Transitioning from the role of a solo practitioner to the manager of a group practice is a big leap that can seem like an endless obstacle course at times. But it’s a challenge that can result in great rewards if you carry out the process carefully and effectively.
Taking on additional clinicians may be a choice you have made because your patient list is steadily growing, or because you’re looking to cut back your workload over the next few years. Or perhaps it’s a passion of yours to work with like-minded people of various skill sets. Whether you’re in the dental, medical or veterinary fields, there are similar considerations when opening a group practice that you need to confront head-on. There are guides online that will give you a full checklist of everything you have to do when beginning your group practice, with specific details on state regulations, laws and requirements. This article, however, is focused on four of the most important things for you to consider when moving from a solo to a group mindset. When you have been working on your own for so long, it can be easy to fall into regular habits of work and behaviour that are not inclusive of your other practice staff. Here’s how to transition from a solo practice mindset to thinking as a team.
Creating a dynamic group practice: what kind of staff are you looking for?
One of the first things you’re going to want to have a good, long ponder on, is what kind of practice you aim to create. Will it be a multidisciplinary practice, combining general practitioners with specialists, or will it be a focused medical or dental clinic? Even within a single field, you may wish to have clinicians that specialise in different areas, to offer your patients a broad range of medical advice and expertise. Before hiring, it’s important to assess your capabilities, reflect on your limitations, and decided what skills, knowledge and experience you’re looking for in other practitioners. Be sure to think about how these people will work alongside one another on a daily basis, and what a particular combination of specialities could offer your patients, that you could not provide alone.
Being team focused: what can you offer your employees?
While you might be happy with the irregular paychecks for yourself while you’re getting your business off the ground and don’t mind putting in fifty hour weeks, your future employees may think differently. It’s critical to listen out for their expectations in the interviewing phase, and assess the type of working environment that they are accustomed to. Ensure that you (and your lawyer) are on top of all Fair Work regulations, but also consider what you can offer your employees. Why should they work for you and not for another group practice? Are you willing to provide them with bonuses for loyalty down the track? Can you assure that they will have the opportunity to attend conferences and undergo training in fields of interest? Part of managing a team is ensuring that they have a sound reason for being there. To do this, you must offer incentives that make your practice attractive and a notch above the rest!
Open communication: are you a people person?
It’s time to be brutally honest with yourself. Is there a reason why you have been a solo practitioner for so long? Will you feel comfortable managing a group of clinicians? It can be tough to shake the solo mindset, especially if you’ve only had to consider your requirements for over a decade. Recruiting the help of a practice manager for your new group practice could help if you’re feeling nervous about the HR side of operations. They’ll help you form clear communication procedures, assist you to create useful structures and systems for your practice to run on, and become a sounding board for all ideas, continually offering a team perspective.
Physical space: what kind of facilities do your staff need?
Lastly, take a look at your current premises. It may not be large enough to house a full team of practice staff. And don’t forget that with more practitioners comes more patients, so you’ll need to upgrade your waiting room too! Think about the type of facilities you will need according to the specialists you wish to hire. What equipment will you require? How big is it? Will you need separate surgical or x-ray rooms? Eating in your office isn’t an option anymore either. Your employees will need a break room away from the public with facilities like a fridge, microwave, coffee machine etc. Furthermore, your practice will need new branding that reflects its mission, values and beliefs. All of this will need to be incorporated within the physical space that it encompasses.
Yes, it’s a lot to think about! But these four crucial considerations will put you on the right track to manage a successful group practice.
Do you need assistance setting up the physical space of a new group practice? Dentifit are Queensland’s leading dental, medical and veterinary shop fitters. We have many years of experience creating group clinics with specific medical equipment, and branding, in mind. Contact us today for a consultation!