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How to Start a Private Practice in Acupuncture

Private practice owner and acupuncturist Dr. Teresa Wlasiuk, DAOM, LAc to walk you through the fundamentals of starting a business. She dives into finding your ideal client, EHR, and more.

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This ebook starts with the basics of business. In order to legally, ethically, and functionally start a private practice on the side, you need to have some fundamentals in place. These include things like a business name, license, and structure. If you need help choosing the right structure, make sure you consult with an attorney. You’ll also need a HIPAA-compliant email and a business phone number, plus a website with information about your practice and how to contact you. 

At the beginning, it’s easy to feel pressured to fill your schedule with appointments. But taking on any and every patient can actually backfire. One thing that intimidates many new private practice owners is finding patients to work with. It’s not just about the patient choosing you. It’s also about you choosing them. If you want to provide the best results for your patients, you need to be the right fit. 

When you’re not the right fit for a patient, a number of problems can arise including extra work, poor results, and bad reviews. While a general practice may sound like the best approach to keep yourself in business, it may be detrimental in the long run. 

So, how can you avoid these common pitfalls? The answer is to identify your specific patient niche. Focus on a particular specialty, then make it even more detailed according to what type of patient is the best match for you.

If you’re not sure what niche is right for you, consider all the patients that you’ve worked with over the years—including in your school clinic shifts, previous jobs, ones you’re currently working with, or the patients you just really loved and felt good about helping. Write everything down. 

What commonalities do you see in your list? Maybe it’s a specific type of treatment, or perhaps it’s working with a specific ailment. An acupuncturist or herbalist may enjoy working with kids and mothers to improve their holistic health, or athletes to enhance their performance. Determine how you’re uniquely qualified to help these patients.

When thinking about your ideal patient, decide if that patient is more likely to pay privately or with a specific type of insurance. Then use Google to see how many providers in your area offer the same services. If you’re one of only a few in your specialty, you might be successful with private-pay patients. However, if there are many providers offering similar services in your area, you may need to accept insurance to be competitive.

Download this free ebook today to dive deeper into the foundations of starting an acupuncture private practice. 

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