How to Open a Clinic: Software, Logistics and Team Management

May 06, 2024

You’ve likely heard the well-worn quote from Jim Rohn that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If you’re opening your first clinic, that saying definitely applies to your clinic associates and team management. Your clinic’s reputation rests in the hands of your front desk staff and team members, so it’s important to hire wisely.  

In addition to hiring the right staff, choosing the right software and clinic space can smooth out some of the wrinkles in opening your first clinic. While this decision may seem high-stakes, learning from the experiences of others can take some of the pressure and mental load off.

Learn how to open a clinic from experts

This blog is the second in a series on how to open a clinic. In this series, you’ll find wisdom from practitioners who have been there and done that — and advice from experts along the way. 

The first blog covers foundations such as privacy, security, and pitching your business for funding. 

The third blog in this series outlines how to find and retain patients not just for you but also for your associates.

Let’s find out how to find the right location, software, and staff first.

Location and facility planning for your clinic

Choosing where to put your health clinic is another big decision. Here are some items to consider when creating a care destination that is patient-friendly and highly functional:  

  • Each city and state has its zoning laws. Before you sign a lease or purchase agreement, ensure your practice can do business in the intended location. 
  • Accessibility is essential to accommodate clients with different needs. For example, are there ramps and elevators for those with mobility issues? Is it on a public transportation route for those who don’t have cars? 
  • Can your staff get to work quickly? Is there ample parking for clients, staff, and partners? Do people have to pay for parking, and if so, how much? 
  • What types of built-in amenities does the space offer? Are there bathrooms clients can use? Do you need changing tables and quiet nursing areas for parents with young babies? 
  • How many rooms do you require? Will practitioners in your clinic share offices or need their own? How will you safeguard clients’ privacy in treatment spaces? Do you need large common spaces to offer other services and programs?

For example, a postpartum support coach and lactation consultant might want to expand their services to offer pre-birth pelvic floor preparation classes or gentle yoga for new moms, both of which require a larger communal space.

A woman reading a magazine in a waiting room. Opening a clinic means finding the right space.
Your clinic space can take many different forms, but it should be accessible and suit the needs of your practitioners
  • You’ll also want to consider the competitive saturation in the areas you are evaluating. Note that nearby competitive practices don’t necessarily preclude you from setting up shop. 

Let’s go back to our postpartum support example. This practitioner may want to be physically near the hospital, even if competitors are located there too, as proximity to the hospital makes it easier to hop over to support clients who have just given birth. 

Set up clinic operations with great practice management software

You could invest in several different siloed solutions to run your health clinic, but having all your tools in a single practice management software will simplify and streamline your operations. 

Dr. Jaime de Melo at Evolve Medical agrees.

“We wanted to keep our software stack to a minimum. We found that using multiple platforms actually decreased efficiency.”

Jaime de Melo, BSc, ND

What are the benefits of practice management software for clinics? Here’s a high-level view:

  • Collaborate easily with other staff in your clinic to better promote client success. For example, you can securely share files, messages, forms, templates, and more with the Practice Better Teams Plan.
  • Access the information you need during consultations and keep detailed notes in one place with a single EHR that securely stores all client health records.
  • Reduce repetitive work and double-entries across different software systems. 
  • Streamline support and training through a single technology partner.
  • Scale your software as your clinic grows to accommodate increased patient volume or new offerings, like online courses. 
  • Keep clients’ private health information safe and secure (and regulators happy). According to Melissa Parker, Nutritionist with the Dr. Kara Fitzgerald team, privacy is non-negotiable.

“Maintaining efficiency and secure medical records via our computer systems is an invaluable necessity.” 

Melissa Parker, CNS

The right practice management software can speed up your work, while too many platforms or overly complicated systems can slow you down. It might take some trial and error to land on the right solution, but keep at it. Your team will thank you and your schedule will lighten.

Smooth out scheduling, billing, and patient management

Your practice management software should offer online booking, automated reminders, and the ability to manage multiple practitioner’s schedules without requiring a massive time commitment.

Dr. Jaime de Melo wanted his practice management software to make it easier for clients to interact with his clinic. 

“One of our goals was to streamline the onboarding process to make it very easy for patients to sign up for our service, book visits, and start the intake process,” he says. “We wanted folks to be able to book appointments from anywhere, anytime.

Practice Better’s automation tools and packages feature really helped with this.”

Keep payments flowing

Integrated billing and invoicing, including secure payment processing, makes it easier to get paid no matter what that looks like: 

  • Collect credit card details in advance and store them securely for future sessions.
  • Automate invoicing and receipts. 
  • Submit and manage insurance claims by integrating insurance with your EHR. 
  • Use built-in reporting to keep close tabs on financial health.

Building and managing a team

If you open a health clinic, you must prioritize team collaboration and communication to keep your business running smoothly and future-proof. 

Dr. de Melo’s group practice offers nurse practitioner and health coaching services, which have very different frequencies of care. As a result, he invested a lot of time in working out the team structure. 

“Nurse practitioner visits are important for ordering and reviewing lab tests, as well as prescribing medication and providing care oversight. Health coaching care is incredibly powerful at helping to facilitate behavior change,”

Jaime de Melo, BSc, ND

“We needed to create a standard model for how often patients would receive care from nurse practitioners and health coaches for their subscription price, but also maintain some flexibility to book extra visits. Having a subscription package with different types of practitioners is something we do differently from a solo practice.” says de Melo.

Recruiting qualified professionals for your clinic

Job postings are one way to recruit staff to your clinic, but don’t forget about other channels at your disposal:  

  • Posting on your social media channels is free and can expose your team openings to a larger audience.
  • Tap into your network. They may be following your social channels, but you can reach out in other ways. Your network can be an excellent source of referrals for highly qualified candidates who are looking for something other than a new role but are up for a change.
  • Interview as a group. If there are others on your team who will work closely with a potential hire, bring them into the process.
  • You don’t always have to hire for every role. You could partner with other practitioners in your network to offer complementary care of grouped services. 

Establishing a collaborative and patient-focused team culture

It’s about more than just hiring people with the right qualifications. You want the professionals you work with to align with your approach and values. 

  • Look for candidates who demonstrate professionalism, integrity, teamwork, and a commitment to high-quality patient care.
  • Soft skills matter, too – like communication, empathy, and problem-solving. 
  • Be sure to define everyone’s roles and responsibilities upfront to avoid surprises and slowdowns.
  • Keep the channels of communication open and flowing both ways.

Melissa Parker also suggests training your team members thoroughly on your processes and systems. 

“Do your research, make sure that everyone in the practice is in agreement and properly trained on all systems, and update systems regularly,” says Parker. “Also, make sure you communicate with your team openly on a regular basis.” 

Start hiring and building the clinic of your dreams

Your communication skills honed through your clinical work can make you a terrific manager. Then, if you recruit the right software and find your favorite space, you’re well on your way to setting up a sustainable business.

Still hungry for more clinic set-up strategies? The next post in this series outlines how to market to your clinic’s future patients and how to keep them fans for life.  

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