Practice Institute founders offer business advice in Practice HelpDesk teleconference

Members of the Practice Organization seek solutions to problems surrounding billing, marketing and insurance.

By Jewel Edwards-Ashman

Psychologists received answers to their toughest practice-related business questions during the first live teleconference with veteran psychologists and business consultants from The Practice Institute.

From left: Lauren Behrman, PhD, Pauline Wallin, PhD, and Jeff Zimmerman, PhD, ABPP

Lauren Behrman, PhD, Pauline Wallin, PhD, and Jeff Zimmerman, PhD, ABPP, offered their solutions to practitioners’ financial and marketing issues during the Oct. 20 call hosted by the Practice Organization. The psychologists also made recommendations to practitioners trying to decide between group and solo practice, accepting insurance or only taking cash payments, and whether to use paper or electronic health records.

Behrman, Wallin and Zimmerman participated in the call as guests of the Practice Organization. Their company, The Practice Institute, offers business consulting services to psychologists in private practice.

More than 60 practitioners joined the call to ask questions and listen to the panelists’ recommendations. Here is just a bit of the expert advice they provided.

  • If you’re entering the field of telehealth: The speakers recommended that psychologists interested in doing telehealth counseling visit the Practice Central: Resources for Practicing Psychologists webpage, which houses the review of telepsychology practices in all 50 states. The review covers state regulations and guidelines as they apply to the practice of telehealth. For more information on telepsychology guidelines, please contact the Practice Organization’s Legal and Regulatory Affairs staff.
  • If you’re looking to boost your roster of patients: Increasing your clientele can be accomplished through new marketing approaches, networking and expanding your practice area. Behrman recommended adding another niche to your practice to develop another stream of client referrals. Joining organizations for practitioners that specialize in that niche is another great way to find new clients, she added.

    Zimmerman said starting a blog could demonstrate your expertise in your practice area. “Blog about topics that would be of interest to the kinds of people you want to help,” said Wallin.

    Wallin added that doing press interviews and showing up to industry events is also a great way to increase visibility and attract referrals for new patients. She also recommended that practitioners get listed on “Google My Business,” an application that allows your practice to show up Google Maps when potential patients are searching for local mental health professionals.
  • If you’re looking at joining a group practice versus continuing as a solo practitioner: Psychologists should evaluate how much they enjoy connecting with their peers and how much they value their independence when choosing a method for practice. For psychologists entering group practices, the panelists suggested that they discuss business operations, compensation and core values with their potential partners before starting their business relationship.

A transcript of the entire Oct. 20 teleconference, along with an mp3, will be available on the Practice Management section of the Practice Central website.

More information on The Practice Institute and Behrman, Wallin and Zimmerman is available on The Practice Institute website.

Practice Organization members can also find an abundance of management, financial and legal and regulatory information related to private practice in the Business of Practice section on the Practice Central website.