The decision to start your own concierge medical practice is often the result of a lot of thought and preparation, but many doctors still have difficulty knowing where to begin. When you are ready to make the switch to a smaller and more manageable practice that will allow you to connect with patients and offer a higher level of care to the people you see, these tips can help you make a smooth transition.
Don’t Do It Alone
The transition from a traditional medical practice to a concierge practice is a process that requires a whole team of people to do it right. For many doctors this is a foray into the great unknown, so having personal and professional support can be critical to help you get through the highs and lows of the process.
If you have an existing medical office, it’s also very important to let your staff know about the changes you will be making because it will affect everyone in the practice, but don’t make any announcements until you have done your homework and have a solid plan and timeline in place.
Know Your Stuff
If you thought you were done with homework when you graduated from medical school, think again. To transition successfully from a traditional practice to a concierge medical practice, you are going to need to do a lot of research, planning, and preparation.
Successful preparation will cover several different components:
- A business plan that outlines realistic goals and objectives for revenue, patient recruitment, facilities, and staffing
- A marketing plan that identifies your brand message, target audience, and outreach methods
- A legal plan to ensure compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations
Moving forward before you have any of these plans in place will make it difficult, if not impossible, to succeed in your new practice.
Hire a Top-Notch Team
In order to run a successful concierge practice that offers the highest quality patient care, you need a top-notch team. This includes both your internal clinical team—the doctors, nurses, and support staff—as well as an external consulting team.
Consultants can help you manage the business side of concierge medicine conversion. There can be literally hundreds of small tasks that you need to accomplish in order to convert to a concierge practice, so it’s important that you have the best legal, marketing, financial, and operational support. This professional team can help you avoid missing any little things or making common mistakes that new concierge doctors make when switching to your new model.
One of the most critical members of your internal team is your customer service and membership representative. This person will be charged with responding to prospective members’ questions, signing up patients, and retaining your existing patients. This is more than just a basic administrative role, so fill the position with someone who has exceptional people skills, a track record in sales, and the ability to connect with your current and future clients.
Tell Your Patients the Right Way
The most critical component of any transition is informing your patients, and this is something that requires meticulous planning and preparation to ensure it’s done right. Most patients don’t know much about concierge medicine, so be ready to answer questions about the model, the benefits, fee structures, and more. It’s best if you carefully craft a letter to your patients with your marketing team, and time its release appropriately as part of your overall marketing strategy.
Become a Marketing Guru
Most doctors are not marketing professionals, but to run a successful concierge practice you must learn the basics of marketing and become skilled at selling your practice to prospective patients. You don’t have to do the day-to-day marketing activities (in fact it is better if you hire a consultant or firm for this), but it is your practice, so you will be the person to articulate your brand and message and approve branding materials and advertisements that showcase your practice. Take some time to learn the basics about marketing a concierge practice so you can successfully recruit and retain patients.
Concierge medicine can be very rewarding, but the transition to a successful practice requires significant planning and preparation. Use these tips to make sure you do it right.