Logistics and marketing of your direct care practice

It’s essential to focus on details like hiring, sourcing, and marketing for your practice.

Once you’ve established the business foundation for opening a direct care practice, it’s time to focus on operational details such as hiring staff, supplying your clinic, and marketing.

Hiring staff

Once you’ve found your practice location, the next step is to hire a great staff member, unless you plan to open a micro-cabinet without any help (which I don’t recommend if you’re hoping to have a sort of paid professional life!).

I recommend hiring and onboarding a staff member to act as your “right hand” from day one. For some physicians, the idea of ​​paying a staff member before receiving income is hard to swallow. But remember, you become a business owner – the business is not meant to own you! Having a staff member on site during office hours frees you up to be elsewhere when you are not actively seeing patients. For example, you will need time to focus on entrepreneurial responsibilities, such as attending community events to recruit new patients. Having staff also gives you the flexibility to moonlight or devote time to other interests.

Since payroll is one of the biggest expenses of running a medical practice, consider hiring a single staff member to help with both administrative and clinical responsibilities. This may be a member of medical staff such as a medical assistant or a nurse trained to perform clerical duties, or conversely, a dedicated clerical staff member who may be trained to lend a hand in case of need. Although there are pros and cons to each, I chose to hire an administrative assistant to run the office, thinking that I could handle all of the medical aspects myself, such as taking vital signs, injections, electrocardiograms and blood tests. It turns out that I really enjoy these aspects of hands-on patient care, especially since I have extra time as a direct care physician.

The most important part of hiring is finding someone who is reliable, trustworthy, and has a radiant personality that reflects well on your practice. They must have a good understanding of the direct care model in order to explain it enthusiastically to potential callers. I’ve found great employees through word of mouth and online recruiting sites like Be sure to check references carefully and don’t ignore any red flags when hiring.

Provide your practice

Now is the time to set up all your utilities like electricity, water, phone, and internet. This is where having that staff member comes in handy: you can delegate responsibility for contacting utility companies and setting up the schedule. Your phone line is extremely important because most patients begin the process of finding a doctor by calling for information. You can install a direct phone line or consider using an Internet voiceover provider. Whatever service you use, it should allow flexibility in forwarding phone calls when you are out of the office. Having the best high-speed Internet service you can find in your area is a necessity in today’s electronic age.

There are a host of excellent and affordable electronic record keeping systems, many of which also integrate billing services and allow you to communicate with patients via email and SMS. Most are cloud-based and only cost a few hundred dollars a month, at most. Because you won’t report information or send bills to third parties, you won’t need to comply with expensive and cumbersome systems that respect meaningful use.

While you’ll likely choose a “paperless” electronic system, doctors’ offices still seem to be paper-heavy. For this reason, I highly recommend investing in an industrial-grade copier with built-in faxing and scanning, as well as paying a company to pick up and shred your waste paper. My lease-to-own refurbished photocopier is about $75 a month and paper shredding is about $35. You will also need to hire a company to pick up your medical waste, as required by your health department.

Next, make a list of the office furniture and supplies you will need. The more you can beg, borrow and steal virtually like on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, the better! I bought my exam table from a tattoo shop that was closing and covered it up and got my EKG machine from a retired plastic surgeon for pennies on the dollar. You’ll want to open an account with a medical supply company to get the basics like point-of-care tests, office medications, and bandages, but be sure to check out sites like Amazon which are sometimes cheaper.


The best marketing tool for your practice is YOU. Patients seek a relationship with a caring physician; all you need to do is show them that you are open for business. Make sure your new practice address is listed with your state board of medicine, on Google, and on physician review sites. If you had a previous practice, send letters to your former patients informing them of your new location. Send a press release to your local newspapers and media.

Don’t spend a fortune on advertising or marketing services – just start by creating a simple website (I built mine on for $4 a month) and build a social media presence. Create a business page on Facebook and start creating content with photos of your practice and videos of yourself talking about your new model. Plug your practice into local groups on social media and look for opportunities to speak with community groups. If you have a particular interest or niche in certain patient demographics, research those patients and share your template with them. Consider reaching out to small businesses with less than 50 employees to offer your services to the employer at a reduced price. For example, my practice deals with employees of a landscaping company, a chiropractic practice, a law firm, and an insurance company.

Engaging with your community and sharing your practice model is a great way to recruit new patients. Refine your “elevator pitch,” a 15-20 second pitch about how direct care can help your potential patients by providing affordable, accessible care and returning to a true doctor-patient relationship.

Remember that not everyone will see the value of the direct care model, and that’s okay. Be prepared to be rebuffed and even criticized by some patients when they learn that you do not contract with insurance companies. Stay professional and positive, and don’t get discouraged. Focus on delivering the best possible care to patients who appreciate what you offer. Word of mouth from your current patients is one of your best recruiting tools and will help you grow quickly.

Legal issue

As with any medical clinic, you will need to be aware of federal and state-specific legal requirements. For direct care, many states require patients to understand that your clinic does not act as an insurance plan. It is essential to create a detailed patient agreement that outlines your services, as well as clarifying patient responsibilities. DPC border lists some of the most common legal pitfalls, but it’s important to be aware of any state-specific legislation regarding medical practice and direct care.

If you want to provide direct care to Medicare-eligible patients, you will need to opt out to accept payment from Medicare. I will have more details on this process in my next article.

Rebecca Bernard MD is a family physician in Fort Myers, Florida, and author of How to Become a Rock Star Doctor and Physician Wellness: The Rock Star Physician’s Guide.


#Logistics #marketing #direct #care #practice

Related Articles

Back to top button