Opening a new practice is a big undertaking; we collected useful information and a few key recommendations to help out as you embark on this journey.

New Practice Package

What to Know When Opening an New Practice

Opening a new practice is a big undertaking; we collected useful information and a few key recommendations to help out as you embark on this journey. It can be helpful to establish a plan to execute your first steps in the proper sequence, once you know which tasks are prerequisites for others. This helps keep your startup on schedule and helps avoid costly delays. We hope the information we collected here can help you make key start up decisions with confidence and in a timely manner. Our team can help eliminate the headaches of opening a practice so you can enjoy the personal and professional satisfaction that comes with this exciting stage of your career.

Amazing Charts Medical Practice Consultants are here to help! View our materials to assist you with what you should know and be aware of when opening your new practice. 

Start-Up Checklist

1. Determine the Business Model and Entity Type
  • Decide whether you want to go solo or work with a partner

  • Office selection and setup

  • Insurance vs. cash based/fee for service?

  • Business structure (incorporation)

  • Payroll tax registration and payroll processing

  • Administrative setup

  • Will you employ a medical biller or use an outside service? (if a solo practice – our recommendation is
    to use an outside biller for the first six to 12 months)

2. Obtain credentialing and contracting
  • This process can take 90 days or more, so you should begin submitting applications to those private health insurance companies well ahead of your target opening.
  • Regardless of who you’re applying for credentialing with, it’s wise to gather all the documents you’ll need and convert them to PDF files to store on your computer. That way, you’ll be able to access and share all of your paperwork quickly.
  • You could be entering into long-term contracts, so it’s imperative you do your research before these negotiations to make sure you’re getting the best deals possible.
3. Select an EHR (they do improve patient care and outcomes, and they’re valuable tools for keeping you organized and compliant)
  • Will you need a cloud based EMR or do you prefer office hosted?
  • Is the EHR cost effective, expandable, easy-to-learn and easy-to-use?
  • Do they offer a free trial?
  • Do they offer some free training?
  • Do they have implementation specialists familiar with new practice startup?
  • Do they offer Practice Management software or billing options?
4. Based on the EHR you select, what kind of hardware/equipment/tools will your new practice need?
  • Frugality is a good idea when you’re just getting started. Don’t fall into the high overhead trap.
5. Establish operations, compliance and HR procedures
  • Determine how many staff members you’ll need to help you run the practice.
  • Make sure you’re training staff on best practices for avoiding expensive HIPAA violations, and verify your EHR system includes certain security features to provide additional protection.
6. Train your staff on how to use the EHR
7. Develop your marketing and patient loyalty plan
  • Establish an online presence as soon as possible.
8. Make sure your vision for your practice matches reality
  • Determine what you need now and what you can grow into (such as Amazing Reminders – you don’t need patient reminders until you have a full schedule to remind. Or Population Health – wait six months until you’re up and running successfully before considering Population Health tools to generate additional revenue).

Client Success Story

Doctor Transitions from Partnership to Solo Practice with Amazing Charts

"Without Amazing Charts EHR, my transition would have been financially and clinically difficult.”
Aaron Way
Challenge: Starting a solo practice after partner retired
  • Complex documentation: “We were using multiple PM systems to collect and track clinical data.”
  • Inefficient workflow: “In the past, I have used EHRs that involved too many clicks for one simple task.”
  • Staff training: “I had to hire new staff, so the less training needed to use an EHR, the better.”
Solution: Amazing Charts EHR
  • Ease of use: “There was no need to spend lots of time learning how to use Amazing Charts.”
  • Seamless integration: “The interconnectedness with our local labs, radiology, and pharmacies really helped me run one clinical system and track data better.”
  • Users supporting users: “At an Amazing Charts Users Conference, a colleague shared a valuable shortcut in the system that saved me a significant amount of time.”
  • Dr. Way owns a successful osteopathic family practice in Narragansett, RI
  • Runs independent practice instead of working salaried hospital job
  • Focuses on quality of care rather than quantity of patients seen in a day

FAQ: Things to Consider When Selecting an EHR

Q: What should I look for when selecting an EHR?
A: There are many EMRs on the market, but only a handful are developed for small to mid-level practices. You should schedule a demonstration of the software to make sure it meets your needs.

