Articles and Case Studies

A brief guide to setting up in private practice

01 Jun 2022

Karen Stephens 110x137

by Ms Karen Stephens

Practice setup

Here’s a brief checklist outlining the main things you may need to consider before setting up your private practice.

Business planning

Business structure

Financing and insurances*

Location – demographics, nearby colleagues or referrers, nearby competitors, patient/staff access, disability access, optimal layout, buy or lease

Equipment and supplies

Accreditations and licensing

IT system and support – software, hardware, phones, backup, telehealth, cybersecurity

Marketing and advertising, including websites and social media

Advice from a business adviser, accountant, financial adviser, lawyer and/or practice manager, preferably with experience in the medical field.


Business – government guides

See the Starting a business checklist from which has detailed information on key steps and a downloadable checklist.

Each state or territory has specific information on starting a business:










Private practice – College guides


General Practice Business Toolkit


Preparation for practice


A guide to private psychiatric practice


Patient information systems and processes

Medical records

Appointment system

Follow-up of tests and referrals

New patient registration

Telehealth Consent forms

Complaints handling


Clinical procedures

Infection control

Medication storage

Emergency equipment



Medicare billing requires a location-specific provider number — apply via Services Australia or PRODA/HPOS account

Compliance with item descriptors and explanatory notes in the MBS

Invoicing and records for tax purposes

Informing patients about costs upfront – see the AMA’s Informed financial consent



Clinical and non-clinical staff:

  • Recruitment, screening (e.g., Working with Children checks), employment contracts and position descriptions
  • Training and performance management
  • Superannuation and taxation
  • Clinical supervision


Obligations as an employer:



By law a medical practice must have a privacy policy:

If using cloud backup or storage, it’s easiest to meet Australian privacy law requirements if the server is in Australia

Confidentiality agreements for staff — see:



Advertising, including a website or social media presence, must comply with Ahpra’s Guidelines for advertising aregulated health service

Advertising therapeutic goods or medicines must comply with the TGA’s advertising regulations

Direct marketing to patients requires their specific consent (under privacy law; APP7)

*MDA National offers practice indemnity policies to cover claims against the practice or an employee of the practice, for matters such as privacy breaches, loss of documents, intellectual property disputes and more.

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Communication with Patients, Confidentiality and Privacy, Employment Essentials, Medical Records and Reports, Practice Management, Regulation and Legislation, Technology, Anaesthesia, Dermatology, General Practice, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ophthalmology, Practice Manager Or Owner, Psychiatry, Sports Medicine, Surgery, Physician, Geriatric Medicine, Cardiology, Plastic And Reconstructive Surgery, Radiation Oncology, Paediatrics, Independent Medical Assessor - IME, Gastroenterology


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