Medical or dental practice start-ups need careful thought and planning.
Knowing how to respond to the needs of patients in the best possible way and providing a practice which reflects a positive culture is very important.
Here are 12 questions to begin:
Your Patient Community:
Consider what this community will be like:
1. Who are the people you want to provide your medical services to? For instance, mainly young families, seniors, migrant groups?
2. What surrounding locations will they come from?
3. What will be their main patient needs and fears?
4. How can you give them the experience that they want?
5. If there are wide cultural diversities within this group, how will your practice cater for them?
What is going to be your point of difference?
6. Are you intending to offer allied services within the practice? For instance, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Psychology services?
7. Are you going to connect with the community in a way that other competitive practices don’t? For instance, involving the practice in charity events, donating your time or services for a fundraiser, speaking to local school, mothers or seniors groups – all these connect you positively with patients outside the traditional medical environment.
8. Are you going to establish an online presence for your patient community? For instance, would you comment on the latest research via Twitter or Facebook, or would you consider educating patients about practice updates, wellness or topical issues via a regularly emailed newsletter?
What type of physical atmosphere do you want to create?
9. How do you want your patients to feel when they come into space? No doubt, comfortable will be an answer, but beyond that, do you want them to feel confident in your services, uplifted by the physical atmosphere, entertained while they wait?
10. How can the practice design and layout avoid the fast-factory feel of a corporate style practice and offer a more personalised atmosphere?
11. What space requirements do you need to provide an efficient service for your patients? Think about how a patient and carer will move within the space – traffic flow is all-important.
12. How can you ensure privacy and security within the space? Will you isolate particular areas like treatment rooms and will you consider acoustic materials to ensure noise control?
These 12 questions are only starters with more to follow later, but they highlight that interaction, involvement and knowledge will get you well along the way towards developing a practice that attracts patients and keeps them.