Running a Plastic Surgery Practice

The 5 facets of a medical private practice

Disclaimer - use at your own risk.  I have an interest in setting up an office and I've picked up a few things about telephones along the way.  Underconstruction - more stuff coming soon.  This webpage was written in October - November 2009 - things may have changed since.   These are my own personal thoughts (c) Calvin Lee 2009 all rights reserved.  I'm sure many of these are pretty obvious - but it sometimes helps to have it spelled out.

The stuff found here could also apply to running any medical practice

October 5, 2009

I've been running a private practice medical office in Modesto, CA for about 3-4 years now, along with my wife, Dr. Tammy Wu, Modesto Plastic Surgeon. I've come to realize that there are five main categories of the jobs that we take on as physician/business owners. They are:

The five facets of running a medical private practice:

1. Clinical
2. Customer Interfacing
3. Maintenance
4. Efficiency Improvement
5. Marketing

Expanding on the above:

Clinical includes:
a) surgeries
b) consultations
c) writing prescriptions
d) checking lab results
e) patient education
f) sales of medical products to the patients
g) exploring new fields and ideas in medicine
h) continuing medical education

Customer interfacing includes:
a) Front desk duties with the patients as they walk in.
b) Reminders of appointments for the patients
c) Scheduling the patients
d) Rebooking patients for appointments if necessary
e) Surveys

Maintenance includes
a) Finances (such as going to the bank, paying taxes)
b) Cleaning of physical space
c) Cleaning of medical equipment
d) plant care
e) Inventory of medical supplies
f) Inventory of products for sale
g) Replenishing office supplies (paper, towels, paper plates)
h) Laundry
i) Hiring replacement staff
j) getting rid of spider webs
k) getting rid of old magazines, and getting new ones
l) renewing repair contracts
m) updating software
n) paying bills
u) updating office rules.  Including OSHA

Efficiency Improvement includes
a) updating patient forms
b) keeping up with latest trends
c) speeding up all other processes in the office by working smarter, not necessarily harder.
d) updating equipment (faster printers, faster scanners)
e) training staff
f) hiring additional new staff with new roles

Marketing includes
a) website
b) newspaper advertising
c) email newsletter
d) open houses
e) community service
f) giving lectures
g) patient referral programs
h) meeting with reps from companies
i) internal marketing
j) Surgery Tracker
k) coupons, specials (not too common in our practice)

Running this practice requires that we wear many different hats. Sometimes we are working "in" the business and sometimes we're working "on" the business. The business is the Private Practice of Surgical Artistry - Our practice in Modesto, California specializing in Veins, Acupuncture, and Plastic Surgery. All the above, we do while sticking to our core values.

I consider the "in the business" tasks to be:
- Clinical
- Maintenance
- Customer Interfacing

I consider the "on the business" tasks to be:
- Efficiency Improvement
- Marketing

The listing above has also helped me think about what's different about having a private practice from what it would be like to work at a larger corporation such as Kaiser. I would not spend as much time as an employee of a group like Kaiser on:

- Maintenance
- Customer Interfacing
- Marketing

Those three tasks would be somewhat missing in a large group. Although there would of course be some involvement in all those three items as a doctor working anywhere, but it wouldn't be as much as if one were running their own private practice.
Above are just some thoughts that I had, as I try to organize my daily activities.... I felt compelled to put this in writing - I think this categorization may be worth something to me in the future. I must say that my favorite of all the above are the "clinical aspects" of my private practice.


We have written another page regarding:  computer programs for doctors and their offices for Modesto Plastic Surgery with Dr. Tammy Wu.

(209) 551-1888
Located in Modesto, CA
Services in Plastic Surgery, Veins, Acupuncture, and General Surgery

email clee [at]

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