Entering the world of Physical Therapy as a new practitioner can be both exciting and intimidating. There are so many choices to make, including the path you will take to work with patients. There is the option to work for an established clinic, or follow a dream of opening your own. Below are some general best practices for starting your own Physical Therapy clinic – and staying on the path of success.
Research and Decide
Any idea starts as a small spark – generally followed by curiosity to learn more. When you decide to open your own physical therapy clinic, a good place to start the process is by doing some industry research, and answering some foundational questions such as:
- What is your practice focus?
Your practice focus may be an easy answer, perhaps it’s a demographic that you are passionate about providing physical therapy services to such as pediatrics or geriatrics. it is also good to understand what your community may lack in terms of physical therapy services.
- Solo vs. Partnership
Identify the risks versus rewards of opening a solo practice, versus working with partner(s). Take some time to think through your personal work preferences to help decide which is best for you. Partnerships can provide strengths in areas you may lack, but they can also cause complications when it comes to business decisions. While there would be no one to split profits with in a solo practice, other financial factors such as profit sharing, debt responsibility and the success or failure of the business would also fall on your shoulders alone.
- Where will you practice?
Just like with partnerships and who you treat, the location in which you practice might be easy to define based on the need your community might have. Make sure you conduct research on the community:
- Are there people in need of the physical therapy services I plan to offer that live in this area?
- Are there other physical therapy providers in the area, and what do they offer?
You have determined the “what”, now it is time to focus on the “how.”
- Create a business plan and research how to secure financing for your clinic.
There are different avenues such as bank loans or independent investors – take the time to determine what is right for you with your goals and plans in mind. When applying for loans, investors will want to see your business plan built out with attainable goals that will serve as the foundation for your business. Some components of a successful business plan include:
- Defined and attainable business goals
- Core values
- Operational Structure
- Hiring plans
- Understand legal requirements
Ensure before the doors are open that you understand all the legal requirements you will be required to meet. Seeking the advice of legal counsel may be the best course of action to ensure no details are missed including:
- Setting up an appropriate business entity
- Opening a bank account for your business
- Trademarking your chosen business name
- Understanding the fine print of any lease agreements
- Knowledge of all applicable hiring laws
- Setting up tax preferences including
- Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Choosing a tax year model (calendar year or fiscal year)
Once funding is secured, research and make a list of equipment and supplies you will need to successfully run your practice each day. You will quickly find that some equipment can be pricey – but you can get creative to save money by:
- Shopping online
- Rent equipment as needed
- Start small, don’t jump to purchase the most expensive big-ticket items right away
- Make alternative care plans – there are ways to meet needs to patients without expensive equipment that they probably don’t have access to at home. Utilize equipment such as resistance bands and weights that are found in retail stores and online.
- Hire staff
Identify staffing positions you need to fill such as office management, front desk staff and determine how many therapists to hire for your clinic. Recruiting from former classmates or network connections can help ensure you employ the right people for your practice. Putting together a top-notch team may take some time, but it will be worth it! While ensuring employees have the technical skills for the position, they must also align with your business plan’s stated goals and values to be the best fit for your physical therapy clinic.
Now it’s time to get your practice name out there! You’ve built out a business plan already, so apply that knowledge to a marketing plan. Ask yourself questions such as:
- How do I want to be seen by my local community?
- How do I want to be seen by the physical therapy industry?
- How do I want to attract new patients?
- How do I employ the right talent, and avoid employee attrition?
Once you have answered these questions, work to build a professional website and brand, including a creative and unique logo. Focus on gathering patient referrals through your newly hired employees and doctors in the area.
- Tools and Technology
Choose an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) tool, which will be the platform to handle your patient data. This choice may seem overwhelming with so many options out there, but it is one of the most important decisions you will make for your physical therapy practice, as your EMR should serve as your source of truth when it comes to making business decisions. Ideally, the best EMR choice would be one solution that can handle all your needs in one place from billing, reporting, documentation, payment processing, appointment scheduling and more. You want to avoid using a solution that requires outside systems to be integrated for certain tasks to be performed, which can lead to inaccurate data across the different platforms, and potentially lead to incurring extra cost as well.
The best EMR will:
- Offer Revenue Cycle Management services to improve insurance collections and get you paid faster
- Include custom reporting to show you details you really need to make business decisions such as revenue, billing and collections details, referral data
- Incorporate seamless documentation that flows through the entire system, ensuring that everyone from front office staff to therapists sees the same real-time patient data
- Offer online patient portal configurations bundled with electronic payment processing to make scheduling appointments and bill pay easier for both the patient and therapist
How Can A2C Medical Can Help
A2C Medical offers an EMR solution built for therapists, by therapists. Our software is the most comprehensive, fully unified system for Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy. One system, one login. This means all modules are housed in one place, connected, and easy to access. When you pull reports to reference for business decisions, you can ensure the data is sound since it is coming from the same place.
Credit card processing within our system makes it easy for patients to pay their bills, but also allows visibility across your practice to unpaid invoices, so you can stay organized and on top of your cash flow. Once your practice is up and running, you may notice there is less time to be spent on insurance billing and errors – and we can help with that, too! Utilize our Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) billing service which gives you access to dedicated Denial Management Experts who can handle the billing process for you, ensuring correct claims and getting you paid faster. Visit our blog to learn more about A2C Medical today!
Disclaimer: This blog is intended for general information, not for official legal advice or guidance. We do not condone use of this blog in lieu of seeking legal counsel.