Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
A medical practice is a type of business in which a medical practitioner or group of practitioners works with patients in order to diagnose and treat illnesses, injuries, or other medical conditions that require care. There are many different types of medical practices, some very specifically treating one type of illness, and others as more general practices, in which physicians might practice internal medicine, and offer primary care for patients. Within a medical practice, a physician may be able to examine the patient, run tests, make a diagnosis, offer treatment options, and write drug prescriptions, among other actions.
There are a number of different individuals who may be part of a practice. Even if a physician chooses to open a practice by himself or herself, it will still usually be necessary to hire additional people to assist in the business operation and medical care. This may include a registered nurse or nurse practitioner, receptionist or office administrator to answer the phones, make appointments, and keep the office running smoothly, and perhaps a medical coder or biller who will be responsible for correctly entering diagnosis codes and communicating with patients and insurance companies on the topics of reimbursement and payment.
Of course, larger medical offices may have a number of different physicians, physician's assistants, nurses, and office staff to keep the office running smoothly and to best serve the patients. Often, doctors with similar specialties will group together; for example, a group of orthopedic doctors specializing in different areas of the body, such as the hips, knees, or spine, might all open a practice together in order to share the expenses of running a medical building and attract additional patients. This is because a patient might be more likely to visit a doctor in the same practice to which he or she usually goes than to find a different one.
A larger medical practice, which may even include complexes such as hospitals, has many additional employment opportunities for healthcare occupations. Everyone from cleaning staff, to social workers, to medical transcriptionists might be included in a larger medical practice. Of course, the most important aspect of any medical care facility is the practice of medicine, and those opening a medical practice need to find ways to balance the business and income side of the facility with the need to provide excellent patient diagnoses, treatment, and care.
What is incredible is how one person not good at a job can ruin a medical practice. The doctors can be outstanding, but a bad nurse for one of them can drive away patients. Someone who handles billing medical insurance companies that isn't good at doing just that can interrupt the office's revenue stream. And unpleasant people who greet patients can also throw a monkey wrench in the business.
There are a lot of "moving parts" in a medical practice and a defective one can wreck the whole thing. We've come a long way since the old days of the knowledgeable medical doctor who made house calls, haven't we?
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!