1. Dirubbo, Nancy BS, APRN, BC, RNC

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Rent is one of the largest expenses associated with owning a private practice. One great way to reduce rent is to share it. Begin by renting a larger space with one or two more rooms than you anticipate will be needed for your practice. Then, through simple networking, find one or two people who offer services complementary to yours and rent them a room.


If you are in primary care, consider renting to a psychologist or mental health counselor, massage therapist, or nutritionist. Contact people who have practices in other communities to see if they might want to expand into your community. They will pay you a monthly rental fee, which includes the room, utilities, and shared waiting space.


These practitioners will neither be employees of your practice nor independent contractors. Have a separate telephone line installed so that they have their own telephone and answering machine, and function independently of your practice. Avoid security issues by installing locks on all doors inside of your suite so that they can be locked separately to maintain privacy. This arrangement can reduce your rental expenses by as much as 50%.


Streamline Your Space

Another way to decrease expenses is to think about how you use your space. Most practitioners have two small examination rooms and a small office. How about using one large room? For example, consider a room that is 13 feet by 15 feet. One wall could have a desk with two chairs for interviewing and consultations. Another wall could have a counter-topped row of cabinets for storage, laboratory supplies, and a sink. The next wall could have a scale, a bookcase, and a curtained changing area. Finally, the last wall could have the examination table, with a side table, and small refrigerator.


With this space orientation, only one room has to be outfitted with supplies, equipment, and furniture. Overhead is reduced by not having to duplicate these items in each room. This area can be kept stocked easily, since there is only one area to keep track of. Time is not wasted searching for things left in another room. This set up is much more efficient and cost effective.


One large room can also decrease patient angst. With this setup, patients only wait once-in the waiting room. They are then greeted and brought into the examination/consultation room. Thereafter, they have the practitioner's undivided attention.


This setup also encourages multitasking, which saves time. For instance, the practitioner first conducts the interview and obtains the history. While the patient is changing, the practitioner can perform in-office laboratory tests. As soon as the patient is changed, he or she can be weighed. The practitioner can then help him onto the examination table (which elderly patients appreciate). While the patient redresses after the examination, the practitioner can talk to the patient, and simultaneously clean the table, process specimens, or write prescriptions.


This arrangement allows you to see one patient at a time, instead of trying to overlap them to lessen time in the waiting room. With better organization, less stress, and effective multitasking, you can spend more time with revenue-producing activities than administrative tasks.


Consider foregoing a medical assistant or nurse. In addition to saving money, this allows for more multitasking, as well as time for developing rapport, teaching, and observing the patient. A patient's satisfaction with his practitioner is strongly correlated with the time and attention received. Patient satisfaction increases with more quality time spent.