It has always been a dream of mine to open my own Physiotherapy Practice. That dream came true when I officially opened my doors on the 3rd May 2021. I like to think of myself as a fairly organised person, then the doors opened and the first few patients rolled in and ‘Sh$t, why isn’t that working?’and ‘How do I do this?’ became a regular part of my vocab. My head felt like it was spinning and at 10pm at night (yes, that is extremely late for me), I felt like I was drowning in admin.
So I thought I would share with you the challenges I faced in the first few weeks of opening my own practice, in the hope of making it easier for those out there who wish to do the same one day. I am by no means an expert but here we go:
1) First things first, get a practice number: visit BHF’s website. It’s a pretty straight forward process that takes between 10 days to 2 weeks.
2) Open up a separate business bank account and keep your personal and business life separate.
3) Decide on the practice software management tool that you want to use. There are a few South African-based ones, however, I found that they weren’t "All inclusive."I am using Cliniko which is an Australian-based system. Honestly, once you know how to use it, it's amazing and there is help 24/7. It links to my website, Xero, Mailchimp, Rehab My Patient and many other platforms.
4) Create a website: if you are technologically challenged like me, then Wix.com makes it super easy to build your own. It links perfectly to Cliniko so patients can book online through my website, with info automatically filtering into Cliniko - I don’t have to do a thing. Having a website really does make a difference in terms of patients finding you and getting your name out there. I can’t recommend it enough.
5) Medical Aid! This was the bane of my existence. I was happily cruising along two weeks in when a patient contacted me to say medical aid hadn’t reimbursed them as the ICD-10 codes were invalid. Flat panic alert. Deep breath; turns out certain medical aids want you to be registered with them in order for them to pay the member – something I realised a few of my physio colleagues didn't know either when starting their practice. Also, the ICD-10 codes on the invoice need to be next to every procedure code too. This is specific to SA, not sure about other countries. It seems minor when I put it on paper, but this was a huge hack as it meant I had to re-do ALL my invoices. So check out which medical aids you need to register with and how they want their Claims/Invoices set out before you start.
6) Enjoy the process. Someone said this to me before starting my own practice and I can’t reiterate it enough. Starting your own business is huge and you should be proud of yourself. So celebrate every milestone no matter how big or small. I still do a little dance every time a patient books in online.