Entrepreneurship in Healthcare Part 1: Is Ownership Right For You?

Entrepreneurship in Healthcare Part 1: Is Ownership Right For You?

Apr 25, 2024 | Practice Management

Healthcare professionals often reach a crossroads in their career where they must choose between various professional paths. One significant decision you may face is whether to step into the world of healthcare entrepreneurship. In this three-part series, we’ll explore several facets of entrepreneurship in the healthcare industry, including how to know if business ownership is for you, and what leaders in functional medicine are doing to create successful practices. 

Is Business Ownership Right for You?

Owning your own practice or joining a healthcare group are both viable options, but they come with different responsibilities and opportunities. When deciding if entrepreneurship is the right path for you within the healthcare industry, there are several important factors to consider.

Working in a Healthcare System vs. Independent Practice

Joining a large healthcare system can offer stability and an established set of processes, but it may also provide less personal autonomy. Physicians and healthcare professionals are expected to adopt the systems and protocols already in place. 

On the flip side, owning an independent practice gives you the freedom to make decisions and allows you to tailor care more personally to each patient. Many healthcare entrepreneurs enjoy this level of autonomy, even if it requires a willingness to handle the multifaceted aspects of running a business.

Models of Care

Exploring various models of care can help clarify the level of personal interaction and treatment style that suits you best.

Most practices operate with traditional fee-for-service models, where patients pay per visit or treatment. Patients tend to work with one PCP, who can refer them to specialists if they require specialized care.

Bigger systems often utilize managed care models like HMOs and PPOs, which offer a network of healthcare providers and facilities as part of an insurance package.

There is a growing demand for concierge healthcare services, which generally involve a retainer or membership fee from patients. This model allows practitioners to provide enhanced care availability and attention, usually with a limited number of patients.

Direct Primary Care, Direct Care or Cash-Based Care share similarities with concierge medicine, focusing on a fee-for-service or service packages. This model often bypasses insurance for a closer doctor-patient relationship and allows the healthcare provider the option to tailor protocols, stepping outside the managed-care framework to address unique patient needs.

When choosing how to provide care and accept payment it is key to determine which dynamic aligns most closely with your values and the needs of the community you serve.

Balancing Patient Care with Business Management

One of the significant challenges of healthcare entrepreneurship is finding the balance between delivering high-quality patient care and managing the day-to-day practice operations. This dual role demands that healthcare entrepreneurs are not only clinicians, but also have a level of business acumen – from understanding healthcare laws and regulations to managing finances, hiring staff, and marketing services effectively.

When contemplating whether healthcare entrepreneurship is for you, it can be helpful to understand if your skills and interests lean towards business management or strictly patient care. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself, to clarify your strengths and professional aspirations:

  • Are you excited about the idea of making strategic decisions, driving business growth, and tackling administrative responsibilities?
  • Are you comfortable with the level of financial risk and uncertainty that often comes with business ownership?
  • Do you enjoy innovating and implementing changes, or do you prefer the comfort of established systems and routines?
  • Does your professional fulfillment come from directly caring for each patient, or does the idea of shaping a broader team to deliver quality patient care appeal to you?

Managing All Aspects of Patient Care

Often, the motivation behind pursuing practice ownership comes down to a practitioner’s desire to deliver customized and patient-centric care. If you have a holistic approach to healthcare, you may find it important to manage all aspects, integrating various treatments and preventative measures that might not be as easily executed within a larger healthcare system. Additionally, practice ownership gives you the ability to make practice-wide decisions, so you can quickly adopt new technology or treatment options, respond to patient feedback, and ensure you meet the needs of your specific patient base.

Whether your practice embraces functional medicine, chiropractic care, or integrative clinical approaches, the decision to venture independently creates an opportunity for you to manage the patient experience from beginning to end. This may be accomplished by hiring the right people or forming strategic partnerships to deliver optimal patient care.

Support For Healthcare Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship in the healthcare industry can be a rewarding path for those who value autonomy and personalizing their patient care. However, it also requires a solid understanding of business principles and a commitment to managing both patient and administrative demands. Join us next month to learn more about the innovative ways healthcare leaders utilize tools, technology, and value-added services to grow their businesses!