Flexibility, creativity, innovation, new experiences, empowerment.
These are just some of the advantages that a therapist will enjoy by having their own private practice. While there are many benefits of being your own boss, there is an equal amount of moving parts that must be simultaneously juggled and balanced. This can be overwhelming, but a healthy dose of preparation and resources can go a long way in setting your business (and yourself) up for success.
There are five main components that all therapists who double as business owners should be mindful of while managing their private practice.
1. Practice management software
Technology plays a large role in the workplace these days, and healthcare businesses are no exception. No matter how small their business is, all private practice owners should seek comprehensive practice management software (PMS). Not only will this platform help you manage all aspects of treating the patients you already have, but PMS also allows you to keep up with the demand as your practice grows.
Practice management software often houses features such as scheduling, billing, patient demographics, reports, and templates. Your PMS should be reliable, up-to-date, and user-friendly. It is also a good idea to use practice management software created by like-minded health professionals since these providers have a very real idea of what tools therapists need to keep their practice in working order. As a general rule of thumb, PMS should be equipped with the majority of information you need to complete your daily job functions.
An online presence is one of the best ways for therapists to get the word out about their practice. Other marketing tools such as word-of-mouth or brochures may be limited based on the time you put in and whether or not you have an established business. However, websites work to promote your business across all channels, even long after you have logged off for the night.
An ideal website should have an accessible landing page that allows individuals to conveniently complete basic tasks virtually — from booking their appointment to completing documents for the intake process. As a private practice owner, this will not only save you valuable time, but it will help you stay organized and minimize time spent on documentation and other non-billable tasks.
3. Privacy & security
Confidentiality is one of the many ways we maintain our patients’ comfort and peace of mind while we work to rehabilitate them. This means we must prioritize their privacy by safeguarding all health information related to the treatment process. Client data can be stored and accessed by authorized users through an electronic medical record (EMR). There are many EMR options, so having one that mimics the continuum of care and provides secure information only to those who need it is crucial.
Along with security, ease of use is key. EMRs should come equipped with convenient resources such as patient workflows, visit tracking, task management, use reporting, access from multiple secure devices, scheduling abilities, and note templates or pre-loaded lists to assist with the documentation. Each of these features will improve a therapist’s ability to manage their practice while providing an optimal patient experience.
In order to get paid for the work we do, we must play some part in the billing process. In standard settings, this may only mean having clear, accurate notes and meeting deadlines for documentation. However, in private practice, the payment process can get a bit more complicated. Business owners and even independent contractors need to pay more attention to strict insurance and/or funding guidelines and reimbursement standards.
This makes it even more beneficial for therapists to have a user-friendly system to help track visits, easily view services provided, and compile this information into invoices. A good system will also allow you to store all invoices, view insurance and/or funder information including the remaining balance of funds issued, and keep tabs on past or overdue payments.
Networking and making connections are arguably some of the most underrated parts of business ownership. These mediums not only help build your business, but they allow you to market the services you provide. It is in a therapist’s best interest to use tools such as practice management systems, social media outlets, collateral, podcasts, and more to spread the word about what they offer and how it can improve people’s lives. Marketing is a necessity for anyone who wants to seek and maintain clients, so this should also be a foundational aspect of any business plan and the goals you have outlined for your private practice.
It may be difficult to keep track of all your business responsibilities, especially if you are the sole owner of a private practice. However, there are resources that can help you manage these duties along with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
How does Therabyte fit in?
Therabyte is a comprehensive, therapist-owned business tool that helps private practice owners save time on documentation and other administrative duties. Many of us entered healthcare out of a true desire to help others. Therabyte makes it easier to manage responsibilities outside of patient care and helps us continue to prioritize the patient experience. Sign up today and take advantage of the time and energy-saving benefits.
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Read about Things I learnt when starting my OT business here.
This blog post was written in collaboration with Brittany Ferri, OTR/L, CPRP. In addition to being a telehealth specialist and health writer, Brittany is the founder of Simplicity of Health, LLC where she provides health education and a range of other services for individuals of all ages.