Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Medical Practitioners running a business?

So I glibly referred to a medical practitioner running a business. This may annoy or potentially embarass doctors as they prefer to focus on the relationship of care they have with their patient. Which is great! That’s the reason we all go to see them with our problems - for their medical knowledge and expertise not their business acumen. There are some examples in the past where a medical practitioner seems to have got confused about this and they usually lose their ability to practice medicine as a result - leaving them free to pursue other business interests.

This “business” may consist of a specialist and his/her wife/husband who does the books and a medical receptionist/secretary (perhaps both roles are rolled together). Or perhaps it is a GP business that owns its own clinic and employs a number of other GPs, or more likely these days for its flexibility for the practitioner some kind of associateship arrangement where doctors share in the expenses of running the business (rent, communications, IT, staff, etc) but otherwise determine what, how and how long they practice.

So if a doctor is in private practice they are undeniably running a business - with less or more sophistication and focus. It will be expected to employ staff, lodge tax returns, and of course run itself like a business so it doesn't go broke. This is where marketing comes in particularly in the early days of establishing a practice.

A medical business has many of the same concerns as any other business however there are also some special factors for example insurance is usually much higher than in other industries and there are also ethical (and legal) considerations one must consider in terms of the claims that you make about your business and the treatment it provides.

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