Q: How much is going to cost?
A: You want something not too expensive, as you are trying to build your revenue stream and not go broke in the process.

Q: Is it hard to learn? Do they offer some free training?
A: You want to find an intuitive system familiar to your workflow, so you can hit the ground running. Free training at the start can also help round out any questions you have and make you more comfortable.

Q: Do they offer a free trial?
A: You want to be able to try the system before you buy it. Like test driving a car, getting your hands on the system before purchase allows you to truly understand the layout and how easy it is. You also want to try the full system, rather than a limited version, so there are no surprises.

Q: Do they have implementation specialists familiar with new practice startup?
A: Once you have started working with a salesperson from an EMR company, ask them if you can speak to an implementation specialist regarding getting started. Usually, this person can serve as a consultant to help you create a plan on running the practice and ensuring you don’t overspend on services or hardware you do not need.

Q: How will you handle billing?
A: One of the biggest considerations when starting your new medical practice is how you will be paid. Some business owners prefer to start with a “Cash Pay” option, where your patients pay for each visit as they come in. Others choose to hire an internal biller who manages payments through a practice management software. Many choose to use an outside billing service to manage claims. Have a conversation with your implementation specialist to determine which option is best for you and your practice.

Q: How will you host your data?
A: Another item to consider is how best to host your software. Many practices are moving to cloud based or cloud hosted EMRs. Others are sticking with the conventional “Office Hosted” option, where your database is stored on your practice’s main computer or server. Discuss what option is best for you with your implementation specialist.

Q: What kind of hardware/tools will your new practice need?
A: Again, your implementation specialist will help you determine what hardware would be required to make your office run smoothly. It is very important to know what software and tools you will be using in your office prior to purchasing hardware so you do not overspend or buy equipment not suitable for your needs.

FAQ: The 5 W's of Credentialing

Q: Who applies for credentialing?
A: Typically, this would be the office manager who completes the forms on behalf of the provider, or the provider themselves. They can also utilize a hired credentialing company.

Q: What is credentialing?
A: It is the process in which the provider participates with insurance companies to submit claims and receive payments.

Q: When should I begin the process?
A: They should begin this process as soon as their Tax ID and Group NPIs are assigned. Medicare payers typically take the longest, so it should be the first payer to start.

Q: Why do I need to be credentialed?
A: Providers could be faced with claim denials for being non-participating, or could be paid out of network, causing the patients to have larger out of pocket expenses.

Q: How long does it take?
A: Medicare payers take the longest, as the average time is 90 to 180 days. Medicaid payers take about 90 days. Other Blue Shield or Commercial payers typically take 45 to 90 days.

FAQ: How to Market Your New Practice

Q: Why is medical marketing so crucial now?
A: According to Managed Healthcare Executive, one of the four trends healthcare professionals need to follow is the rise in consumerism. Far from being the passive patients of yesterday, who continued to go to the same physician as their parents, today’s consumers want to be more in control of their healthcare choices. Medical Marketing is crucial because it helps to build awareness to meet the patient’s need.

Q: How do I build a strong healthcare marketing mindset?
A: Because you are creating something that could very well affect the financial future of your medical practice, here are some guidelines to establishing your marketing mindset:

  • It’s an investment, not an expense
  • You offer solutions, not services
  • Don’t just be busy, be mindful
  • Quit doing the same thing
  • Remember, you’re a doctor, not a marketer

Q: What are some marketing ideas to help attract new patients?
A: While you may know the fundamentals of website design, search engine optimization and social media marketing, here are some bold marketing ideas to help your new medical practice grow:

  • Have a website that really works
  • Work with large local employers
  • Communicate, educate, motivate

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