The easiest and cheapest way to start a side business is doing it via telemedicine. It fits perfectly into The Elite Nurse Practitioner Model. Telemedicine continues to gain more and more traction as millennial’s get older and people realize how pointless most in person medical visits really are. It is a growing field and nurse practitioners can be on the front lines utilizing this modern day technology.
So why is telemedicine such a great practice model for the nurse practitioner? One answer: INDEPENDENT PRACTICE AUTHORITY. You can live in a very restrictive state and practice independently online in other states such as Washington, Oregon, Arizona, etc… You do not need a supervising physician. Repeat this with me, YOU DO NOT NEED A SUPERVISING PHYSICIAN. This automatically saves you thousands of dollars a year.
The skies the limit with telemedicine for the nurse practitioner. Setting up a telemedicine practice is relatively easy compared to a brick and mortar business. The four essentials are:
1. Personal computer. (Do not operate a telemedicine practice from a tablet. It would not be as efficient as an actual computer.)
2. Cell phone.
3. Website. (Go Daddy is very simple and priced well. You can literally design a good looking website on Go Daddy within 2-3 hours.)
Outside of standard business items such as a LLC, bank account, etc… that is all you need for a telemedicine practice.
You might be asking yourself “Well what about an EMR?” and that is a valid question. It is optional. If you are running a cash practice you really don’t need one. Word documents filed in a folder on a secure google drive would suffice for a small startup telemedicine practice. There are multiple free HIPAA compliant video platforms out there as well.
If you don’t mind paying $50 a month, you can go with a very basic EMR. I use one called Simple Practice. As its name implies, it is very simple. The telemedicine video chat is built in. It also has point of sale features on it. It is a worthwhile expense in my opinion.
If you accept insurance you will have to comply with all their bogus rules and regulations for reimbursement. There are a multitude of items you must comply with when taking insurance and using telemedicine. These really add onto your expenses. I recommend avoiding insurance when using telemedicine. It will complicate a relatively simple process. If you want to know what the requirements are, they are easy to find online and beyond the scope of this article since I do not advocate for it.
That is essentially all you need to start a telemedicine practice. I started one with $8,000 with $6,000 of that going to marketing the hell out of it. Otherwise the actual foundation of your practice should not cost you more than $2,000-$3,000 at the most. Monthly operational costs would be around $100 while marketing costs could be as much as you want to spend. Remember something about telemedicine: it is all about how you market your service to potential patients. This is how you build your patient base!
You must utilize multiple marketing channels with social media being a huge component. Avoid paying people to market for you. It is very easy to learn. You must set aside a healthy marketing budget during the startup planning of your telemedicine practice. Be prepared to drop multiple thousands of dollars to get the word out. If you don’t have this in your budget then continue to save before launching.
The biggest challenge an aspiring nurse practitioner entrepreneur will have when starting a telemedicine practice will be the service niche. This is VITAL to your success. Outside of marketing, your service niche is the most important part of your business. Do not create a telemedicine primary care office or urgent care. This is overdone and you will fail. Think outside the box like the guy who created the online erectile dysfunction telemedicine practice. Men love a robust erection and do not like going to a doctor’s office. It was a stroke of genius in my opinion. That practice probably makes millions by simply doing a 10 minute phone visit and prescribing a 6 month supply of Viagra or Cialis. So think outside the box here!
Another significant startup cost will be licensing. You need to get licensed in every state you want to practice in. This can add up quickly but overall most NP licenses will cost you $200-300 each. A worthwhile expense seeing you can make that up with 2-3 patients.
If you want to implement The Elite Nurse Practitioner Model into your life, but you live in a restrictive state, then starting a telemedicine practice could be a way around that barrier! Begin brainstorming a service niche and get a telemedicine practice up and running. You will be very surprised how relatively easy it can be!