Mon. Sep 27th, 2021

Setting up and operating a business requires overseeing what sometimes feels like a hundred moving parts. There’s no shortage of tasks to accomplish. However, these tasks are rarely difficult, even the more time consuming ones. Pairing some clarity of vision with decent organization abilities goes a long way. The picture for this week’s post is my original bird’s eye view organizational chart. The deadline dates may not be as accurate, but I made this to keep myself on track and to remind myself what needs to come next.

There are many people who say starting up a business takes about 1 year and I agree. I started working in earnest on my practice around the beginning of October and was just ready to consider myself open this week, which puts my startup time to be between 9-10 months. I did not learn about the 1 year time frame until I was about 7 months in, and at the start I severely underestimated how much time the process took. My initial time frame had me more or less set up by April (it is now the end of July). For anyone thinking about starting their own DPC, just make sure you know the approximate set up time needed and prepare accordingly.

Timing also plays a large role. Having a priority list or at least knowing what needs to be done now vs later is essential. I briefly mentioned in part 2 how I messed up with my credit card. Through trial and error, I would say you can prioritize your tasks by asking yourself these questions:

-Is this step essential for opening/Will not doing this step now delay my opening?
-Do future events depend on me completing this task? (eg setting up a GPO is dependent on having and EIN which requires an LLC filed)

Seems intuitive and obvious, but in reality there’s enough busy work to sometimes make you lose track of the larger timeline. Active procrastination can happen too where you choose to do a bunch of non-essential tasks while avoiding one big essential task. I hate paperwork and was certainly guilty of that along the way.

When opening a business, time becomes an incredibly valuable commodity in limited supply (though we’ve all gone through med school and know this already). Planning out and organizing time is arguably as important as arranging finances. Failing to allow enough time to set up and not using time wisely can be as equally devastating as not managing finances well. This post is shorter than my previous one, but I think the key points are vital as learning to accomplish the right tasks in the right order has been a huge lesson for me.

19560cookie-checkDPC Diary Part 4

By Kenneth Qiu, MD

Dr. Qiu will be moderating our Resident and Student section. Kenneth Qiu, MD recently finished his family medicine residency and has just opened a DPC practice in the Richmond, VA area ( He has been involved with the DPC community since medical school and has worked to increase awareness of DPC for medical students and residents across the country. He’s presented at three previous DPC Summits.

4 thoughts on “DPC Diary Part 4”
  1. Very wise counsel…Some folks are comfortable managing all of the tasks. Some are not. In business, it is critical to identify your best and highest calling. Prioritizing can make the difference in freeing you to focus on the vital few things that will make you successful. There are service providers out there that will help you launch your practice. It is important for anyone considering this to evaluate which you are….comfortable managing all the tasks or focusing on the care itself. Delegating to partners who allow you to focus on your best and highest calling could make sense.

  2. Very much enjoy reading your DPC diaries. I think this will be very helpful for those considering DPC or starting out. I will make one comment though that while it might take up to a year, it absolutely doesn’t have to. For example, it took you 3 months to come up with a name and logo, which is incredibly reasonable. It might take others longer. However, it doesn’t have to. My practice is my name and I have no logo, so it took me zero days. Not by choice (I was originally going to buy a practice and it fell through AFTER I had given my 90 day notice), but I set up my entire practice in 60 days while still working a very busy full time job. Having a 60 day window (again, not by choice), forced me to make some very quick decisions that otherwise might have taken longer. Went to office furniture store and ordered furniture in 1 day. Called McKesson, they provided me with a template for supplies, took a day or two to modify and ask questions:supplies done. The two things you don’t have control over that might take longer is license (I was starting my practice in a new state) and real estate (reasonable, affordable, ready to go space might not be readily available).

    1. Thanks for reading! You’re absolutely right, everyone has their own time frame. Many things took longer than expected and some, like McKesson, were super fast.

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