Do you remember the very first day you ‘opened shop’ in your Private Practice?
Can you recall the excitement, or nervous energy of seeing your very first patient?
Maybe you remember the proud moment when you launched your website, or how you enjoyed choosing brand colours?
Do you still feel the same way, or has your Private Practice enthusiasm dwindled?
I’m on a mission to make Private Practice fun again.
Many Clinicians have taken, or are still taking a battering, as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic. Some have shared with me that they are going to struggle to pay personal or corporation tax this year, and are now also approaching the time of having to start bounce back loan repayments.
It’s hard to enjoy Private Practice when you’re in a place of fear, but I want to encourage you to keep looking forwards. Remember that the patients haven’t gone anywhere, and with huge NHS waiting times, now, more than ever, they are going to need your help.
So, if you’ve been feeling a bit glum or resentful, here are my top tips for getting you Private Practice Mojo back.
Mojo tip #1: Revisit why you got into Private Practice in the first place.
For many Clinicians, Private Practice is about earning a good living, but it’s also about freedom.
Freedom to work in the way you would like to (free from the tangle of other people’s politics). Freedom to run your clinics the way you’d like to, and to see the patients you want to see (and not see the patients you don’t want to). Freedom to design your working week and time off, around the life you want to be leading.
Recently, one of my amazing physio colleagues said that he calls himself a “lifestyle” physio (i.e. he fits the physio around his life) and sometimes he feels guilty for not seeing more patients. I think he’s got Private Practice exactly right. His practice serves him (and his patients), and not the other way around.
Ask yourself, if you have to continue working in the same manner for the next ten years, will you be very content, or pretty frustrated? If it’s the latter, (and also if you need it) I give you permission to make some big changes.. more of that later…
Mojo tip #2: Get rid of what you don’t like doing. Aka kill your admin.
I’m going to call out the biggest time waster and number one bug bear for a significant proportion of Clinicians in Private Practice. It’s called admin. I see far too many Clinicians swallowed up with the burden of admin. Outside of the time I spend in the room with the patients, I do two hours of admin per week. Just two (and I can see 50+ patients per week).
Those two hours breakdown as: 30 minutes of answering patient emails (that only I can answer), 30 minutes of going through the week’s investigation results and correspondence from colleagues, and 60 minutes liaising with Physios, Osteos, Podiatrists, Surgeons and S & C coaches.
How do I do this? I dictate a 30 second letter as the patient is leaving (which is the also the clinical “notes” for that consultation), and the rest is outsourced. The transcription, the emailing out of the letters, the patient requests and appointment booking, and of course, the billing.
So many physios and osteos in particular, are spending HOURS and HOURS each week, because they’ve never embraced outsourcing. If this is you (and I’m going to say the following with compassion and love), you’ve probably been hiding behind one of these excuses:
a) “It costs too much”. Admin outsourcing is a necessary business investment. Your hourly rate will always be vastly higher than that of a medical administrator. What would you rather do? See one extra follow up patient per day to cover the admin cost, or drag an hour’s admin home with you at the end of the day? By doing the admin yourself, you are actually losing your practice money.
Don’t want to stay for that extra patient? Raise your prices!
Don’t know how you’re going to get that extra patient? You’ll be freeing up time to do the one non-clinical thing you should be doing – marketing your practice!
b) “I’m not great at dictating”. Give it one week, and you’ll be a pro. It’s only talking afterall, plus, you don’t need any fancy equipment – your smart phone makes an amazing Dictaphone.
c) “I can’t afford a whole medsec”. You don’t have to. Medical admin isn’t just for Doctors – you can hire part-time or by the hour services, plus have the added advantage that there’s also someone available who can answer the phone. If you’re trying to do this yourself, you’ll be losing patients who’ll pass along to the next person when you can’t pickup.
Mojo tip #3: Find yourself a tribe.
Private Practice can be a lonely place if you let it. It can also be competitive and confrontational. If you’ve previously worked in the NHS, or someone else’s clinic, you’ll have had a network of other Clinicians you could turn to if you needed advice or a friendly face after a harsh day.
In Private Practice, you need to find your Tribe, and be proactive about it. You need to surround yourself with a group of like-minded Clinicians you can bounce ideas off, get biz tips from, and grab a beer or coffee with. Don’t sit alone in your clinic room, reach out to peers, and Clinicians in different disciplines. Expand your network, and learn from others’ experiences.
So reflect on where you are now, and if you’re looking to make a change in your Private Practice, why not join the Private Practice Ninja Academy? Learn how to grow a flourishing practice, with help and support of a community of amazing Clinicians.