The medical company I work for is expanding into two new facilities next week. While this is a wonderful expansion opportunity for our company, I'm very surprised by the amount of planning and preparation that has gone into the start-up.
I've been involved with some of the training of the new physical therapist who will be practicing at the new clinics. I will also be on site with him the first week of "go-live," when the clinic doors open. During his recent training, I have come up with many lists (classic Lisa) of things we will need to do during the first week of practice. As I have been involved in this clinic development, I thought a lot about the challenges and complexities of opening a physical therapy clinic. My situation is a little different in that it is an entire medical facility, including fitness staff, but the concept of opening a new facility intrigued me.
We have many lists of the supplies and equipment needed at a new facility, as well as orientation lists and lists of contact numbers for staff. What I was not able to find was a list of actual tasks that needed to be completed the first day, such as setting up voicemail, installing printers and faxes, or establishing a clinic operations sheet. Now, I know some of these items are specific to our medical group, but the concept is the same for everyone -- how do you know you aren't missing something when you open a physical therapy clinic?
Opening a clinic involves a lot of research, especially in terms of location and real estate. Ordering equipment can be as difficult or as simple as the owner decides. Supplies can be as basic as a treatment table, laptop and one piece of quality exercise equipment all the way to various types of therapy bands, customized letterheads and logos, software and billing systems to electronic documentation. Finding patients to use your clinic doesn't seem to be a problem among most therapists I know -- physical therapy clinics are very busy places to be. The truth of the matter is that the quality and expertise of the physical therapist will have the ultimate impact on the success of the clinic, more so than any of the other components.
Have you ever opened a physical therapy clinic before? What was the most difficult part? Do you have any advice to someone opening a clinic?