How to Start a Virtual Practice: How to Get Started and Benefits

Ashleigh Knowles
Ashleigh Knowles
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Setting up a Virtual Practice

Being your own boss is one of the most rewarding experiences you can ever have as a healthcare practitioner, yet many health professionals shy away from it; especially in the online sphere! We recognize that it can be overwhelming when thinking of starting your own virtual practice, and we won’t lie to you, it can definitely be challenging at times! However, don’t let your insecurities get in the way and ruin what could be an amazing move for your career. With the right help and resources, you can easily build a telehealth practice from scratch, and make strong connections with clients. You can earn an income on your own time, and often earn without limits on your salary. Virtual business means you can work from home, and deliver high-quality treatment from the comfort of your pocket without incurring costly overhead expenses. Telehealth tools also allow you to streamline your workflow, manage documents, and bill all from one place, which is excellent support for when you are just starting out. There’s a whole world out there, and with proper research, budgeting, and professional guidance, you can quickly create a network and foster the necessary business skills to enable you to succeed. 

The benefit of moving your practice online

There are a multitude of benefits to moving your healthcare practice online; especially in this COVID-ridden climate. With the right tools and practice management, you can consider expanding your horizons to new heights and reaching more clients than ever before. 

Low cost - Running a virtual practice is one of the cheapest moves your business can make. Because everything is online, you don’t have to pay for overhead expenses such as renting physical offices (and everything else that accompanies this!), and you also don’t need to spend money traveling to and from your appointments. This means you have a much higher disposable income to invest elsewhere

Greater flexibility - Being online means you can schedule and reschedule according to your own time with minimal to no fallout. You can meet with clients from any place and time, and make convenience a priority.

Increase revenue - Naturally, you can leverage this flexibility to your advantage, and by seeing as many clients as you wish (even outside of operating hours), you can increase your revenue and profit. Of course, this is always ideal and enables you to add financial value elsewhere. 

Broaden clientele - You can now reach out to those in isolated or rural communities, meaning that you can expand and grow your client list more than ever before. You can communicate with a more diverse range of clients, and help those who truly need it. 

High efficiency - With the help of practice management tools, you can actually simplify your workflow and keep manual, repetitive tasks to a minimum. You can improve your productivity, quality of care, as well as client satisfaction!

Challenges running an online practice

While there are obvious benefits to virtual care, it’s important to recognize that there are also clear challenges. Going virtual presents its own cons, and although they can be overcome, it’s critical that you’re aware of them so you can implement the right preventive measures. 

Complicated IT integration - Most virtual practices should be able to integrate with the technological infrastructures of your current business. This means that you should be able to transfer patient data and information and have a seamless transition to a virtual platform. However, this isn’t always the case, and the transition can become quite tricky when essential tools don’t implement smoothly. 

Cyberattacks - Virtual practices naturally contribute to your information being more vulnerable to cyberattacks, hacks, and data leakages, which can be incredibly nasty. Not only can this damage your reputation, but it can also be troublesome and rather complex to deal with. Luckily, with the right HIPAA measures, you can significantly reduce these chances.

Limited examinations - For some healthcare disciplines, it’s significantly more difficult to conduct physical examinations. This can impact the quality of care and treatment, which impose considerable barriers for you to overcome in some instances.

Insurance ambiguity - Some insurance companies don’t always cover telehealth services, which can be frustrating (and sometimes confusing) to deal with. 

Getting started with virtual care

Nevertheless, despite these challenges, you’ll likely find that the benefits far outweigh the costs; especially considering the low-entry barriers. For you to get started as a virtual practice, there are some essentials that you should definitely consider implementing:

High-quality camera and microphone - Video conferencing is central to the use of telehealth services, so it’s important that you have a high-resolution camera. Your clients will need to be able to see you clearly, especially when showing medical imagery or physical materials that must be seen. You must also have working audio that picks up all your words to minimize miscommunication and clear any muffled sounds. Your patients need to be able to hear you clearly!

Practice management tools - These are your best friend when it comes to virtual care, as they allow you to manage business operations and processes without hassle. Complete payments online, generate invoices quickly, create and store clinical notes, and access all communication channels easily. It’s your one-stop shop for maximizing efficiency!

Compatible devices - Make sure that you have a mobile phone or laptop that can cope with business processes, and that you can access for daily clinical use. This ensures consistency, and that you’re able to access the necessary software to complete your work. . 

