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How To Start a Nurse Practitioner Private Practice the Right Way 

As a nurse practitioner, you’ve probably been thinking of the many ways you could improve care for your patients. Maybe you’ve even started wondering how to start a nurse practitioner private practice yourself.

Shedding the procedural constraints of the hospital, physician practice, emergency room, or nursing home provides many professionally liberating opportunities. You’re ready to do your job without numerous unnecessary roadblocks that tick the boxes of check-off lists, but don’t help people.  

You also know that the new nurse practitioner private practice you have in mind will expand much-needed access to primary care, so you are poised to provide the type of care that people are seeking.  

First, you will need to familiarize yourself with the local statutory environment. Then, you’ll need a plan for success. 

Determining Your Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice by State  

Each state differs on the nurse practitioner scope of practice requirements you will need to provide. Naturally, you will need to know the scope of practice allowed in your state, whether that entails full practice authority, reduced practice, or restricted practice as you plan how to start a nurse practitioner private practice. 

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) has created an interactive national map showing which states govern nurse practitioner practices by which scope of practice.  Regulations often vary within each nurse practitioner’s scope of practice, which is set by state legislatures, then often governed by the state’s board of nursing or board of medicine. You will need to ensure you’re up to date on the particulars for your state, but generally, scopes of practice involve the following guidelines:    

Full practice states with full practice authority for nurse practitioners allow all nurse practitioners to evaluate patients; diagnose, order, and interpret diagnostic tests, and begin and manage treatments, including prescribing medications and controlled substances, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.  

Reduced practice states limit at least one element of the scope of practice, either limiting the settings of one or more elements of care or mandating a career-long regulated collaboration with another provider.  

Restricted practice states limit at least one element of the scope of practice, requiring career-long supervision or management by another provider. 

Creating A Business Plan: Things to Consider When Starting a Practice

With your nurse practitioner’s scope of practice mapped out and verified against up-to-date regulations, the business side of how to start a nurse practitioner private practice is the next step. Where will your patients come from? What patient volume can your practice provide care for?  How will your office run, and how will you market your new nurse practitioner independent practice? How will you set up your financial reporting systems?  

Don’t forget to pay attention to service and product offerings, pricing structure, expenses, and projected income as you draft your nurse practitioner private practice business plan. 

Let’s have a detailed look at your options: 

Considering NP Practice Operations 

You’re already familiar with how practices operate, and likely have experience with office workflows (billing, patient intake, etc.), and the use of technology like an EHR or telehealth. As you set up your practice, you’ll choose what to handle personally, what to delegate, and to whom.  

Some office workflows are designed, while others are innovated. Opening your practice allows you to put the workflows you’re most confident in into place. You’ll also be able to adjust your business plan and workflows as patterns emerge and new efficiencies come to light. While time-consuming, the attention to detail here will decide how efficiently your practice operates, and ultimately, how well you serve your patients. 

Growing Your NP Practice with Marketing 

All businesses need to grow. Figuring out how to start a nurse practitioner private practice is no different. For that, you’ll need a marketing strategy.  Your nurse practitioner independent practice marketing strategy should include a detailed plan for handling an optimized website, social media, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), digital advertising, and online reputation management. 

Your nurse practitioner practice website will need to incorporate all these marketing elements to be an effective tool for promoting your new medical practice, drawing new patients, and keeping your current patients engaged with your practice for better patient outcomes.  

Once it is properly tuned to work with a well-designed website, your marketing strategy will draw new patients seeking out quality care from reputable, capable, and caring nurse practitioners. That interest can be generated from an online search, paid ads, and the glowing reviews of satisfied, healthy, and happy patients.  

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): When potential patients search for your services, they’ll likely look for services that your practice provides on Google and other search engines. Savvy SEO strategies can put you at the top of search results returned. This is an effective, organic method of marketing, where search engines detect your website is a high-quality source that will best serve the people looking for a nurse practitioner practice like yours.   

Digital Advertising: On the other side of the coin, you can purchase Google ads for your nurse practitioner practice to make sure your business shows up throughout a potential customer’s daily browsing, opting for a paid approach to putting your practice in front of potential patients that Google’s algorithms determine may be interested in finding a nurse practitioner. 

