You don’t have to go to medical school to own a medical practice in Australia. But there are a few things you should know before trying to buy or start a practice of you own.
The medical practice could simply be an asset in your name or you may be in a partnership. However your business is structured, you can legitimately run a medical practice without being a doctor. The important thing is that you have a qualified doctor who actually runs the show for you and oversees the practice.
This doesn’t mean that you’re free to take a hands-off approach to practice management, however. It’s still a complicated process that requires careful planning to be successful.
Here’s what you need to know if you plan to own a medical practice.
Benefits of running a medical practice when you’re not a doctor
Most doctors who run their own practices struggle a bit initially because they don’t know much about the business aspect.
You, on the other hand, may not have the medical qualifications but do have extensive business experience and maybe some extra capital that can help you get a medical practice off the ground. Your commercial perspective and insights can help a medical practice to thrive much faster than if a doctor alone tried to run things.
From the position of business owner, you’ll be free to handle the financial aspects and business strategy of the practice, leaving the doctors free to take care of the patients in this win-win situation.
Challenges of running a medical practice when you’re not a doctor
There’s no point in ignoring the harsh reality: you need to know something about a business in order to run it successfully. If you don’t have medical experience, then you will have limited industry knowledge about how to run a medical practice.
You may have a few medical connections and some basic practice knowledge, but what looks feasible as a business plan on paper may not be so practical when you’re in trying to keep a medical practice humming.
Sometimes, being on the outside can make it difficult to make realistic decisions for the practice and some plans can lead to conflict with the medical personnel in your practice too.
Keys to running a medical practice when you’re not a doctor
Despite the challenges, it is possible to run a thriving medical practice.
Consider your options carefully.
You have to decide whether to purchase an existing practice or to start a new one. There are pros and cons to each option so weigh them carefully, take your time doing the research and get expert advice so that you have a realistic view of what to expect.
Plan your practice location carefully.
You can’t just set up any medical practice anywhere and expect it to do well. Success depends on having a steady stream of patients so you need to set up in an area where there are plenty of people and a high demand for your services with few competitors. You also need to choose a location that will be affordable for the practice and where there’s room to grow once things take off.
Hire great people.
The people you hire will determine whether or not your medical practice is successful. Choose doctors and practice support staff with business values that align with yours and who communicate with you easily. Hire people who are ready to work hard for the success of the practice and are committed to it. Hire professionals you can trust, who know how to run a medical clinic so that you don’t need to micromanage things.
Get advice you can count on.
No doctor or business person builds a thriving medical practice on their own.
Reach out to trusted experts like accountants, financial planners and lawyers who specialise in helping medical practice owners. These experts will help you make the best business decisions that will protect both you and your medical practice’s interests.
Contact Nitschke Nancarrow, specialists in accounting, financial planning, investment and business for medical practice owners and medical professionals. We operate in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and throughout Australia. Managing partner Kym Nitschke is available for a free initial discussion about your situation. Call us on (08) 8379 9950 or send me an email.
– Kym Nitschke
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