What is a polyclinic?
A polyclinic is a larger medical facility than an individual clinic but smaller than a hospital. It is a medical centre where a patient can meet several doctors. The patient can get pathological tests and minor procedures done in the same place. Usually, a group of physicians set up this centre. The group can include a dermatologist, a psychiatrist, a gynaecologist, and an ENT specialist. This group may also include a dentist, an orthopaedic, a paediatrician, and an ophthalmologist. The group of medical specialists runs the practice under a single registration. Think of a polyclinic as an upgraded version of a regular medical clinic.
Why are polyclinics a good investment for doctors?
The cost of setting up a polyclinic can be about 70% less than a hospital. The patients also get quality treatment by paying 20% less than what they would pay in a hospital. A patient may have various ailments. With general medicine, medical practitioners cannot cater to all the medical ailments of their patients. And thus miss revenue opportunities.
Setting up a polyclinic can be a good investment decision for you but requires adequate funding. You and your fellow doctors can pool in some money to start a polyclinic. Paying for clinic premises/ rent or working capital expenses, equipment and machinery, could put pressure on your clinic’s cash flow. In such a case, external financing with personalised loans for doctors can be an apt solution.
A polyclinic also increases convenience from the patient’s point of view. Instead of travelling long distances to meet a specialist or maintaining several records for each doctor, he/ she will be able to visit a polyclinic for complete medical solutions. This would increase patient footfall and further boost your returns.
Additional read: Electronic health records - Invest to improve
How to set up a polyclinic
Step 1: Hire a practice manager
Whether you have the business acumen or not, it helps to have a practice manager for your polyclinic. Someone who understands the working of your clinic and is able to come up with solutions to everyday problems. This way, you and other doctors, can focus on administering treatment. Having a practice manager for your polyclinic will help you in many ways. You can understand your clinic operations and find solutions to everyday problems, regardless of whether you have the business acumen or not. This also helps you and other doctors to focus on administering treatments. After all, patient care must be your number one priority.
Step 2: Pick the right location
Consider starting a polyclinic in a residential area that is populated to maximise footfall. You should also try to pick a location close to the market. Your clinic should be easily accessible by all modes of transport. Due to the location, prospective patients are likely to choose you over other clinics. In addition, if you can provide parking space, you will further attract more customers.
Step 3: Arrange for finances
Expanding from a clinic to a polyclinic is a huge task and is one that requires ample funds. Be it a larger waiting room, construction of examination rooms, and consultation cabins, you need a spacious layout to run your polyclinic. A spacious layout can include areas for outpatient procedures and billing as well. You must also have sufficient funds to pay experienced support staff. Moreover, as and when you add specialities to your polyclinic, you will have to infuse your business with a surge of funds. These funds will enable you to buy the necessary equipment and hire additional resources.
Loans for doctors with a high loan amount can help you set up your polyclinic. Consider taking a collateral-free loan, you could go for a business loan for doctors. This loan gives up to Rs. 55 lakh. If you are willing to risk your assets, you could opt for a loan against property for doctors and get funds up to Rs. 5 crore.
Step 4: Create an entire ecosystem
Your goal must be to create a one-stop medical centre for all your patient’s needs. So, for example, if a child has a bad fall, the child can come into your polyclinic. The child will have his/ her dislocated bone treated. At the same time, a paediatric doctor checks the child for signs of a concussion and/ or internal bleeding. An X-ray service, pharmacy, and canteen will help make the process smoother. With these services in one place, the child will not have to visit multiple medical centres to get treated.
Step 5: Hire the right support staff
From those in the billing department and nurses to receptionists and admin assistants, you must hire the right support staff. Doing so will ensure that your polyclinic is functioning smoothly and efficiently. You will also have to create an HR, administrative, legal, and marketing department. Investing in medical billing software is also a good idea, as is outsourcing taxes or recruitment to a third party. You can also consider adding a legal department that will protect your polyclinic if a patient takes legal action. Also, consider taking a professional indemnity insurance policy to protect your practice from unforeseen legal actions and risks.
Additional read: How can doctors make their practice more visible?
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