Private Practices

Navigating private practice business challenges


Running a private practice is not without challenges, but a strong foundation helps ensure that physicians are prepared to face any hurdle. The American Medical Association creates resources aimed at navigating these challenges while helping increase workflow efficiency and reducing administrative burdens, so you can focus on what matters most—patient care.

Keep your practice running

The AMA is fighting to keep private practice a viable option for physicians. We're working to remove unnecessary burdens so physicians can reclaim the time they need to focus on patients. 

Private Practice Playbook

Access key steps, best practices and resources for thriving in private practice.

AMA STEPS Forward® Private Practice Playbook

Private practices deal with administrative issues on a regular basis, ranging from staffing to scheduling, supply management, revenue-cycle concerns and prior authorization. AMA’s podcast series “Private Practice: Attending to Business” discusses a number of these issues in “Private Practice Administrative Issues Part I.”

AMA Private Practice Simple Solutions are free, open-access rapid learning cycles that allow doctors to learn from—and with—each other on a range of relevant topics, including workflow and payment to telemedicine and team-based care, designed to help private practices navigate the challenges in the current environment.

The Private Practice Playbook also includes resources on business (PDF) and financial (PDF) considerations for private practices.

Business and medical documents are critical to the successful operation of medical services, yet private practices may not have access to the same resources found in larger health systems.

To address this challenge, AMA offers a collection of templated forms for independent physician practices addressing patient, employee and administrative needs. The most commonly used business and medical forms can be found in the appendix (PDF) to the AMA STEPS Forward® Private Practice Playbook.

While payor audits have become more common, it does not necessarily mean that a practice has done something wrong. Once an audit is received, time is of the essence, and it is important to designate a point of contact so any inadvertent delays do not compound the audit. This “Private Practice: Attending to Business” podcast episode discusses how private practices should handle payor audits.

Practicing physicians encounter a wide variety of options when negotiating the terms and conditions of payment for services. The AMA has developed a comprehensive private practice toolkit on payor contracting that covers:

Physicians and practice staff spend time dealing with complex issues in the insurance claim payment process, including prior authorizations, claim filing and payment reconciliation. The AMA’s electronic transaction toolkits offer a wealth of information to help practices transition to electronic processes and improve the efficiency of their business.

The challenges of managing the staffing, finances and regulatory compliance obligations of a private practice can contribute to physician burnout. Particularly in smaller private practices, physicians will have additional responsibilities that may not be found in other settings.

The good news is private practice physicians also have more control over factors of their own environment, which can offer some protection from burnout. AMA's open-access toolkits offer strategies that allow physicians and their staff to address physician burnout and thrive in the health care environment. 

Documentation and staffing shortages are common workflow issues in private practice that can ultimately impact patient care. Because physicians in private practice have more control over workflow and information flow, they can address these challenges by establishing strong models of team-based care.

This podcast episode details common workflow challenges facing private practices and the ways that physicians can streamline processes to increase staff productivity.

Dive deeper to explore more AMA resources on how to navigate medical practice business operations and solutions to create and support a thriving business.