Money Matters Investment & Finance Getting your practice started
Getting your practice started
Friday, 01 December 2006
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dollarsign_TN.jpgStudies have shown that young doctors are not interested in being shackled to the management side of their practice, preferring practice managers to take the reins. However, most doctors of all ages like to understand the workings of their business, even if they are not 'hands on' with the day-to-day operations. The Australian Association of Practice Managers (AAPM), RACGP, and Divisions (among others) offer courses and advice on business management specifically catering for doctors. For medicos willing to wade in and take on practice management responsibilities, you may find satisfaction in knowing things will run your way. Here are a few tips for the business-minded medicos out there keen to set up their own practice:

Do your research. Understand what you are getting into! Location; local population demographics; building appearance, layout, and age; available finance for renovations; and number of regular patients (for established practices) are all factors in starting up your business. For example, if your new practice is located in an old building, it would be wise to allocate budget funds for possible repairs.

Have a budget and a business plan. These are the maps that will guide your voyage into business.

Invest in technology. A computerised office with EFTPOS facilities and all the latest business equipment (copier, fax etc.) is practically required for start-up practices. The forces of change affecting practices are all based around newer technologies. Remember, dinosaurs are extinct. Don't be one!

Choose your patients or make it easier for the right patients to choose you. For instance, by locating your practice in a new suburb, your patients are likely to be young couples and families.

Invest in your staff as much as your infrastructure. Use resources like AAPM, Divisions or Colleges to ensure you and your staff have the latest training. Patients remember a knowledgeable, helpful receptionist more so than a new coat of paint.

Keep communication lines open and practices transparent. Once your practice is up and running, ensure good communication between your colleagues and practice staff. Your staff would like to know what is going on as much as you do.