Chapter 6:
Checklist for starting a new medical practice

5-minute read

Opening your new medical practice can be the start of an exciting journey. From deciding that you’re ready to open your new medical practice to researching the different types of medical practices available and deciding whether to buy or start your own, there are so many details to keep track of. Where will you be located? What will your business plan look like? What is your budget, and how will you find funding for your new enterprise? All of these questions can be answered with some careful planning and plenty of foresight – which is why setting a timeline and planning out your next steps is so important.

Most of the questions above should be answered at least six months to a year before you decide to open your practice. Once you’ve settled on the type of medical practice you’d like to operate, it’s time to look into details like whether you’ll buy or lease, setting up all the right business accounts and getting insurance. From there, you’ll need to fulfill all your professional obligations like licensing, incorporating, and hiring the right people to help you – both as employees and as the professional experts that will help you set up shop the right way.

The first year of operations can be tricky, so it’s a good idea to be prepared. This means setting up your medical office operations and purchasing your equipment at least two to three months in advance of opening. Things like your medical office policy and the setup of your office will influence how your office is run and the way patients view your practice, so give yourself a few months preparation to get things right. Finally, you’ll need to look into managing and marketing your medical practice to ensure that your patients have the best visit possible.

All of this information can be daunting at first, but breaking it down into steps can make it a lot easier. Check out our guided checklist for opening your own medical practice:

Preparing to open your practice

Before you get too far into the process of opening your own medical practice, there are some details you should take care of, including:

  • Select a start date for your medical practice at least six months to a year before opening
  • Hire an accountant and a lawyer to assist you with incorporation and financing
  • Choose a location
  • Develop a business plan
  • Develop a budget

Financing and licensing

  • Research financing options and meet with lenders
  • Secure financing for your operations
  • Set up necessary business bank accounts
  • Obtain professional designations and licenses
  • Set up your business as a legal entity

Location and office space

  • Select a geographic area
  • Research available properties to lease or buy
  • Negotiate terms of office lease/purchase
  • Evaluate space and equipment needs
  • Coordinate logo and signage


  • Determine staff needs
  • Develop job descriptions and office policy manual
  • Budget for salary
  • Recruit new staff
  • Follow up on references
  • Hire new staff
  • Set up employee contracts


  • Choose an EMR software
  • Choose an accounting software
  • Choose a payroll software
  • Choose a scheduling software
  • Choose a billing service
  • Set up employee information and benefits packages
  • Research and compare insurance options
  • Set up malpractice insurance
  • Set up group health insurance
  • Set up office liability insurance
  • Create an office policy manual

Set up office and equipment

  • Create a list of clinical equipment needs (patient beds, medical tools)
  • Create a list of day to day office equipment needs (telephones, computers)
  • Create a list of specialized equipment needs (ultrasounds, lab equipment)
  • Create an equipment budget
  • Seek out vendors and compare prices
  • Place equipment orders
  • Place office equipment orders
  • Arrange delivery with your office space
  • Assemble and organize equipment
  • Install computer software (EMR, accounting, payroll)

Processes and procedures

  • Set up a process for bank deposits and cheque writing
  • Set up checks and balances for accounting (dual signatures, etc.)
  • Set up daily/monthly financial reporting standards
  • Set up appointment scheduling
  • Establish appointment booking procedures
  • Set up accounting procedures (payables/receivables)

Market and manage your medical practice

  •  Establish clear expectations with employees
  • Set out a clear separation of duties
  • Train employees on processes and software systems
  • Draft/organize patient forms and processes
  • Order materials for waiting room
  • Arrange garbage and recycling pickup
  • Communicate with pharmaceutical reps
  • Develop a logo
  • Create a marketing strategy
  • Assign staff/contractors to assist in implementation of marketing strategy
  • Make a public announcement about your practice opening
  • Place ads in your local newspaper or other media
  • Place ads in local newspaper and media
  • Create pamphlets, brochures, and flyers
  • Develop and create a website
  • Connect with referring physicians

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