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The Many Problems That Go With Owning A Private Practice

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By Author: Tom Hunt
Total Articles: 8
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Running a private medical practice of any description involves a lot of hard work. You’ve trained and qualified as a doctor over several years, and you may well have spent more years training in a speciality, so when you enter private practice – perhaps after many years working in the NHS – you deserve to earn the rewards.
However, the realisation may have dawned on you before you went into private practice, or you may not have understood all of the complications that can be involved. In effect you now own, or are a partner in, a business, and that is great in several respects. It means that you can work the hours that suit you, you can charge your patients whatever rates you feel that you deserve, and you will certainly earn more than you would in the NHS because there are no restrictions.
However, along with that come a number of problems that never concerned you in the NHS because it simply wasn’t part of the system. Chief of these, of course, is that when you operate a business you have to ensure that you get paid. Many a business has gone under – not just in the healthcare sector, but in many others - for the simple reason that the business owners or directors made mistakes. That can also happen even if the owners didn’t make mistakes but were the unfortunate victims of circumstance.
One classic mistake is to rely too much on one customer. There is an old rule that states that you should never, under any circumstances, have more than 15% of your turnover with one customer. The reasoning is that if that customer went broke, or just decided to take his business elsewhere, you could probably survive. Any more than 15%, and if you lose the business, you will probably not survive.
Then there are circumstances outside the control of a business. Let’s think about HS2 for a moment. Billions of pounds of government money are to be invested, but let’s say that the government – which is now a new one – decided to pull the plug on HS2. Hundreds, if not thousands, of small companies would go to the wall as a result because they put their faith in HS2 and never even considered that something like that could happen.
All right, when you run a private medical practice it’s not the same as working for HS2, but nonetheless you are running a business, and one of the most vital things is to ensure that your patients pay you. There is a lot of administration involved in the raising and sending of invoices, receiving payment (hopefully), and dealing with all the paperwork that requires. Then there are patients who don’t pay on time who need to be followed up with statements, letters, phone calls, and so on, all of which takes time.
What happens if you have been treating a patient at considerable expense and that patient should die? Your chances of getting payment are remote, to say the least. It’s something you may not have expected and couldn’t allow for, but nonetheless it has an effect on your receivables.
That is just one aspect of operating a private medical practice. You also have to send patients to hospital, to clinics, to specialist in certain therapies, keep perfect records, produce repeat prescriptions at the right time, and a whole lot more.
All of this has nothing to do with your medical skills, but comes under the heading of “admin”, which is why you need a private medical practice system that can handle it for you. Today you can obtain software that will deal with many of the day to day routine admin for you which will considerably reduce the amount of hours you have to spend on essential, but tedious, “paperwork”, just to keep your practice running.
If you haven’t investigated a private medical practice system that can deal with all your admin, or you have one which only handles part of your needs, there are several software companies that produce systems which can deal with everything for you – many of them designed by doctors who are very familiar with all of the requirements of a private practice and have designed the software based on practical experience.

PPM Software is a company that has been producing software for private practices for over 20 years and is constantly upgrading their private medical practice system so that private practices can have nothing but the very latest technology.

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