How to build and maintain private practice, for doctors

These days after completion of graduation or post graduation even super specialization to start private practice is not very easy. Cost of maintaining simple clinic is so huge it may take few years to meet out expenditure of clinic. This hinders new comers in private practice unless some good financial backing is present. I still remember when I first started my clinic 13 years back to get single patient in to my clinic was very difficult. To pay the rent, salary of receptionist and other expenditure of clinic, I had to adjust money from other resources, it nearly took more than one year for me, just to tally the clinic expenditure and clinic income.

After practicing for 13 years I still I feel I am not safe in my private practice, because younger generation continues to flow and computation in private practice in ever increasing.

I personally feel success of private practice lies in availability of yourself to your patients when they need you. I have seen few senior doctors’ punctuality in maintaining timing to their patients and that has given big breakthrough in improving private practice.

To get good private practice most important is common sense and not very great subject knowledge, if both are present then sky is limit for such person. Apart from diagnosing the patient’s disease, trying to understand his problem and his or her perception of disease is important, because no matter how big diagnosis you make, if patient has some reserved views or prohibitive circumstances, patient may not listen to you, such a patient may change you and reach other colleague of you to confirm your diagnosis and also change treatment plan, in such situation one has to be very careful.

Some patients have some fair knowledge of disease,  more often it is inadequate to draw conclusions of your findings and investigation reports, such patient are very hard to be convinced about treatment modality needed. They may ask you to change treatment modality as they think it to be right, I think, in such a situation doctor should tell truthfully what is needed rather than just changing treatment modality, if the patient wishes to change you then you should allow the patient to do so, because if patient has no faith in you, it is big risk for medico legal reasons and such patients may be source of spoiling your reputations too.

If your practice is based predominantly in referral bases then it is duty of consultant to inform about what happened to patient and what is planned treatment line, more often the patients listen to their family physician more than the consultants. They can convince patients better then you, because usually people believe the person who is closer to them. It is always good habit to send thanking letter to referral doctor, one may even use SMS to do so.

Your practicing place has be cleaner and aesthetically looking well, this attracts patients more easily , and further it also adds comfort for your sick patients.

Keeping good patients records is one more way to attract patients, because this makes your patients to stick on to you, further,  when patients come for next visit, you can directly come to point  of interest very soon and concentrate on issue and respond to patients needs better. I personally encourage to keep computerized patients records. There are plenty of soft wares available in market, some are free to download and some are paid versions. I have personally made software which is free to down load from the link available in header of my blog LearnOnly.com

Few years back  most consultants use to start clinic or small hospital all alone, managed it  all by themselves but thing s are slowly changing, patients are slowly being exposed to multispecialty  hospital and corporate setups, where all facilities are available under one roof. In such situation, group practice or joining a multi-specialty or corporate setup is not a bad idea. These corporates have more capacity to drain patients; they can employ people for marketing and  get things done for you, however they too have some downsides, for corporate everything is business, as long as you are useful to them they keep you, when they find better choice they may ditch you, sometimes if you are doing too good they try to control you or curb you, because for them nobody should grow beyond certain limit, which can endanger their existence, so one has to be very care full while dealing with corporate setups.

Dr Umesh Bilagi

MBBS, MD, DM (cardiology). I am Interventional cardiologist. Blogging is my passion. Associate professor of cardiology KIMS Hubli. Director and consultant at Tatwadarsha Hospital Hubli. Owner of Jeevan Jyoti Hospital Hubli. Mobile +91 9343403620.

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