Strong internet - You also need a strong internet connection to be able to handle all your business processes. This is especially important when it comes to communicating with patients and sustaining professional relationships from your home. Without the internet, quite simply, you don’t have a business! Not to mention the frustration that comes with slow or spotty internet - so make sure you have high bandwidth.  

Best telemedicine tools

To help you on the right track, we’ve collated some of the best telemedicine tools that can significantly elevate the quality of your practice. 

Carepatron

Used by 10,000+ healthcare professionals, Carepatron is one of the leading options when it comes to practice management. Their telehealth features allow you to expand and grow your business at significant rates and enable you to deliver high-quality treatment through their various consulting channels. You can maximize efficiency and optimize your workflow pertaining to bills, payments, appointments, and clinical note storage. Regardless of your size and budget, you can reap the benefits of Carepatron, and boost your quality of care. 

Carepatron app

Zoom

A name you’ve likely heard before, Zoom is excellent for video consulting with patients and provides a low-hassle alternative. If you’re wanting the barebones, simplistic health experience, then consider Zoom’s easy-to-navigate platform. It provides the essentials for you to connect and provide care to your clients. 

Blueprint Health

Blueprint is a great practice management software tool that can aid in delivering high-quality, evidence-based care that helps you stay connected with clients. You can configure notifications to reduce no-shows, as well as develop insights that can guide business decisions. Not only this, but your clients can access a patient portal that has all relevant information accessible from just one place! 

Miro

Connect with your healthcare team from any place and time, and ensure that you can collaborate and continue strengthening professional networks. With Miro, you can brainstorm sessions, hold valuable meetings and workshops, as well as use innovative visual tools to map and research operations. 

Calendly

As any healthcare practitioner knows, it can take a lot of energy detailing your appointments and keeping track of all your commitments. Luckily, Calendly is here to help you with your time management. You can simplify your scheduling, and have any event automatically added to your calendar for easy viewing. 

Why is Digital Marketing essential to engage virtual patients

Like any business, you also need to consider your digital marketing. Even if you don’t think healthcare is the trendiest line of work out there, digital marketing is absolutely essential to grow and expand your practice. 

Establish an online presence -  Digital marketing is a core component of creating and sustaining an online presence. This means that your business can gain significant exposure, and a wider reach on social media platforms, as well as within online directories. As such, you’re also more likely to be prioritized within Google searches, which works wonders for search engine optimization purposes. 

Increase customer loyalty - Digital marketing can not only attract customers but also strengthen loyalty amongst your current clients. You can send personalized email offers, as well as engage with patients across social media channels. Staying in the conversation, and at the forefront of clients’ minds increases the chances of clients choosing you over competitors. Retention is absolutely key when it comes to healthcare!

Gain credibility - With the right content, such as blog posts that highlight your expertise, you can showcase your knowledge and stand out as a healthcare professional. This works to increase your reputation and credibility, which is always important when it comes to health. 

Easy to learn -  One of the greatest parts is that you don’t have to have a degree in marketing to succeed when it comes to digital advertising and awareness. Anyone can do it with the right resources in place.

Telehealth software

How Telehealth practices stay HIPAA complaint

You can’t talk about telehealth and virtual business without mentioning security, and the HIPAA preventive measures that must be in place. As briefly mentioned, with anything online, you’re much more vulnerable to cyberattacks, and other digital hacks and leakages. However, to combat and prevent such situations, HIPAA security can work in your favor. Referred to as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, HIPAA is a legal requirement that enforces security measures and holds healthcare businesses accountable for the protection of their patient health information. Failing to comply with its standards can result in hefty fines, which can cost anywhere from $50 to $1.5 million! They’re a huge blow to business reputations and can be detrimental to maintaining the confidentiality of patient information and data. As a result, it’s important that you always consider HIPAA at every turn across your operations. Your practice management tools must be HIPAA certified, and you must have security practices in place to protect data, and ensure only authorized users have access. Fortunately, there are an abundance of resources out there to help you, so don’t in any way feel threatened by this ‘big and scary’ law! 

Take Home Message

Starting your own virtual practice is incredibly fulfilling, and can lead to many awesome business opportunities for you to take advantage of. While it can have its challenges, as any healthcare endeavor does, it’s important that you’re aware of the many benefits that make it completely worth it. You can elevate the quality of your services, provide clients with care that meets their needs and then some, as well as increase your productivity and profit. You don’t need any particular experience to get started, and there’s always help and support along the way. Hopefully, this information has provided you with the confidence to get started, and hit the ground running when it comes to delivering valuable healthcare solutions. 

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