Running a Practice vs. Running a Business

Are you running a medical practice, or running a business? If you are an independent physician, you’re doing both. You may find that wearing two hats – clinician and entrepreneur – is extremely demanding. But for many, the rewards are well worth the sacrifices.

The Clinician Hat

As a clinician, you received years of education and training. You spent time, effort and financial resources soaking up knowledge about anatomy and physiology, diagnostic techniques, pharmacology, therapeutics, the human body and more. And the learning never ends. You continue to update your skills and knowledge by reading journals and attending conferences and lectures. Taking care of patients is one of mankind’s highest callings. It is what you have pursued with single-minded purpose.

The Business Owner’s Hat

Owning your own practice provides you with numerous benefits. You are your own boss. You make your own decisions about your patients’ care, including where they are referred should they need additional services. You can practice where you like, and work as many or as few hours as you’d like.


But those options come at a price, and that price is the tremendous responsibility of owning a business. Now, in addition to being an expert in your chosen field, you must also master a range of business functions. You must become an expert in finance, revenue cycle management, human resources, accounts receivable, information technology, inventory control, taxes, patient safety, HIPAA, billing and more.

Is Being in Private Practice Right for You?

Only you can answer that question, after carefully weighing out the pros and cons of owning your own practice versus the alternative – being employed by a large group, hospital or health system.

If you are driven to be your own boss for whatever reason, there are many resources available to help you achieve business success, even if the business aspects of owning a practice are not your strong suit. Joining an independent practice association (IPA) can bolster your negotiating power with payers and may help you with purchasing and clinical quality, among other concerns. There are many consultants who can help you with your information technology, human resources management, legal concerns and other back-office functions.

ECM, formed 15 years ago as a medical billing company, continues to provide billing and has added a suite of practice management services through its internal staff and partner relationships. Credentialing, documentation and coding, risk management, HR, revenue enhancement, government incentives & initiatives, marketing and general operations are among the areas in which ECM and its partners have extensive expertise. For additional information, including a free credentialing review, contact us or call (516) 775-8606.