How to set up a private clinic

Opening a private clinic is very different from treating patients in a hospital setting on a day-to-day basis. It not only requires business acumen but one also needs to make sure to manage finances efficiently and have all the licences in place.

For a doctor, starting their own clinic can be a daunting task despite several years of experience in medical practice. It is therefore, of utmost importance that the hospital functions as per the rules and regulations that are set in place.

Dr. Disha Dinakar who has been working as a casualty medical officer in Balaji Medical Centre in Mangalore, Karnataka spoke to us about the important learnings in starting a private clinic in the city and things that a doctor should keep in mind. She shared a few basic points that must be kept in mind:

1 For establishing a new clinic one needs to apply for the licence through the District Health office or Taluk Health office (in case of rural areas), which is not a difficult process, she says.

2 The size of the clinic should be in accordance with the rules laid down by the District Health office. Permissions from local authorities are also needed and this is regardless of whether the clinic is being constructed on your own land or on land that is leased.

3 Registrations must be in place under the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010. Registration under Companies or Societies act depend upon the ownership. Registration under Nursing Homes Act, are applicable in Delhi and Mumbai, should be taken care of.

4 Only FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved medicines well within the expiry date should be kept at the clinic.

5 Safety licences pertaining to the hospital building and its installations must be taken care of. These also include following safety regulations pertaining to the lift, fire, electricity etc.

6 An efficient Biomedical waste management system should be in place and proper disposal of sewage is necessary under the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998.

Managing finances

Finances are integral to starting up a clinic and hence, capital and support in the form of investments is required and to set up a good quality clinic. Santosh Kalburgi, a cost accountant from Bengaluru gives us more information on how to manage finance when one goes about starting a hospital. And the major points he mentioned are:

Maintain all expense records, with bills and approvals

Set up processes for sales, purchases, vendor payments, approval of vendors etc.

Maintain proper records of the treatment and the billing process in relation to clients

Keep a track on the collection of cash, reconciliation with sales and the amount deposited into the bank account to ensure accounts are not manipulated at the management level

Fixation of responsibilities and multiple verification processes

Keeping a track on the stocks of consumables and medicines

Maintain records like, attendance, service list, patient list and case summaries, assets register

Ensuring smooth operation

Dr. Dinakar also mentioned several operational points to keep in mind:

1 Since starting a clinic involves various consultants doctors and employees in rendering various health care services, proper logs should be maintained for the different services provided by each doctor.

2 She also mentioned strategic factors like location of the clinic as it determines how many people you can provide services to. “There are many clinics in the heart of the city. But, it is ideal to open a clinic in areas where they are less in number and where more people reside,” she said.

3 The clinic must also be open at most times or should have medical attendants present at the premises.

4 The clinic must be easily accessible so that people can travel and avail treatment conveniently.

5 Also, the surroundings should be clean and be away from stagnant water areas which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Any clinic that is dedicated to treating the patients, making the whole process seamless, is bound to do well.

This article was contributed by Amrutha G, a Bangalore – based freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.

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