Opening a private practice is considered one of the most challenging undertakings for healthcare professionals, but it is also seen as one of the most valuable and rewarding accomplishments. There are many obstacles and risks which come hand in hand with running a private practice.
Here is an overview of 6 areas where you can mitigate risks.
Work within your area of expertise
Understanding and working within the boundaries of your expertise sounds simple right? However, it’s not always as straightforward as you would anticipate, especially when dealing with generalist fields. As health professionals, we have a responsibility to always be aware of the limitations of our training and experience and work in those areas where you have the appropriate expertise, and it is within the scope of the practice. If in doubt, it’s always advisable to get a second opinion or look towards a possible referral.
Get consent always
Having the appropriate consent documentation and process in place is crucial for all private practice owners! It is important to be organised and diligent about having the correct client information, consent and acknowledgement forms signed prior to commencing treatment. Make sure the form outlines your guidelines, expectations of service and any potential limitations with confidentiality and that your client understands what they are signing and is provided with guidance if required.
Are you storing your client and business documentation correctly? Whether you are using paper or electronic filing, your record keeping and how you maintain documentation is essential to providing proper ongoing care and management of your clients. Securing sensitive information, safeguarding against unauthorised use, protection from disclosure and loss and backing up your electronic files are a priority for all private practices. Make sure you are aware of the current legal standards and best practice guidelines for your field and create a set of processes and procedures whereby you create accurate, timely and clear records that are easily accessible.
There has been much discussion about the potential for billing practices to be misleading, especially amongst specialist fields and its negative impact on business reputation and the health industry as a whole. What can we do about it? Yes, we are governed by legal guidelines, but it’s also vital for all practice owners to communicate to their clients that they are consciously implementing good business and billing practices that are up to date, transparent and ethical.
Insurance – maintain
As a private practice owner, insurance coverage is one of the fundamental prerequisites we need to organise from day one of opening for business. We expose ourselves to specific risks and liabilities which is why it’s so important to have the correct types of insurance in place. There are a variety of required and recommended insurance options which can be customised to fit your particular needs as a business.
- Public Liability Insurance
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- Third party personal injury insurance
- Professional Indemnity Insurance.
- Cyber Liability Insurance
- Personal or loss of income insurance
- Stock, Products and Asset Insurance
Join relevant associations
Joining relevant associations is a wise investment for any private practice owner. There are a number of societies, associations and bodies which can promote and support you throughout your career. You will be most familiar with leading professional bodies, which are a requirement in many fields. More often than not relevant associations also provide an extensive range of benefits and business support services including legislative representation, networking opportunities, cost savings with insurance, online discussion forums, industry news, research, best practices and updates, resources for education and accreditations.