminal history check.

9. Pricing and Billing

You will need to decide on a pricing strategy when starting your clinic. This involves balancing pricing around the demand for your service and your capacity to provide said services. Consider pricing your services based on how others in the area pricing theirs, and your demographic’s expectations for pricing.

When it comes to billing, most practices use a combination of private billing and bulk billing. There are several things to consider under each of these banners, such as Medicare, concession, and special groups of patients, and other requirements for billing. Depending on the type of clinic you may lean more towards one billing type or the other, so ensure you know the details before deciding on payment schemes.

Finally, having a plan to manage money in and out is essential. Consider business expenses, money in and banking under this banner.

 

10. Promotion

Whether you’re starting fresh or buying a clinic, advertising and promotion will be key in growing your practice. Focus on networking with other practitioners in the area, or even developing an online presence to build relationships with new and existing clients. Another good way to promote your clinic is to get involved with the local community, establishing personal connections with patients and your demographic. When it comes to promotion, the options are limitless. You’ve just got to put yourself out there.

 

Where To Now?

From here it’s time to start planning! Hopefully, this setting up a medical practice checklist has given you the start you need to begin the creation of your medical practice. If you’re looking for more information, the RACGP has a fantastic resource that will give you an in-depth view of everything you’ll need to set up a medical practice. You can find it here. If you have any questions, call the team at GP Support. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. We’re Medical IT specialists, and can help you get your clinic up and running from the start. If you’re after a team you can trust and need help starting a medical clinic from the ground up, contact GPSupport today.

 

Contact us today to discuss our Setting Up a Medical Practice Checklist and get hands-on, practical IT support for your medical clinic.

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