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Side business ideas for a group practice

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  • Side business ideas for a group practice

    I've been looking through some of the forums about "side gigs" or "side hustles" and there are some great ideas for physicians on an individual level.  However, I could not find any discussions on side businesses as a spin-off from a group practice, and I was wondering what sort of projects are out there.  It seems like there are lots of ways to generate passive income on your own time, but I would imagine that a much greater scale is possible when using the collective resources, group thinking, and tax benefits when deriving it from an thriving practice.  I'm a partner in an anesthesia private practice of around 70 partners, many of whom are young and enthusiastic and willing to take some risks.

    I'm curious as to what has worked, and not worked for others.  It would be great to hear any experiences you've had.


    P.S. This is my first post to the forum.  I've been gobbling up everything this website, blog, and podcast has to offer for several months now and it truly has changed my life.  I think it's one of the best things for our profession.  Thank you for creating this community and valuable resource, WCI.


  • #2
    I don't have much experience with this, but what an interesting question. Investment-wise, the biggest issue you'll have is avoiding bad-will if they don't go as well as planned. That alone may is an enormous risk and may be enough to nix the idea entirely. Some anesthesia groups have side-entities that own surgicenters or the like. The feasibility depends on how your group is structured. I hope you'll get some other ideas here, but taking an ownership interest in the ORs may be a good place to start.


    • #3

      Investment-wise, the biggest issue you’ll have is avoiding bad-will if they don’t go as well as planned.
      Click to expand...

      I know what you mean by this.  One of my friend's group spun off a billing company that led to some tension due to the inequality of ownership opportunity.  I think it's been resolved but it took a while.  Our group doesn't currently do something like this, but I was would think that it might be possible with the right people involved.  Everyone is so concerned about reimbursement going down and having to work harder for less.  It seems like we need to find ways to up the practice income besides the standard fee for service.

       taking an ownership interest in the ORs may be a good place to start.
      Click to expand...

      I'm not sure how others have done it, but we had a surgery center open that was owned mostly by the hospital and we had an opportunity to buy an ownership stake in the surgery center.  I don't think that anyone ended up doing it because it took almost 10 years to get your return on investment and the profit is taxed at your marginal rate.  That one didn't seem like it was that great an opportunity but I'd be curious to hear if others have had a better one.

      Also, I've heard of some groups that invested in real estate.  Does anyone have experience with this?


      • #4
        I think unless it's related to your specialty and your day-to-day activities that you all are familiar with it's going to be difficult to get buy-in for an unrelated investment funded by the entire group.  In business it's always best to not go too far from your core competency.  Most of those ventures fail.  Typically others are better at whatever you're thinking about going into if not related to what you do, and your efforts to that end will distract from what your focus should be.  Much has been lost due to unbridled enthusiasm.


        • #5
          I totally agree with entdoc. You could make more money in a weekend of doing anesthesia locum than selling toothpaste with Amway for a whole year. You are good at doing anesthesia. Find a way to make money doing what you do best. The next best way is to make money off other anesthesiologists by making them work for you! Owning apartment buildings and restaurants can be very time consuming unless your non-physician spouse wants to work that business.

          I like to brew beer beer as a hobby. At some point it might be fun for me to invest in a small business making and selling craft beer. I’m still thinking about it. In the meantime, 3 new brewpubs have opened in my town!


          • #6
            EM here, what I've heard about or participated on group level: Billing. Scribes. Corporate real estate. Malpractice insurance. Freestanding ED. Urgent care.

            It's gotta be optional (outside of the practice).

            Look forward to hearing from others.