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Transitioning to Private Practice

As a Fellow considering moving to private practice, either your own or joining an existing practice, transitioning from the hospital system to becoming an independent consultant in private practice is an exciting step.

You’ve got the medical knowledge for the role, but what about starting a business?

This month’s article covers what you need to know about establishing your private practice consultancy business and common challenges you may face.

What you need to know

Once you have your letters from the college, deciding whether to establish a new private practice or join an existing one is the next step. The main difference is that starting your practice will be a substantial financial expense (office fit-out, lease, new staff, and so on).

Here are some things you need to factor in when starting a consultancy business:

  1. Location: Determine where you would like to work. If looking for commercial premises, take into account the lease, size of the room(s), accessibility, and local facilities.
  2. Licensing and credentialing: Validate the credentials of any applicants for roles in your practice and current/ valid medical licenses.
  3. Professional advisors: Engage a business coach, financial planner or accountant. Your practice would also include HR/Payroll, IT and systems consultant, and marketing.
  4. Payer contracting and pay models: Put in place agreements between your business and payer organisations.
  5. Insurance cover: The level of medical, public liability, iCare, and other insurance depends on whether it’s for you only or includes staff.
  6. Equipment and supplies: Office fit-out (desks, chairs, kitchen), computers, printers, software, office, admin and medical supplies.
  7. Staff: If hiring admin or medical staff, consider the skillset of the people who will form part of your private practice dream team and if they will be employees, contractors, or consultants.

Common challenges

Starting a business does come with challenges, and it’s important to be aware of these:

  1. Financial risk: Understanding your budget to invest in your business and how much you could potentially lose.
  2. Isolation: Starting a new practice on your own can affect your confidence. Make sure you have a coach and mentor to guide and support you.
  3. Career progression: Include the private practice role in your career plan and future aspirations resulting from this role.
  4. Competition: Research other private practices in the area. How many there are and how successful they appear to be. Think about what you can offer patients and staff that they don’t.
  5. Relationship building: You’ll have to start building relationships from scratch (as with any new role) to build trust with new patients, colleagues and staff.

If you’re passionate about starting your practice, engage the right people for a better chance of success.

If you prefer to start with less risk, joining an existing private practice will give you insights and learning on how to run your own in the future.

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter which option you choose – it’s entirely up to you and your situation. But I cannot stress enough how important it is to have the right support when you’re about to transition to private practice. You don’t have to do it on  your own.

There’s a lot of information to navigate, but starting a business is a serious venture. Knowledge and support are critical factors in making it work.

As a career coach and small business owner, Anita provides coaching to medical professionals who want to transition into private practice but don’t know where to start. If you or your team are interested in finding out more, book a free consultation.

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