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Startup Spotlight | June '13

Preparing for Private Practice: Anticipating the Unexpected

When starting a practice, some things may seem obvious: you need a slit lamp, you need an eye chart. That said, there are many things that may not come to the front of your mind that are also important to take into account. For example, you may decide you only need one technician, but what do you do if that technician calls in sick? It is important to have your practice run lean, but it is also crucial to anticipate potential problems that arise and be prepared to tackle them head on. Here I will focus on some potential issues.

No. 1. Electronic Medical Records (EMR)

So you’ve now set up your own practice with EMR, but what happens if you lose power? What happens if you just lose Internet access? Once you transition to EMR, it will become the soul of your practice, and you will not be able to function without it. You should be certain that you would have an alternative should you have an electronic malfunction. In my practice, I use a cloud-connected EMR system (Modernizing Medicine). With my iPad-based setup, I can use a cellular-enabled iPad (Apple, Inc.) to access the system if I lose Internet connectivity, electricity, or both.

No. 2. Bathrooms

Your entire office, including bathrooms, should be cleaned frequently so they are satisfactory for your patients’ experiences, and cleanliness also reflects on your quality of care. There will be that moment when a patient has an unfortunate accident in your bathroom. You should clearly delineate whose responsibility it will be to handle the situation when it arises, and you should be armed with all necessary cleaning supplies as well.

No. 3. Surge Protection

This seems simple enough, but I am amazed at how many practices have equipment valued at tens of thousands of dollars that is not on a surge protector. In truth, I don’t think a surge protector is enough—you should have all equipment on surge protectors that also provide battery backup to give you a few minutes to save information. You never know when a power outage will happen, but having several minutes after it occurs to calmly save your data will save you hours of labor down the road.


In summary, you should be prepared for any type of emergency that may come up. The possibilities are limitless, but as you practice, you will find which scenarios are more important to prepare for than others. In the meantime, you should always feel comfortable speaking to friends and colleagues for advice.

David A. Goldman, MD

David A. Goldman, MD, is the founder of Goldman Eye in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Dr.Goldman may be reached at (561)630-7120;david@goldmaneye.com.

June '13