I know a little something about starting and running a Virtual Clinic. I’ve been riding that wave since 2018 with many iterations of my current Virtual Practice, Digital Nomad Health. Here is an 8-week plan for building your Virtual Clinic.
Build your cash-based online practice yourself. You don’t need a $75k consultant to come in and set everything up yourself. For $5-10k you can do it all yourself. Even less? Maybe.
Check out the DocDigital Online Course – Launch Your Virtual Practice in 8 Weeks with me, Dr. Mo!
Week 1 – The Business
What are you selling and who is your ideal customer?
Figuring out the niche of your practice is really important when you run a Virtual Practice. Because you can reach a wide audience, you can choose a very, very narrow niche.
- Migraine in Men.
- Pediatric obesity.
Will you be mostly prescribing meds? Nothing wrong with a pill-mill if that’s what you enjoy. But perhaps you’re interested in building an online practice with coaching/consulting; more time per client, higher touch.
The business entity matters and may be state-dependent. But you’d be surprised how little it matters – unless you’re growing your business to sell in the future.
To figure out your niche, ask yourself what kind of patients you love engaging with and which topic(s) you are passionate about learning more about and mastering as a niche expert.
Week 1 Goals
- Know your business model
- Have a simple business plan
- Set your price points & price levels
- Finalize your niche
- Come up with a ballpark startup budget
Week 2 – Legal
Do you need malpractice? Are you sure? There is a thing called going bare. If malpractice is a must, what kind do you need, and what’s the best way to get it? How much does it cost?
You really need an attorney for this, but you don’t have to spend as much as you think. Some basic legal documents will protect you and help you sign state-required patient agreements.
Could you benefit from an arbitration agreement? Hardly any doctor uses this. Why? It costs nothing to add it to your patient agreement, and it protects you and the patient.
Week 2 Goals
- Download your necessary legal docs
- Decide on state licensures
- Choose clinical vs coaching practice
- Opt out of Medicare?
Week 3 – The Patient Journey
From the time the patient finds you online to the last text message they get from you after their visit, what’s that patient journey like?
I’d love to say that you can figure this out on your own, but I highly recommend getting help. Your patient is paying you cash for a really good experience – they don’t expect a free back massage, but they want to know:
- You know WTF you’re talking about
- They will get what you promised
- They can know exactly what they will get
Mapping the patient journey requires you to think through what your best customer experience is like. Your favorite masseuse with the happy ending, the McDonald’s drive-through, your favorite weed dealer – you choose. But there is something that brings you back over and over.
Week 3 Goals
- know your business model
- have a simple business plan
- set your price points & price levels
- finalize your niche
- come up with a ballpark startup budget
- HIPAA compliant communication
Week 4 – The Website
Just like your front desk and waiting rooms are a representation of your physical practice, your website signals your professionalism to the patient.
Most private practice sites are outdated, clunky, and have many dead links. No! Not if you are running a Virtual Practice – you can’t afford it.
Your website should also be a billboard for what you offer, what you do, what you can’t do, and meet all PHI standards.
Week 4 Goals
- Build the site, get it done with!
- Choose your hosting company
- Have the right site pages
- Master your booking profile
- Get your articles to perfect your SEO
Week 5 – The Technology
Though the EHR selection is a major point of anxiety for clinicians, it’s actually really easy these days. You have to know what your practice needs and lease the software that best suits you. Need something free? Medchartz.
In a physical practice, patients need a phone number to call, a bathroom, a parking space, and a waiting room. All of these have to be elevated in a Virtual Clinic; there is no room for clunky tech because we already deal enough with that in the day-to-day.
Week 5 Goals
- Choose your EHR
- Pick the software you need to run your practice
- Setup your hardware & internet
Week 6 – Marketing
How will you reach potential customers? Where will patients find you, and what impression will they have after seeing you and your content online?
For most of us, it’s easiest to hire someone to do our practice marketing for us. But if you don’t know the basics, you’ll be taken to the cleaners.
There are numerous forms of advertising, from social media to mailers (yes, they still work.)
Week 6 Goals
- Hire your advertising guru
- Come up with the first ad campaigns
- Pick a branding style
- Plan your word-of-mouth campaign
- Get web traffic through content marketing
Week 7 – The Competition
This is the funnest week of all because we get to go through the competition and take notes about what we like and don’t like.
No need to reinvent the wheel; someone else out there has already done everything you’re doing. Imitate it, then modify it, then improve it, and finally master it.
Week 7 Goals
- Pick your top 3 fave competitors
- Choose your competitive advantage
- Plan your growth strategy
Week 8 – Troubleshooting
You’ve come a long way and hired some help, but now you’re hitting some roadblocks. Hurdles are part of the game. How to best overcome them and how to remedy mistakes from here onward.
Sometimes, it’s emotional burnout from working solo, or maybe you can’t find any patients. There are good solutions to each of these problems, and you won’t be the first person to face them.
Week 8 Goals
- What emotional hurdles do you have to overcome?
- Why is your marketing failing?
- Where can you get more clients?
- What part of your practice needs some love?