5 Reasons Why Private Medical Practices Fail and What To Do About It

Medical professional putting on a latex gloveWritten by Veronica Turner.

Running a successful medical practice offers a unique set of challenges. It’s not just about being an excellent clinician, but also about mastering the art of management and client support.

From underestimating the work involved to failing to plan for the future, there are several pitfalls that often cause private practices to fail. But with strategies like refining client satisfaction rates and carving out a unique position in the market, these hurdles can be tackled efficiently.

Why Private Medical Practices Fail and What To Do About It

In the high-stakes world of private healthcare, understanding why some medical practices falter is crucial. Let’s examine five reasons and explore strategic solutions to rectify these issues.

Doctor’s Underestimate the Work Involved

Building a business from scratch is a lot of work, but many doctors underestimate this. After all, they went through medical school, so how hard could creating a business be? Unfortunately, many doctors find out the hard way that running a private practice is incredibly difficult.

The biggest issue here is that doctors assume patients will simply come to them, especially since there’s a doctor shortage in the US. Not only are patients not guaranteed, but there’s so many more doctors to worry about. If they aren’t prepared, their private practice could fail.

How Doctors Can Be More Prepared

Take stock of everything you need to do before opening up your practice. For example, you’ll need to know where your practice will be located, if you’ll take insurance, and who your ideal clients are. This will give you a better idea of how to market to your patients and customers.

Next, consider how many clinician workers you’ll have, how much you’ll pay them, and how you’ll be able to afford bills and taxes. Finally, think of the licenses and regulations you need to follow to run your practice, including HIPAA, privacy policies, and legal documents.


Low Client Satisfaction is a Rampant Problem

Doctors routinely drop the ball when it comes to client satisfaction. If you look up most private practices in your area, you’ll notice a lot of low ratings. These ratings can either come from the doctor (not listening to patients), the practice (dirty office), or the reception (rude staff members).

Costs also play a part as to why private practices don’t pay attention to customer satisfaction. However, if you don’t spend money on keeping your clients, you’re going to lose them. Not only that, but there’s a possibility they’ll leave a negative review that deters future patients.

How to Improve Client Satisfaction Rates

The first thing you need to do is to follow the best patient retention strategies. You’ll need to return phone calls and emails quickly, create an easy-to-navigate website, and clean your office. Make sure you focus on client confidentiality and building an online scheduling system.

And above all else, hire good doctors. Your doctors should be able to listen to their patients and take their concerns seriously. They should have the time to sit with the patient. If your patients feel rushed or glossed over, you’ll have a hard time keeping your private practice open.


The Medical Practice Isn’t Unique or Informative

Doctor shortages are a massive problem, but this doesn’t mean patients will automatically sign up for your private practice. And even if they do, they won’t stay long. To actually attract clients and pull them away from your competition, you’ll have to do something unique and noteworthy.

And what if your patients can’t even find you when they look you up online? If they can’t locate your number or address or whether or not you’re accepting new patients, you’ll just frustrate and confuse your patients. Not only that, but they’ll feel like their time is being wasted.

How to Separate Yourself From the Competition

First, take a look at what other private medical practices are offering in your area. You should at least offer the services they do. Alternatively, you could be known for something. For example, if no one offers a blood lab on site, then it’s a great idea to provide this service to your patients.

Keep in mind that uniqueness won’t matter much if you don’t market your services appropriately. On your website and social media, and on traditional media, think about how you’d want your patients to remember you. Make advertisements that show what you value and how you’ll help.


Lack of Planning for Future Growth

All business owners need to have a present and future mindset. The present mindset is essential for preserving your reputation and keeping client satisfaction high. The future mindset is vital for attracting new clients and ensuring that you keep growing (or don’t go backward).

Without a growth mindset, it’ll be difficult for doctors to stay in the game. This is why goal setting is so important. If you don’t know where you’re going, it’ll be hard to get there. On top of this, you need to set the right goals. Aim too high or low, and you won’t reach what you set out to do.

How to Create Goals With Your Analytics

You can start by actually tracking your analytics by using tools like Google Analytics. From there, you can establish your key performance indicators or KPIs. These could include total appointments in a month, total gross income in a month, and customer satisfaction scores.

Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals to figure out what you want to achieve. A SMART goal could be, “I want to improve my customer satisfaction score by 25% in 2 months by calling clients back within 1 hour after leaving a message.”


Not Being Flexible or Adaptive

One of the most frustrating things a patient could ever experience is when a doctor isn’t up-to-date with research. Some doctors, for example, still tell concussion patients to avoid all stimuli within the first 48 days of the accident when this is proven to worsen symptoms.

A doctor’s lack of knowledge can affect their relationship with the patient and potentially hurt them. And even when a lack of flexibility isn’t this serious, it can still impact growth. For example, practices need to know about new marketing strategies to be successful.

How to Change With the Times

Make it mandatory for doctors to stay up-to-date with new medical information. Doctors should be tested to see if they can communicate with patients responsibly. If a doctor under your care provides poor medical advice, it’ll affect your patients, your bottom line, and your reputation.

Consider hiring a marketing team to find different ways to connect with your customers. Plenty of private practices are using tools like TikTok to connect with younger audiences. Also, consider writing a blog to improve your organic reach. This will help you populate on Google.


In Conclusion…

Navigating the complexities of running a private medical practice can be challenging, but with the right mindset and strategies, you’re more than equipped to turn obstacles into opportunities.

Remember not to underestimate the work involved, keep a keen eye on client satisfaction rates, and always stay unique and adaptive to changes. With meticulous planning for future growth guided by reliable analytics, success is just around the corner, no matter where you operate.


Author’s Bio: Veronica Turner is a health and lifestyle writer with over 10 years of experience. She creates compelling content on nutrition, fitness, mental health, and overall wellness.




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Case Management Education: Medical Audits: What You Need To Know To Survive One


Introduction to medical audits and why they exist

Medical audits can help a medical practice objectively review its employees’ practices of diagnosis, billing, consumption of materials, and time usage. These are all components of quality medical care and profitable operations, and must be balanced for the good of the practice. It is possible to discover weaknesses in a medical practices procedures and care before that weakness is able to be discerned by actual patients or their care through the findings of a diligent medical audit.

Why medical audits are needed

To ensure profitability of a medical practice, the business must find a method of measuring performance of personnel, justifying monetary and time expenditures, and quantifying adherence to accepted standards of care to patients. An efficient way of keeping track of these dissimilar matters is by accurate charting procedures by all staff. That chart record establishes a course of treatment for each patient and forms a traceable medical record of a patient’s treatment history. EHR migration is becoming more popular in the medical field, and requires strict attention to detail. Moving records online makes it easier to store and access data for further treatment or audits. Being able to audit a medical office’s activities can provide a detailed history of the care given to a specific patient and the cost of that care. Those are vital facts for anyone coordinating the operations of a medical office.


What is covered; how to prepare, and how to benefit from an audit

Prior to beginning a medical audit, a medical office beginning such an audit should start with a vision of what is to be looked at, looked for, and what the results should represent. It is always important to be able to identify that a practice can migrate properly within the established standard for those records. It is also important to ascertain the level of quality to be achieved and how to reach that level if it is not reached at the time of the audit.


It is important to have a quality standard to aspire to when beginning an audit. That way, future goals can be set using the results of your medical audit to improve your operations and elevate your standard of care. By using the audit as record of how the medical practice is performing and serving its patients as well as its own business interests, a medical audit can serve as a quality control study to highlight the state of the practice. Future operations and practice decisions can result from studying the outcome of a medical audit and determining what the medical practice needs.


In conclusion, medical audits are something that can help your practice and the medical industry. Audits help you ensure that all physicians are following proper procedures for charting etc. With the digitization of most records, it’s not surprising that the medical industry is also following that trend. This can be good news as far as audits go, and storing medical records securely online can make them easier to organize and access for the future. Before beginning your audit, remember to have a vision of what you want your company to be like. Encourage employees that this is a great learning opportunity to help everyone become better and more efficient.

Emma is a freelance writing currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2



Please also review our Case Management Education program to learn more