Starting a Practice May Be Easier Than You Think

Here are some tips for starting your own practice and setting yourself — and your patients — up for success from the get-go.

When I began my career as a physician practicing family medicine with a focus on obesity, it became clear to me that many of my patient’s challenges could be prevented with lifestyle treatment. During my residency, I had the opportunity to work with an obesity specialist — and immediately I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

Soon I realized that most family medicine groups don’t really understand what an obesity specialist does or why this type of care is important. That’s when I realized having my own practice was the best way for me to treat patients. This decision has allowed me to truly make a difference in the lives of my patients and has given me the professional autonomy that comes with owning your practice.

Here are some tips for starting your own practice and setting yourself — and your patients — up for success from the get-go.

Find the Right Team

There’s no way to sugarcoat it — staffing is one of the most challenging aspects of owning your own practice. Finding the right people for the job is difficult and it takes time to train your team. When employees don’t work out or they leave, it’s stressful and can be disruptive to your practice. I have found success hiring pre-health students. They are eager to gain experience and receive mentorship for the next phase of their training, and we get motivated employees who are open to joining an established medical practice. It’s a win-win situation and, as a result, we have an awesome team.

Use Practice Management Tools

From appointments to invoicing to managing medical records, a lot goes into running a busy practice. Luckily for us, there’s technology that automates and streamlines many of the day-to-day tasks. This helps minimize mundane administrative jobs and allows you to focus on what matters most — caring for your patients. What’s more, if you find the right practice management technology for your office, you may even be able to get away without having any staff. It’s worth it to explore the options out there and see if there’s a high-tech solution that can automate services for your practice.

Network, Network, Network

The key to a busy practice is networking! Whether your patients come by physician referral or they are your neighbors, high school friends or gym buddies — you never know who is going to refer patients to you. Be proud of what you do and share your passion with everyone you meet and you will have a busy practice. And, on the flip side, if you know any savvy business owners, ask them for tips and insights. Many of the struggles small businesses face are universal and having access to like-minded professionals can be beneficial (and refreshing).

The decision to start your own practice should not be taken lightly. But, from my experience, it’s easier than you think and the most fulfilling way to care for patients. I’m always surprised by how much my patients appreciate me. They are so happy to have someone listen to them in a non-judgmental way about their weight and come up with an individualized plan. My practice allows me to feel like I’m changing lives and advocating for my patients.

Join the Obesity Medicine Association for access to clinical and operational resources and more by visiting,

Dr. Carolynn Francavilla Brown is board certified in Family Medicine and a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Dr. Francavilla is a family physician and obesity specialist and the owner of a small private practice in Colorado. She also runs She sits on the Obesity Medicine Association Board of Trustees and the Governing Council for the AMA’s Private Practice Physician Section and has previously sat on the Colorado Medical Society Board and the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians Board of Directors.

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