In order to stay independent from a hospital or other major medical institution, there are certain things that you'll need to do. Here are some practical tips that we recommend you follow.
1) Excel in Patient Relations
Being recognized for your quality of care and ability to work with patients has many benefits, but perhaps the most significant bonus is forming relationships with your patients. When they enjoy their care at your facility, they're much more likely to return in the future and tell their family and friends about it, allowing you to build up the kind of sustained patient base necessary for your operations to continue.
2) Offer Special Services
Your practice could have something that separates you from your competition. This can take many forms, but offering a service that other practices don't do is a great way to get the attention of potential patients. Consider offering care during the evening or at night (many people work during the day, or work nights and sleep during the day) or trying to find some other sort of unique service.
3) Implement Firm Financial Controls
As an independent entrepreneur, you have less money to spend on things than a larger practice or a hospital would have that has multiple income sources. Keep an eye on your finances and be sure you can account for each transaction. This can help you avoid fraud and collect payments in a regulated manner.
4) Negotiate Contracts
Take advantage of your relationship with hospitals and PHOs to access managed care contracts that are favorable to you. You can also work with other physician group associations to negotiate with insurance providers for better liability coverage contracts and also with product distributors for better supply contracts.
5) Hire Other Physicians to Help Expand Your Practice
This is one of the best ways to offer additional services that set you apart from others. By having other sub-specialty physicians in the practice you can expand your area of coverage of patient needs and have someone available that you can rely on to cover for you when you take time off.
6) Explore Different Business Models
Consider various business models outside of traditional medical practice forms and search for things that suit the way you want to do business. There are more and more options to consider and it is important to seriously consider each option before you implement it or set it aside.
7) Join a Group
As an independent, you may lack certain advantages that hospital-based surgeons enjoy, but this doesn't mean you have to do everything alone. One of the best ways to increase your voice is to join up with other independent surgeons and approach the problems you face as a larger group. While this may sound similar to working at a hospital, you will still have more of a say in how your practice is run, but with the added advantage of being able to reduce overhead and operating costs and having access to greater support.
HIS is a physician management organization that specializes in revenue cycle management and technology services for Orthopaedic practices. HIS has created a comprehensive infrastructure and suite of services (group purchasing, contracting/licensing, revenue cycle management, practice management, coding, IT, PACS, EHR, consulting, data hosting, etc.) that practices can leverage in order to stay independent. HIS also can manage and lead your efforts for strategic mergers or partnerships / alliances.
Our organization is based on mutually shared success and we currently manage the revenue cycle of over 450 providers, including well over 150 Orthopaedic Surgeons. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.