Use This Checklist of 8 Tips To Start Your Own Medical Practice
The medical sector in any country is a very delicate area. Special attention is given to this sector because of the professionalism it demands. Plus it is important to the general health of the nation.
With this in mind, starting a private medical practice is a major career move. One that requires a lot of planning.
Starting a healthcare practice is an exciting and rewarding way to take the practice of medicine into your very own hands.
If you already have a career in medicine, then it might be a dream of yours.
Unfortunately, it’s one that very few people manage to achieve. The process is difficult, long, and often expensive, which puts many off from trying.
Besides, the medical sector is meticulously monitored by several regulatory bodies which ensure that the minimum requirements to set up a private hospital are achieved.
This is to avoid medical mistakes, embarrassments from the regulatory bodies or at worse, jail time in the future.
If you’re up for a challenge, then there’s no reason why you can’t.
This article aims to give you a broader view of what you require to start your own medical practice. With that in mind, here’s a checklist of six steps that you can follow to successfully set up your own private medical clinic or hospital.
1. Get A Medical Education
A good medical education is a foundation for a successful career in healthcare.
This means that, if you haven’t already been to medical school, you should put off your practice plans until you do.
You must also work at other practices and with other doctors to gain some experience.
The more you learn over the years, the better your practice will be when the time is right.
2. Register Your Business
The first step to starting your own medical practice would be to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). This commission will be able to make your company name unique to you only. (Please check what is required in your country).
To register your company with the Corporate Affairs Commission, you can visit any of their branch offices and ask to register your company. Do note that you might be required to pay some registration fees, but nothing so expensive.
The next step would be to register your hospital or clinic with the federal ministry of health.
Starting a private medical practice without proper accreditation is a very serious crime with even more serious consequences.
In Lagos State, The State Health Facility Monitoring And Accreditation agency (HEFAMAA), is in charge of accrediting and monitoring health facilities in the state. They have minimum requirements for the setting up of a private medical clinic, and they include:
- The medical practitioner in charge must be sufficiently skilled in medicine and must possess the required credentials and certificates.
- You must have qualified nursing staff as well as an equally qualified superintendent to oversee their everyday activities.
- The hospital environment must meet the agency’s set standards. Location and environment are big reasons why many license applications are turned down. With this in mind, make sure to pay more attention when you are choosing a location. Generally, if your hospital base is close to a residential area, make sure that refuse dumps are far away. Also, make sure your hospital has accessible roads.
- Your Clinic must have the required types of equipment to run effectively, in order to be accredited.
- If your private hospital will dispense drugs, you’re required to have a registered pharmacist on the ground to supervise this process.
The following are usually required to register your private Clinic
- A passport photo of the medical examiner in charge, I.e the proprietor of the clinic
- Certificates of registration as a medical professional. If you are a Doctor, evidence of your medical certificate would have to be presented including your university degree.
- Photocopy of your staff qualifications, especially medical staff. This includes nurses, midwives, Radiographers and any other doctor in the facility.
- A detailed Staff List I.e A list of your staff including cleaners.
- An access chart or map on how to get to the hospital.
- The plan of the hospital building drawn by an architect. This includes the hospital measurements in meters and respective labels.
These are the conditions of starting a private medical practice in Lagos State Nigeria, however, conditions in other states or countries might probably be similar.
In spite of this, you will need to do proper research on the specifications for starting your own private medical practice in your location.
3. Pick The Right Location
The location of your healthcare practice is a factor you must consider carefully. After all, if you choose the wrong area, you might struggle to attract patients.
Before you settle on any spot, you should research several different places.
Ideally, you should find somewhere far away from other practices, but close enough to clients. It’s vital that you take your budget into account too.
Experts believe that location is everything in business. This is not only because you are setting up a medical facility and need a serene environment, but because a good location will make your hospital accessible to patients.
Regulatory agencies require that your base as a medical facility, be in a serene, neat and calm environment. Therefore, you must take good care when choosing a location for your medical facility.
You will need a building with lots of space, cramped up buildings are not ideal for a medical hospital, plus your private practice might not get accredited if it is run inside a cramped up space.
Your hospital must be accessible to the public especially during emergencies.
Your finances also play a big role when selecting a location for your hospital. You can either choose to construct your own hospital or buy a building and renovate it to suit the everyday hectic hustling of a hospital.
Your hospital should have a reception desk, a canteen and muster point for emergencies. Your hospital also needs to have an emergency entrance for ambulances and trauma doctors ready at all times. Also, remember that I laid emphasis on space, space is very important for a doctor to perform his job properly and be productive.
If you want to start a private medical practice without sufficient funds, you can be a home service doctor. This was the popular practice in the 1800s where doctors appointments were done in the house, and only special cases would require the patients coming to the office.
This office could be a small office of the conventional size, this is surely a budget-friendly way of starting a private medical practice.
