There’s a lot that goes into creating a productive, profitable private practice schedule that’s sustainable in the long term. You need to find a balance between the demands of your patient population and your personal preferences for working hours. Before you open your doors and begin scheduling appointments, consider the following factors.
Your lifestyle and work style can dictate your private practice schedule to a degree, as long as you’re still able to meet the demands of your patients. Are you slow to get moving in the morning? Have small kids at home? You might want to consider working evenings and weekends and leaving some weekdays free. If you’re not a night owl, you still have a few different options for configuring your days. You can choose to work long hours a few days a week and take longer weekends, or stick closer to a traditional 9-5 schedule to maximize time spent with a partner or friends who work office jobs.
You should also keep your burnout threshold in mind when creating a schedule. If you’re fresh out of medical school you might have no problem working several long days in a row and taking a three day weekend. If you’re coming from a larger practice where you’ve been working more traditional hours, consider the fact that longer days or working evenings may take some adjusting to.
It’s crucial to consider your patient population when creating a schedule. Offering extended office hours could be more convenient for working patients and could give you a leg up over local competition. Many patients appreciate the ability to swing by after work for a 6:00 appointment rather than asking their boss to leave during the work day. Building in time for last minute appointments can also mean happier patients who spend less time in urgent care for simple ailments.
When you’re putting together your schedule, don’t forget to account for all of the additional work that a private practice brings. Your time is not just about patient hours anymore, you also need to set aside some time for administrative duties, marketing, billing, and other tasks related to the business side of your practice.
If this all sounds overwhelming, don’t forget the option of hiring staff to handle some of this extra workload. You can budget staff salaries into your business start up funding plan, or reach out to Bankers Healthcare Group to learn how a medical working capital loan can help cover hiring expenses while your practice gets going.