Should I be a dermatologist?

Start your own business as a dermatologist

With the specialization in medical studies at the latest, the question of professional prospects arises: Should it be a job with hoped-for career options or should it be the way to self-employment as a specialist doctor with his own practice? This post aims to be the final option in all respects Practice oriented be illuminated.

Anyone who decides to specialize in dermatology can take advantage of attractive earning and self-realization opportunities with the option of becoming self-employed as a dermatologist. But what do you need to consider with regard to the branch as a specialist? What are the formal requirements? What are the general strategic options for self-employment as a dermatologist? These questions and the following topics are highlighted in this article.

Starting a business as a dermatologist (dermatologist): become self-employed with PRACTICE orientation!

  • Exploring the starting position

  • Establishing a practice: location analysis and financing strategy

  • Topics for the success-oriented practice organization

  • Formal requirements for starting your own business as a dermatologist

  • The role of the internet in contemporary marketing

  • Telemedicine: seizing new opportunities
     

Establishment as a dermatologist (specialist): possible main areas of treatment

Anyone who wants to settle down as a dermatologist after completing their specialist training must lay the foundations for the later range of treatments during their studies. In this respect, it becomes clear that the path to self-employment should be planned for the long term. In this regard, it is important to gain as much practical experience as possible during your studies and specialist trainingso that you can later set up your own practice with well-founded empirical values. A general distinction is made in this area between the following focal points:

  1. Conservative-curative focus (operative dermatology): Treatment of acute clinical pictures including surgical interventions in outpatient form

  2. Aesthetic-cosmetic area: e.g. removal of warts, laser therapy (can also be medically useful) or botox treatments

Within these directions, the range of treatments can be quite diverse. Ideally, it is consistently designed to meet the needs of the patients on site. It should be borne in mind that basic medical care must always be available in the specialist area (think of the subject of skin cancer prevention, for example). Since millions of people are affected by contact allergies or other intolerances, many resident dermatologists also use the field of allergology.
 

Perspectives: What does the establishment of a practice as a dermatologist mean?

At the beginning, not only the professional, but also the personal requirements must be clarified so that nothing stands in the way of sustainable success. It should be remembered that self-employed work as a dermatologist cannot be compared with everyday life in a clinic. First and foremost, there is undeniable financial uncertainty, especially in the start-up phase. The great freedom of design means that staff must be managed in a goal-oriented and motivating manner. Before that, of course, suitable staff must first be found, for which sufficient time must be planned. Of course, especially with a small team, you should make sure that the chemistry is right. Otherwise it can be difficult to create a feel-good atmosphere for patients even in friendly rooms (if this is possible at all with the doctor). All processes in your own dermatologist's practice have to be handled by yourself, from billing to general practice management. It is important to be clear about what the daily work routine should look like in the early stages of setting up a business.

Practical tip: Branch seminars for holistic preparation

Young and inexperienced specialists in particular often feel overwhelmed by the flood of topics and planning tasks. A branch seminar at the Professional Association of German Dermatologists (BVDD) is a practice-oriented opportunity to prepare holistically for all upcoming tasks and challenges.


Location analysis & financing strategy

The aim of having your own dermatologist's practice must be to ensure that capacity utilization is good. This is the only way to achieve a profitable business with the highest possible income. In this regard, dermatologists have very good cards, especially since doctors in this country are generally among the best-paid professions. The basis for success as a resident dermatologist must be laid with a good location. This should be characterized by the fact that there is an acute need for dermatological care. According to current figures, this is especially the case in rural areas, as the vast majority of dermatologists settle in larger cities. The location analysis must show with reliable figures that opening a practice appears promising in the long term. Due to the demographic change, the need for specialists in this area will also increase in the coming years. In addition to the location, attractive premises must of course also be found. They must be large and functional, with a large reception area if possible. There must be several rooms for treatments and, if necessary, a laboratory. And finally, the premises must be easily accessible. Rooms in a medical center are also popular.
 

High capital requirements require holistic planning

Current figures show that setting up a doctor's practice can quickly run into the six-figure range. Apart from the renovation and furnishing, it is above all the necessary technical devices that drive up the costs. In this respect, a professional business plan will have to be drawn up in order to obtain credits or loans. In general, dermatologists should find it easier to obtain external capital, since the practice is usually profitable. Nevertheless, donors will look very carefully, especially at the location and the underlying calculations for financial requirements. In order to use the greatest possible scope for action, all financing options (including those outside of banks) should be seriously examined in advance.
 

Central topics for starting a practice as a dermatologist / dermatologist

Establish or take over the practice (jointly)?

At the beginning it must be clear whether a new practice will be opened or an existing one will be taken over. In terms of costs, the differences are not serious, although a takeover tends to be more expensive. On the other hand, there is the clear advantage that an immediately running practice operation with an existing patient base can be taken over. In this respect, it should also be discussed in the location analysis whether there are options for taking over a dermatologist's practice. Calculations may have to show which of these options is better in a specific case. Ultimately, it also depends on the founder himself. If you want to take everything into your own hands, you may not be happy with a takeover. It should be noted that the existing patient base will act with a certain level of expectation. There is a trend towards group practices: In this way, the economic risk for the doctor can be minimized and patients enjoy the advantage of a broader range of treatments in just one practice. If a merger with other dermatologists is sought, an appropriate functional legal form must be selected.
 

Target group / occupancy: statutory and / or privately insured persons?

