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7 Do’s and Don’ts of Building a Successful Medical Practice

I started my practice a little over 2 years ago at this point. And I’ve really enjoyed it! I’ve already talked a bunch about my process for finding the perfect doctor job…something I think most physicians do not do a good job of. But in this post, I want to talk about the process of building a successful medical practice after you find that job!

Finding the perfect job for you is obviously super important for your overall well-being and to decrease the risk of burnout.

building medical practice

It’s also really important for your financial well-being. By finding a job you like, you are more likely to work longer and can enact the 6 easy steps for reaching financial freedom.

Once you find that job, you are going to want to build the best practice you can!

The importance of building a successful medical practice

It seems like an obvious question but I’m still going to ask it, “Why is building a successful medical practice important?”

The converse of this would be to just get a job and go along for the ride. Punch in, punch out. Cash your pay check and hopefully save and invest to reach financial freedom.

This is a valid path, if not an ideal one.

You can use your high physician income to gain financial independence. But if you at best are neutral to your job or at worst hate it, the process of getting to financial freedom is not going to be fun.

And it should be fun, and fulfilling!

So, I would really recommend taking the time, whether you are a new grad or years out as an attending physician, to build your practice into what you want it to be!

7 “do’s” and “don’ts” of building a successful medical practice

A lot of this is going to be derived from a. talk that I recently gave at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons meeting in Atlanta recently.

I love that they decided to highlight this topic and was very excited to speak on it.

Anyway, here are my recommendations!

Do…Plan your ideal practice

Take the time to sit down and write down the attributes of your perfect, ideal practice.

Don’t worry about how feasible you think this is or if the administrators will let you do what you want. Just write everything down.

This is an important exercise to help you identify what is really important to you.

Then, write down discrete actions you can take to start making all of these things happen. Chances are, you won’t be able to institute all of the changes or reach all goals immediately. They will take time and patience is required.

But start taking action and eventually you will reach them.

Want a day off? Starting thinking about how you can make this happen or who you need to talk to.

I have a Word document with all of my “ideal practice goals” that I review each month. And I write down actions to take to reach them and check them off when completed.

It’s helped me a ton.

Don’t…Build a practice that you don’t want

When you build your list, really be careful and build the practice that you want.

Don’t worry about what other people think the best practice is. Design the practice you want and try to adopt a “Hell Yeah” policy.

If adding something or continuing a part of your practice doesn’t make you say “Hell Yeah,” don’t include it.

Building a practice that does not align with your actual goals and desires is a recipe for burnout.

Do…Be available

Ah yes, the first of the famous “3 A’s”…But they are as applicable and relevant as ever.

When you are building your medical practice, again whether you are new or have been there for awhile and realize you want to make it better, go meet people.

Meet people who can refer to you. Who can tach you something. Who may be able to help you reach your practice goals. And meet with people who you can help.

This may be other doctors, administrators, nurses, techs, local business owners, etc.

For example, when I started, I wanted to build a lymphedema practice. So I went out and met a ton of lymphedema therapists, primary care doctors, vascular surgeons. This helped me build this aspect of my practice fast.

Give out your phone number and e-mail to potential referrers. Even the best office is somewhat inefficient and information can get lost. Give your referrers a direct way to contact you. That way they can ask you about potential patients or give you information to contact them yourself.

Don’t…Build something unsustainable

We are all guilty of getting caught up and saying we want to be so busy and publish a million manuscripts or travel to conferences and this and that.

But no one can do it all. Really consider what you want and eliminate what you don’t.

Also, work together with your partners or other members of your specialty in the community. A rising tide lifts all ships and working collaboratively will only help you nd everyone else.

I’ve seen too many physicians build a booming practice without thinking about sustainability and burn out.

Avoid this by hiring help, working with others, and automating your practices’ processes.

Do…Be affable

Most physicians think surgeons are jerks. And in some cases, they are not wrong.

But the most successful surgeons that I see are all affable, also known as the “2nd A.” This means they are nice.

They play well in the sand box.

They speak softly and carry a big stick. By this I mean that they are humble and also very committed to what they do. You may not know they are a big shot to speak with them. But once you see them in action, you know.

Also, remember that everyone is an expert. Your referrers and people you work with are all experts and trained well in what they do. Respect that even if it may not always seem like it.

And please, be nice to everyone…not just people you think “matter” but everyone in the hospital…

Don’t…Build your practice at the expense of your well-being

Set boundaries with your time.

Budget time for yourself. Time with your family. Time with friends. When it comes to this time, there will always be something related to work that it seems like “you need to do.”

But chances are, if you don’t do it right away, things wills till be just fine.

And of course, take the steps to build your financial well-being. As doctors, we are usually not very good at this. But it’s such an important part of our overall well-being.

So build the simple habits that will increase your financial well-being like the ones included here.

Here’s how I try to balance these things.

Do…be able

And we have arrived at the final “A” of the “3 A’s.”

This one is obviously very important. In your practice, no matter what speciality you are or what you do, you want to:

  • Let other doctors/providers know you take care of hard problems
  • Make their lives easier by fixing problems
  • Be efficient and effective in solving problems and caring for patients
  • Show them you care

Do this and you will be a very wanted physician.

Building a successful practice will help you, your patients, and your team. It will help your personal, professional, and financial well-being.

You can learn more about starting your own private practice here and about optimizing your practice revenue here. And you can also sign up for my free webinar on the 12 Steps to Financial Freedom for Physicians!

What do you think? How have you started or optimized building your medical practice? Any advice for others? Let me know in the comments below!

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    Jordan Frey MD, a plastic surgeon in Buffalo, NY, is one of the fastest-growing physician finance bloggers in the world. See how he went from financially clueless to increasing his net worth by $1M in 1 year and how you can do the same! Feel free to send Jordan a message at [email protected].

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