A doctors’ guide to entrepreneurship contains practical advice on everything from hiring and billing to insurance and patents.
A Florida dermatologist and Internet startup veteran, Hacker believes that “to practice medicine successfully today, a doctor must be equally as versed in the art of business as he or she is in the art of medicine.” To that end, in this new edition of his first book, he gives medical students and established physicians all the information they could need to found a private practice and branch out into business ventures. The author recommends working as an individual rather than joining a group practice; this route may be riskier, but the financial rewards are greater. He clearly enumerates the first steps: setting oneself up as a corporation, trademarking a practice name, choosing a matching URL, opening a line of credit (“the blood supply of your practice”), and choosing attorneys and insurance agents. The book is heavily informational, down to form numbers, specific regulations, telephone numbers, and Web addresses. Luckily, the text is broken up with subheads and repeated elements such as “Pearls” and “Pitfalls to Avoid,” as well as italicized “Stat Consults” from four contributing attorneys—whose expert opinion sections are so long they might almost be considered co-authors. After a rather dry Part I, Part II introduces some welcome anecdotes about Hacker’s experiences running SkinStore.com (cosmeceutical sales) and PassportMD (personal health records). But Part III, consisting mostly of conference proceedings and endorsements of particular products and services, seems superfluous. Overall, though, new doctors will likely find this book to be a one-stop shop. Hacker discusses everything from network security protocols to how big a waiting room to build. “Grow with your space,” he advises, rather than buying a large office space and expecting to grow into it. Twenty tables, most in the form of numerical lists, address handy topics, including the pros and cons of in-house billing, the equipment and furniture needed when opening a new practice, and job descriptions for employees.
A comprehensive primer on the business skills essential for physicians.