Online Reputation Management: Lists of local providers provide a prime opportunity to impress potential patients searching for a new nurse practitioner. Capitalizing on such lists includes encouraging ratings and reviews, and making sure you receive online praise when patients receive the great care you’re providing. Reputation management is a crucial part of marketing your practice. Online word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool.    

Take a look at Medical Advantage’s ebook on marketing your medical practice, which provides a handy guide on marketing your new nurse practitioner private practice for more guidance on bringing new patients into your practice.  

For more guidance on bringing new patients into your practice, check out Medical Advantage’s E-Book on marketing your medical practice, which provides a thoughtful and easy-to-follow guide on marketing and growing your new nurse practitioner private practice. 

Managing Financials: Ensure Proper Reporting 

The bottom line of your business will need to be managed, not only to remain profitable but to ensure you can provide the level of care you set out to deliver with your nurse practitioner private practice. The most accurate, fastest way to collect financial data about your practice and present it in a useful report is through healthcare financial dashboards.  

Healthcare financial dashboards track charges, claims by location, physician, insurer, and when they’re approved or denied, condensing that and additional information from multiple sources to inform financial business decision making.  

Population health dashboards and quality of care dashboards will also guide your practice. 

A population health dashboard can collect and present information about your patients’ geography, age, and other demographic differences to illuminate health trends and guide treatment.   

Quality of Care dashboards helps track quality metrics needed for reimbursement programs such as MIPS (Merit-based Incentive Payment System). 

Setting Up Your Practice’s New Internal Systems   

Medical practices require internal systems including contracting, electronic health records (EHR) software, payer contracting and billing, and telehealth software to operate smoothly and remain up to date.    

Selecting An Electronic Health Records System  For Your NP Practice

A modern practice will need to choose the right EHR software to manage records and essential business functions. What size is your practice? What do you want to share in your patient portal? Will your website interface securely with medical labs? Consider the full range of EHR needs before you decide. You will also want to ensure your software is set up for effective telehealth visits. 

Setting up electronic health records software to manage patient records can be a daunting task. You will need to make sure your current staff is up to speed on the system, that new employees are trained to use it, and that it is user-friendly.  

You may consider bringing in EHR consultants to help you set up the software for your practice. The effort will pay off by saving you time, and money and preventing frustration in the long run.  

Payer Contracting and Revenue Cycle Management  

Getting billing and contracting set up for business is a key first step before any medical practice can claim reimbursements and start bringing in revenue.  

Your first step will be ensuring your providers are properly credentialed. Without credentials, your providers won’t be able to submit claims for payment for services provided. 

The right revenue cycle management (RCM) software tools and training can help you better meet deadlines to maximize reimbursement submissions to payers. 

With these systems in place, you will also need to set up training on the systems for staff members and make sure there’s a process in place to train new employees. 

Implementing a Telehealth System  

As telehealth popularity grows, will you offer it conveniently to your patients? This option can increase the number of patients you are able to serve and reduce costly no-shows by making care appointments more accessible since it’s often easier to take a call or a video conference session than to make time to get to a physical appointment.  

If telehealth is something you’re considering, starting with this service as you begin can help set you apart from other providers.  

Telehealth allows you to increase access to care among your patients, increasing the number of people you’re able to serve in your community.  

Ideally, your telehealth solution was decided when you chose your EHR since the two complement each other. Note-taking during a telehealth visit should easily integrate with patient records, for instance. 

The top things to consider when setting up telehealth are mobile video app portals used to communicate with patients, the vendor’s level of IT support, and gauging integration with EHR systems to prevent extra work and provider burnout. 

NP Advantage Can Help 

NP Advantage provides no-fee, no-hidden-cost solutions including everything you need to set up a nurse practitioner private practice. Partner with us and receive exceptional support from our experienced team of healthcare consultants and data analysts. We’ll set you on the best path for a bright future for your patients, and your practice.  

Let’s Improve Patient Care Together

Checklists for Independent Nurse Practitioners

With over 25 years of experience supporting practice launch and growth, we developed the following checklists to guide nurse practitioners. Click the button below to read more.