As a rule, specialist practices accept both target groups. From an economic point of view, private patients are of course more attractive because they allow much higher fees. For those with statutory health insurance, there is usually only a limited budget per quarter. Nevertheless, it should be carefully considered to focus 100% on private patients. Because depending on the location, the utilization rate may not be good due to the lack of demand. Then the higher fees would also fizzle out. In practice, a healthy mix turns out to be feasible.
 

Treatment spectrum: basic care, specialties and ...?

The range of treatments gives resident dermatologists the chance to set themselves apart from the competition and to be attractive to a specific target group. In this respect, it can make sense to set up a dermatologist's practice with a focus on allergology. Basic care (acute clinical pictures, cancer prevention, etc.) lays the foundation for sustainable practice. It should also be considered to what extent IGEL services (for self-payers) should be offered. What benefits can they create with regard to the range of treatments? How can these additional offers be marketed discreetly? Of course, the range of services can also extend to the area of ​​skin care. If the area of ​​self-payers is to be strategically weighted more strongly, appropriate treatment methods can be promoted in a targeted manner. It goes without saying that the required technical expertise must be available in the entire team. Resident specialists in this field ideally have a feel for trends with a view to cosmetic skin treatments. Laser treatments are very popular and effective at the same time. The corresponding technology is expensive, but it can be used in the medical and aesthetic field to improve the complexion in many ways.
 

Ensure professional practice organization

It's becoming increasingly common in the news that patients have to wait months for a specialist appointment. In the run-up to the foundation, such reports with regard to a specific location allow the conclusion that there must be an acute lack of treatment. In later practice, however, angry patients can become a problem if they express themselves negatively about the practice (e.g. on review portals). In this respect, the appointment allocation should be arranged in such a way that appointments (if necessary according to urgency) are allocated promptly. A morning emergency consultation every day can ensure that patients can quickly enjoy professional dermatological treatment. Waiting times for appointments cannot always be avoided, even with the best organization. It is therefore important to make waiting patients as comfortable as possible. There are hardly any limits to creativity in order to stand out from the competition. More and more practices are also moving to the fact that appointments (at least a part of the entire contingent) can be booked flexibly online. The organization of the practice must, above all, be designed professionally from a business point of view, especially with regard to the necessary accounting and formalities and deadlines to be observed. As an employer, resident dermatologists must of course also ensure that they transfer employees' salaries and social security contributions in good time. The legally stipulated accounting obligations must also be complied with.
 

Formal requirements in the run-up to setting up the practice

Anyone who wants to become self-employed as a dermatologist or to settle down must have successfully completed their specialist training (license to practice medicine). For this purpose, depending on the area / specialization, a further training period of up to 60 months should be planned. Once again it becomes clear that the path to self-employment as a dermatologist is more of a long-term nature. Anyone who wants to treat patients with statutory insurance in their practice must submit an application to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. In the case of completed specialist training, this is not usually just a matter of formality. It should be considered whether a specialist training with full or half supply mandate is sought. The resident dermatologist must then be available for at least 20 or 10 consultation hours per week. With a view to billing with statutory health insurance companies, the fee schedule is decisive. Corresponding software solutions can be reliably implemented in practice.

With a view to the Income Tax Act, dermatologists are among the medical professions, so that the status of the freelancer can be used. A business registration is generally not necessary. However, depending on the focus and the range of treatments, it may well be the case that commercial activities arise. This is always the case when the core of the actual professional activity is left. A commercial obligation for dermatologists could arise, for example, if no own and above all no medical products are sold. Meaningful decisions can only be made in a specific case.
 

The role of the internet in the image of general practitioners

As far as marketing for general practitioners is concerned, the Internet now plays an important role in the form of rating portals. The background is that many patients now want to get an idea of ​​the specialist beforehand. Beyond a homepage that can also be recommended for the opening of the practice, which can advertise the necessary trust, the focus is shifting to review portals: there, patients rate doctors in many areas with grades. Those who do poorly here compared to the competition will be left out in the long run. In this respect, professional monitoring should be carried out, if necessary with external support. In any case, negative reviews should not go uncommented. A professional practice organization is the best recipe for good and ultimately image-enhancing (!) Reviews on said portals such as jameda.
 

Have new opportunities / trends strategically on the screen

In recent months there has been constant talk of new treatment options, especially in regions where there is an acute shortage of doctors. In this context, so-called telemedicine is increasingly moving into context. This could result in new fields of activity for resident dermatologists in the near future, which could simplify the complex search for a location. For example, a personal video consultation in a secure virtual 'treatment room' would be conceivable. In the field of dermatology, patients could send pictures of skin diseases and the doctor could then give their professional opinion in a timely manner. If you want to position yourself as a resident specialist as broadly and future-oriented as possible, you should strategically consider the option of telemedicine.

Summary for the business idea 'start your own business as a dermatologist'

  1. Check all strategic options with a view to the range of treatments, the target group, the establishment of a practice: if necessary, a practice takeover or the establishment of a group practice may also be considered (contacts must be established during the course for this purpose)

  2. Finding a suitable location (including functional premises) and setting up a resilient financing strategy have proven to be critical to the success of the step into independence

  3. The formal requirement for setting up as a dermatologist is specialist training or a license to practice medicine

  4. The perceived image, which is strongly influenced by ratings on doctor portals, should be optimized in a targeted manner through strategic measures in this area

  5. Telemedicine: Use new trends to position yourself more broadly for the future.