1. Hire only the staff you need at first.

Building a successful dermatology practice population takes time and patience. You start by building a brand and then by gaining the confidence of your referral sources. Honestly, you can expect to see 2 to 4 people a day in the beginning, and hopefully go to 40+ patients a day. There isn’t much sense in hiring more staff until your practice is running at full speed, which can take about five years.

2. Set realistic financial expectations.

Have at least two years’ worth of money to live on when first opening a private dermatology practice, because it often takes that long to turn a profit and take a salary.

New dermatology practices also typically need money for advertising. The amount you need depends on the demand for dermatology services in the area. If you set up shop in a very competitive, urban setting, you’ll typically need to spend more. If you practice in a rural area with few dermatologists nearby, the need for services and word of mouth can likely drive patients to your practice quite readily.

3. Only set up your exam rooms as you need them.

Having space to grow is imperative, but take your time and grow slowly as business ramps up. Consider only furnishing two exam rooms in the beginning. During the second year in business, as patient numbers increased, you can start to furnish more rooms in the office. By adopting this phased approach, you can help minimize the initial costs of starting a dermatology practice.

4. Lease a laser or other medical devices for your practice.

Be strategic about the treatment devices you select for your new practice. You know every dermatologist is going to have a laser. You’ll want your first device be able to provide multiple treatment modalities, particularly the most common, basic skin conditions.

Again, without a full influx of patients at first, it might be wise to hold off on buying any expensive lasers or devices. Do you need to buy that device day one? Absolutely not. You first need to understand the needs and wants of your patient population. Only a small percentage of your patients will likely have cosmetic concerns at first, and when your business in these areas is slow this would not equate into meaningful use of such expensive devices.”

5. Choose the best dermatology software for your practice.

As a provider, odds are that you’ll actually be spending more time with your dermatology software than you do with your family. So you need to ensure that you’ve made the best dermatology software choice for your needs.

When you’re ready to start the selection process, it’s important to consider all aspects of your practice, from the patient experience and front office to your staff and desired workflow. You, your staff and even your patients are going to be spending quite a bit of time interacting with it. The easier it is and the more intuitive it is to use, the better the experience will be for everyone. And better experiences can lead to better results.

Making the wrong decision on this front can have a negative impact on your practice financials and your quality of life. So take the time to research your dermatology software options. Schedule demos, ask for references, research heavily. Do you like mobility? Do you value a dermatology-specific workflow? Ask these questions of yourself before making your decision. They can make the difference.