We spoke to a GP from a general medical practice located on the Mornington Peninsula about the secrets to a successful medical practice and what to look for when buying a business in this field. Speaking anonymously, the GP and co-owner say a number of ingredients are important, from ample parking space to a welcoming waiting room and commitment to holistic care.
What makes for a successful medical practice? Perhaps it's the location. Or a holistic approach to patient care.
Might something as simple as up-to-date magazines in the waiting room make a small but meaningful difference to patients’ experience? All these things help, according to a GP from a practice located on the Mornington Peninsula*, who says the profit motive must not override a strong commitment to patient care.
BusinessesForSale.com: What can you tell us about your practice?
GP and co-owner: We have around 20,000 patients at any given time, depending on the season; we’re a significant practice. I’ve been here for 20 years and I’m one of four owners who have an equal share in the business.
Overall, we have around 10 GPs, depending on how many subcontractors we have at the time.
When I joined, it was pretty small, but the place had potential. It took a while to build up and find the right staff who fit with the culture of the practice. We also changed up the decor and fully computerised the office.
BFS: What kind of patients do you tend to attract in demographic terms?
GP: When we started, the majority of our patients were older people, but it’s changed over time. Before, you wouldn’t see a pram in the practice; now you’d be lucky to find a spot without one!
Regarding technology, younger patients are more likely to use an online booking system and health apps, but older patients less so. We would prefer people not to look things up on Dr Google!
BFS: What makes a successful practice ?
GP: The culture of a medical practice is vital. People come not just for a doctor but for holistic care.
If they don’t get treated well from the front desk onwards, they won’t come back.
People came to this practice because of expertise and care – eventually, word of mouth spread and the family members and friends of existing patients started registering. When people hear that a doctor is good, will listen and genuinely cares, people will travel from outside the area for treatment.
It’s essential to have staff who create a welcoming, safe space for patients to visit. For example, making the waiting room comfortable, with up-to-date magazines to read, can make all the difference to people’s experience.
BFS: What advice would you give to someone thinking about buying into a practice ?
GP: Most importantly, do your research about who you’re going into business with before you sign any documents. Working with like-minded people is essential.
It’s also important to do your due diligence by looking over the books and checking the overheads.
A well-run practice should tread a fine line between profits and care for patients and staff. You need to run at a profit, but not at the maximum profit.
Practically, make sure you have enough money to make the deal. Try and choose somewhere in an attractive location; you, your staff, colleagues and patients need to be able to park easily.
Lastly, all the doctors at the practice need the right philosophy and attitude, so everyone is pulling in the same direction for the patients.
*Name and exact location not given for privacy reasons