Revenue Cycle Management Blog | GroupOne Health Source

The 5 Common Mistakes Made When Starting a Medical Practice

Written by Kaitlyn Houseman | November 8, 2013

1. Assuming it will be easy

You are excellent with medicine, and maybe a few other things. But no one can be good at everything.  Starting a medical practice entails much more than just seeing patients. Yes, there is a business side to starting a practice which is ultimately your business. There thousands of variables you haven’t even considered yet so do not be afraid to ask for help. 

Bringing in a practice start-up expert can save you time, money, and a few headaches.  Having the correct staff on board for your start-up can help you avoid some commin pitfalls that new practices can encounter so you have the best chance of building your new practice into a profitable, and long term solution for your specific situation.

2. Not being realistic

Maybe it is human nature to wait until the last minute to take action. But if you are planning on starting a medical practice you do not want to fall victim to procrastination. You simply cannot decide to start a practice and expect it to happen overnight, or over a 30 day timeframe. An average implementation timeline alone for an electronic health records (EHR) system is around 30-60 days and rushing through that can set you up for failure.

The timeframe to get credentialed with insurance carriers will set the groundwork for your practice, but you will also need to take into consideration matters such as hiring staff members, purchasing equipment, finding the right EHR software, and hardware.

On average, it takes 90-120 days to become in-network with major carriers. The credentialing can then take about 60 days and the contracting another 30-60 days depending on the carrier. Keep that in mind before you open your doors. 

 3. Avoiding the financials

Starting a practice can be scary and it can be a bold move. Some physicians only dream of starting their own practice so when you choose to take that leap of faith, be sure to have a financial plan in place.

As an entrepreneur/risk taker, you need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Having a conservative 3-5 year projection is recommended as well as a line of credit for the first 3 months after opening your doors. It can be difficult to estimate your initial revenues the first few months because of unexpected patient volume and insurance carriers canot be depended on top pay the utility bills. Determine your payor mix and take advantage of their websites to get an idea of what you will be reimbursed for each of your services.

From there you should be able to put together an accurate revenue figure based on the procedures and office visits for your practice.

4. Choosing the wrong EHR for your practice

Imagine going to work every day with a broken pencil. That sounds frustrating to say the least. You do not want to go wrong on your decision with health information technology for your practice. There are over 300 EHR vendors out there but do not be fooled by their snazzy demos and bright colors. Start by going to to see which EHR software vendors are certified for Meaningful Use/HITECH stimulus payments.

Make sure you consult your peers for opinions on everything from customer service & support to the level of training provided by the vendor.  Knowing what issues your peers encountered will really help you narrow in on what will be key to your practice when shopping for an EHR software that fits your practice's unique needs. Take the time to choose software that works best for your practice. In the long run you will be thankful you put the effort forth in this critical decision.



 5. Hiring the wrong people

Because when you get down to it, you want to work with people you trust. Hire staff members that are invested in the same dream that you are—success for your practice and exceptional patient care.  Hiring the wrong staff can be expensive and time consuming which is why we recommend taking time to hire the right people. 

Also consider hiring an office manager to handle a variety of the work you need done as well as a great accountant to keep your finances in order.  Your staff sets the tone for your practice.  When patients walk through your doors make sure your staff is going to give the impression you would like your patients to have about you and your practice.