If you don’t have enough money to go all out on your location, you can decide to rent the place rather than buying it off. Regardless, do not substitute quality for quantity, it always goes wrong in the future.
4. Create A Business Plan
Like any other type of business, medical practice requires planning. Unless you have money stashed away somewhere, you’ll need to seek funding to cover the startup expenses.
This can’t be done until you write your business plan.
You will also have to apply for permits, get proper insurance cover, register for taxes, and much more. A healthcare attorney can help you do this.
5. Make The Necessary Purchases
There are very important equipment and furniture needed in a hospital.
For your hospital to be accredited, it must have the requirements of the minimum equipment as demanded by regulatory bodies. These medical types of equipment must be up to date, original and durable.
However, do not purchase irrelevant appliances that will occupy valuable space. Also, watch your budget and focus on the equipment and appliances that are really important for the meantime.
You can’t forget about the typical office equipment, such as chairs, desks, and computers. You’ll also need basic supplies, like pens and paper, as well as waiting room furniture and decor.
These are other important pieces of equipment that you might need to purchase
- Hospital Cards: for patient registration at the reception.
- Beds: The quantity depends on the scope of your hospital.
- Reception Chairs: For those waiting for their appointment with the doctor.
- Vital Signs Devices: Accessories such as stethoscope, Sphygmomanometer (for blood pressure) and scales (for weight).
- Ventilators: To maintain the hospital temperature. You can buy heaters or air conditioners for places that tend to be very hot during the day.
- Telephone: An intercom arrangement to facilitate consultation inside the premises. This is also important for patients who stay in one room to be able to reach nurses at the reception.
Once you’ve found the perfect office, you will need to fill it up.
Most new entrepreneurs will stock up on medical supplies like examination tables, assay plates, medicines, and more.
6. Hire A Great Team
No one can run a healthcare practice by themselves.
Because of this, you will have to hire a few more doctors, as well as nurses and reception staff.
You can’t just take on anyone, though. You need to hire the best.
To attract the right candidates to your business, you must offer a competitive salary and benefits package. You will also need an effective interview process.
If you also plan to start a private medical practice, you will need people. This is regardless of whether it is going to be a home service or not. In fact, you will need at least one assistant if you want to start a home service private practice.
However, if you want to start a clinic or hospital, you will need more than one assistant. Human resources are a major part of what makes up a hospital effective. In fact, they determine the success of your hospital to a reasonable extent.
Once you register, you will be given a better understanding of how to manage and run the administrative part of your business.
You will need to employ the right staff for your hospital to succeed.
To do this, you have to concentrate on the attitude and voluntary efforts made by applicants in the past. This humanitarian effort is what will show that an applicant is selfless.
According to research, medical professionals who have made humanitarian efforts in the past are very passionate about their job. Trust me when I say this is the kind of people you want to have as staff in your hospital.
Patients tend to avoid hospitals with staff that are mean, unprofessional or abusive, and when patients avoid your hospital, the hospital is bound to crash.
7. Make Provision For Improvements
If you think it costs too much to start up your private medical practice, you might not have heard about maintenance. As a hospital, you should evolve and improve every day.
Procedures and new improvements should be the order of the day in your business. If you only had twenty beds when you began your practice, you should double that the following year.
The medical community should always strive to improve and make research on how to cure illnesses, develop new vaccines and other drug tests. A good hospital should be able to able to meet up with international standards.
Also, regulatory bodies will come around once in a while to check on your facility. Hence, you should make sure the environment is always serene enough for a hospital.
If you decided to make your private medical practice home servicing, you would have to improve your consultation service. You can do this by employing two or more doctors to attend to other patients.
8. Attract Lots Of Clients
You have successfully set up other things like location, equipment and human resources. It’s time to let people know about the new hospital in their area. In case you don’t know, I am talking about your new medical hospital.
Generally, people don’t bother about what they don’t know. You must create awareness for people to know about your hospital. Let them know the new things you are bringing to the table.
If other hospitals don’t have certain facilities and your hospital can provide that service, let residents know. This should be your selling point.
You can conduct advertisements by distributing flyers on the road or in a crowded place. Without clients, your healthcare practice can’t succeed. For this reason, you must market your business, just like you would any other.
You should create a marketing strategy that covers many different networks, including social media, local print, radio, and even television.
You won’t fill your appointment book overnight, but, eventually, your patient list will begin to grow. Building a medical practice can be challenging, but the tips above can make it a little easier.
Starting your own medical practice might be very hectic, but it’s worth it.
You would also be doing the health sector a very big one by starting a hospital in your country. The process of setting up a hospital is very stressful especially if you don’t have a checklist to guide you.
However, if you are only seeking information on how to start a private medical practice, you’ve got some guidance. As a physician, you need to be able to plan ahead for your career.
Once you are ready to start your private medical practice, you need to start gathering all your credentials. Remember, you cannot start a medical practice without proper accreditation from regulatory bodies.
I hope you found these tips useful!