Starting any business is hard work. There are so many variables and missteps are costly, in terms of time and money.
Many physicians have the skills to run an existing successful business but don’t have expertise in all it takes to get a business up and running.
Here are 7 tips from the experts about transitioning to direct primary care.
- Get expert opinions: If you are interested in learning everything you can about the direct primary care model, we recommend getting hands-on experience from an expert. The best advice is to not just read about it, or even just go to a conference about it. You should get an experienced mentor and ideally even see the model in action to understand how the infrastructure and office flow works differently than a traditional fee for service practice. Working with a network like Total Access Medical can make a lot of the resources developed over years immediately available.
- Know your mission: With no health system protocols or insurance regulations to restrict you, your options will be limited only by your imagination and what your patients will support. Before you start, define who you want to serve and what you want to accomplish. That will help you determine where you should locate your practice and how much you will charge for memberships.
- Compare different options for your geographic location. DPC practices are known to be successful in urban, suburban, and rural areas, but the rural areas can present more challenges. At Total Access Medical, we’ve designed a network of paths and structures to best maneuver through the decision process.
- Pick a practice name: It seems mundane, but it’s actually a critical part of the process. Your practice’s name is key to its marketing, especially in the age of the Internet. You want it to be easy to pronounce, spell, and remember. Including “direct primary care” or “DPC” in the name will make your practice more likely to be found by locals who are using Google to search for a DPC clinic. Using the word “concierge” in the brand name can also be beneficial as it enables leads to find you more easily through the search algorithms.
- Make a financial plan: Once you’ve decided where to locate your practice and how much you will be able to charge the population you want to serve, you will be able to create a financial plan for transitioning to direct primary care. The cost of starting the practice could be as low as $5,000 if you focus on home visits and don’t hire staff. It could be hundreds of thousands of dollars if you want to hire staff and build or rent an office.
- Register your DPC practice: If you’ve never registered a business with local, state and federal legal and taxing authorities, it’s worth taking some time to peruse the Small Business Administration’s webpage (sba.gov) on the topic. There are also online resources. Explaining how to register a domain name (www.wpbeginner.com) and set up a website.
- Design your practice: Will you allow unlimited visits for members, or charge a per-visit fee? Will you respond to member calls and emails at all hours or set “office hour” limits? Will you dispense some prescriptions (if your state allows it) as part of the membership? The options are almost unlimited, and there are pros and cons to each of them.
The team at Total Access Medical is here to help you. Whether you are transitioning to direct primary care or a new doctor in the area, we have the resources and experience to help you.