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  • The Journey to a Successful Practice

    For most ophthalmologists, our training often skips over the tools we need to start a practice. This panel was designed to educate budding ophthalmologists on what it takes to start a business, build a practice, and evolve into a successful ophthalmologist. Drs. Ho Sun Choi, Sean Paul and Sandy Feldman have all been through it, and they dropped pearls like an oyster fire sale.

    Here are a few of them:

    1. First, consider your goals: Is geography vital? Do you want a high-end practice? Are you going to be ultra-lean? This will affect where you establish the practice, how much money you need to start and the number and type of hires you will make.
    2. Decide the level of risk you’re comfortable with. Are you going to take a loan and start full-time? Take a first job to save with an eventual transition planned? Open up part time while consulting with other practices?
    3. Be patient with organic practice growth. Whether it’s meeting local referral sources, investing in SEO and social media or negotiating insurance contracts, your practice won’t be built in a day. Stick with the process.
    4. No job should be beneath you. No one will invest as much in your practice as you will. Know how to do every job so you can speak the language of your staff and third parties. This is especially important with contractual agreements and building the patient experience.
    5. Make the leap! It’s impossible to know everything. Believe in yourself!

    Finding mentorship is key. You may find 15 percent of your advice from one source and 20 percent from another. Keep learning so you can make the best investments of your time and effort.

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    James G. Chelnis, MDAbout the author: James G. Chelnis, MD, is assistant professor in oculoplastics at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai. He is also chair of the Academy’s YO Info editorial board.