The Lessons I've Learned From Owning My Own Medical Practice

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Brandon Betancourt

Business director for a pediatric practice in Chicago. He is a speaker, consultant and blogger. You can follow him on Twitter @PediatricInc or visit his blog at

This blog was originally posted on


A few years ago, my wife and I decided to open up our own practice. We looked around, saw other people with their own practice and we said to ourselves, "... how hard can it be?"

Ignorance and naiveness can be a good thing. Because had we known then what we know now about running and owning your own medical practice, we probably would have not gone down this path. But that is topic for another post.

In these past years we've learned a lot. But some of the most valuable lessons haven't been about practice management, manage care or medical billing, but rather life lessons.

No long ago, I sat down and wrote down some of these lessons I had learned from managing and owning our own medical practice. Here they are:

1. Give the benefit of the doubt. - This is one of my top rules in customer service and I try to always have it in mind when dealing with parents, employees, and vendors. When you start out by giving people the benefit of the doubt, in the absence of complete confirmation, communication outcomes improve.

However, giving people favorable judgment in absence of evidence only exist if there is trust. In other words, if one is unable to give a person the benefit of the doubt, you most likely do not trust the person. Likewise, if someone like an employee or a patient doesn’t give you the benefit of the doubt, they don’t trust you.

2. Communication matters. - It amazes me that we humans still have communication issues. We do more communicating than anything else, yet we are not that good at it. You’d think we would all be experts by now. But the reality is that most of us stink at it.

These past years I’ve realized that more than ever, how I communicate, when I communicate, to whom I communicate, matters. I realize now that the outcome of each of my communications hinge upon how I convey messages. So I try not to take communication lightly.

3. Be your own boss is a lie. - When one decides to strike it out on your own, the assumption is that you are your own boss. Anybody that tells you that is lying. The fact is you will have as many bosses as you do customers/clients/patients.

Oh, another thing about being your own boss... once you are on your own, expect to work 10x more than you’ve ever worked when you were working for someone else.

4. Experts don’t really know. – Let me explain. Throughout our brief history as a company, we’ve come to different crossroads in which we’ve reached out to experts in an effort to help us decide which route to take. And in our experience, these experts bring a lot of data, analysis, tables, graphs and anecdotes of what other practices have done, but when analyzing our business, they often lack deep perception of the situation and judgement.

Now, I’m not suggesting experts are not valuable. In fact many have helped us. But what I am suggesting is that at the end of the day, you know your business better than anybody else. So don’t rely solely on experts, because they really, truly, don’t know.

5. Challenges are a necessity of growth. - If you study great role models lives, you will almost certainly find they’ve overcome extraordinary hardships. And as a result of their difficulties, they are able to inspire others to overcome their own challenges.

One can conclude then, that without these hardships, it is highly unlikely these roles models will have achieved the level of wisdom or grown as people, as businesspersons or as leaders.

I have a love and hate relationships with challenges. Being tested is annoying, not gonna lie. But at the same time, I understand that these trials I am faced with enable me to be better prepared for future challenges.

6. Trust your gut. – In business, there is a lot of grey areas when it comes to making decisions. Sure, there is data, statistics, analysis, reports, input from others etc., that will help one steer towards the right direction; but very rarely will things be clear-cut or simply black and white. More often than not, one will have to trust your self to do what is right without having 100% certainty of the outcome. Therefore I’ve learned that trusting my gut is OK.

There you have it. These are my main lessons. Of course, if I decided to write all the lessons I've learned, I would have enough for a book. But these are the universal ones that apply to many of my day to day decisions.