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The health care sector is an amazing place for aspiring entrepreneurs to open up shop. Exploring health care business ideas is smart for lots of reasons.
There’s an opportunity to do a world of good by serving an aging American population and helping those struggling with the national drug crisis. There are lots of new medical and technological advances, and widespread interest in health and wellness, too. And those are all great incentives for passionate entrepreneurs.
Plus, these factors combined mean there's a thriving market for health-related businesses. Aspiring new business owners can turn one of many health care business ideas into a viable way to make a living, including those entrepreneurs who want to work remotely.
This list of health care business ideas should get you started — and maybe inspire you to explore starting a business.
18 medical business ideas
Medical transcription services
Medical records management
Physical/occupational therapy center
Develop a health care app
Diabetic care center
Home health care service
Medical foot care
Drug treatment/rehabilitation center
Medical billing service
Alternative health care
Health information website
Medical supply sales
Stylish uniforms for medical professionals
Hearing aid dispensary
Respite care service for caregivers
Medical marijuana dispensary
Why businesses in health care are worth exploring
Nationwide spending on health is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.5% annually through 2026. That’s one percentage point faster than the national GDP is projected to grow during that same time. And by 2026, health care is projected to account for nearly 20% of the GDP.
Employment in health care-related occupations is projected to grow 18% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly half of the 20 occupations projected to have the highest percentage increase in employment by 2026 are in the health care industry.
What that spells is a lot of opportunity.
One big reason for the surge in health care spending: By 2030, the Census Bureau projects, approximately one-fifth of the population will be 65 and older. This will be the first time in history that the number of Americans over age 65 will surpass the number of Americans under 18.
Keep those numbers in mind as you look through this list of health care business ideas.
18 health care business ideas to consider
1. Medical transcription services
Medical transcriptionists transcribe doctors’, nurses’ and other health care practitioners’ voice recordings into written documents for patients’ records. Speech recognition technology has definitely improved the efficiency of medical transcription, sure. But it certainly hasn’t yet replaced the need for human transcriptionists to review and correct the transcriptions to make sure they’re accurate.
This is a great business to run from home because you can make your own hours, and all of the work can be done digitally. Plus, if you’re digitally savvy and can create an efficient (and secure) way to share files, you can really one-up the competition.
2. Medical records management
Start a service that manages medical records for hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices. You can work with clients to identify the best records management systems, implement them and provide their staff with training on how to use the systems.
Another approach? You can offer full-service medical records management, and clients can outsource the work to you. This can be helpful for boutique practices and sole practitioners who need the organization but can’t afford the in-house staff.
3. Physical/occupational therapy center
Physical therapists help patients recover from injuries to regain their full range of motion and reduce pain. Occupational therapists provide more specific therapy to help patients perform tasks of daily living, such as dressing themselves or feeding themselves. You can specialize in one or the other, or put both under one roof. Note that this does require certification.
4. Develop a health care app
Both health care providers and individuals alike are increasingly turning to mobile apps to track, record and manage medical conditions. The world is your oyster if you’re skilled in app development, so you might want to consider developing your own health care app targeting these markets. Do some field research to find out where your skills can fit a need.
5. Diabetic care center
According to the CDC, 9.4% of all Americans either have diabetes or are prediabetic. Opening a diabetic care center can help diabetic patients improve their quality of life by providing nutrition counseling, dialysis and other medical services. You can also provide preventive help such as teaching healthy eating habits or providing support groups for diabetics.
6. Home health care service
A home health care business provides in-home medical care for recently discharged hospital patients, patients with chronic health conditions, seniors and others who need assistance managing their health.
In states with rapidly aging populations, like Florida and California, not only could this be a benefit to the community — but also a strong business prospect for you.
7. Medical foot care
A growing population of seniors and diabetics means more need for foot care services. Something as simple as trimming toenails can be impossible for seniors and overweight patients who can’t reach their feet. You can either open a foot care clinic or save patients a trip to the podiatrist by providing mobile foot care services in their homes or in a van. You’ll need to train as a podiatrist or hire one.
8. Drug treatment/rehabilitation center
As drug use has escalated to become a national crisis in the United States, legitimate places for people to seek treatment for their addictions and rebuild their lives are needed more than ever. Every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Open a drug treatment and rehabilitation center to help clients with drug addiction. You can specialize in different types of patients, such as juveniles or more senior patients.
9. Childbirth services
Today's expectant parents want to control every aspect of childbirth, and that often includes having a midwife or doula present at the birth. The use of midwives is increasing, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
Midwives are trained health care providers who assist women during childbirth, while a doula is more like a pregnancy coach who helps couples arrange all aspects of the birth and caring for the newborn. You can either become certified yourself or open a business that employs contractors under your umbrella.
10. Medical billing service
Medical billing requires performing complex coding when submitting insurance claims. Keep in mind, certification is required in this field to ensure that doctors and other health care practitioners get paid.
Although big hospitals and health care organizations often have in-house staff, small medical practices that don’t have time to manage billing and coding themselves are an ideal market for medical billing services. Acquire and learn medical billing software, get trained in proper coding and target these smaller medical practices to take medical billing hassles off their hands. And you can even earn your certification online.
If you want to help people improve their nutritional intake and habits, you can build a business as a nutritionist or dietitian. Only nutritionists who get a license with the Commission on Dietetic Registration, or CDR, can advertise themselves as dietitians. Some states regulate nutritionists and others don’t.
You can specialize in different types of clients, such as sports nutrition, nutrition for weight loss or holistic nutrition.
12. Alternative health care
Acupuncture and massage therapy are two alternative health care business ideas that are becoming more popular. Many are using these services to supplement their traditional medical treatment — or as a primary treatment unto itself.
Check with your state to see what the requirements are to practice; they vary across the country. Even when health insurance plans don’t provide coverage, Americans are more willing to pay out-of-pocket for these types of care than they used to be.
13. Health information website
If you have health care expertise — or access to people who do — consider starting a website to provide health care information and advice. You can create all kinds of content, such as podcasts, YouTube videos and even online classes, in addition to blog posts.
You might even be able to get health care experts to contribute content for free in exchange for the publicity your site offers. There are a lot of options; just make certain that you do some market research to figure out the white space to fill, and find viable revenue streams to make your business highly sustainable, too.
14. Medical supply sales
Seniors, people with disabilities and those with chronic illnesses have an ongoing need for medical supplies and equipment. This can include walkers, braces, bedpans and more.
Although you can open a physical store, keep in mind that your target customers will often have difficulty getting to your location, so an online store is likely a better bet. Again, research here will be key so you can make sure that you’re stocking the right products and marketing in the right places.
15. Stylish uniforms for medical professionals
Medical professionals who wear scrubs to work are always looking for affordable and durable uniforms. They’re also looking for stylish options — and those aren’t as easy to find. Start a store selling scrubs, comfortable shoes, lab coats and other gear for health care professionals. You can design the goods yourself or source them from multiple places, and encourage your customers with word-of-mouth incentives to drive sales.
16. Hearing aid dispensary
Because hearing aids generally aren’t covered by health insurance, this can be a lucrative health care business idea if you find the right customer base. You might want to open a location to provide hearing tests, recommendations and hearing aid fittings and care. You could even outfit a mobile van to come to customers' homes to clean and repair their hearing aids as an extra service.
17. Respite care service for caregivers
Whether they’re parents caring for severely disabled children or adult children caring for aging parents, caregivers have a stressful job. Provide a much-needed break for caregivers by starting a respite care business. Your caregivers can come in for a few hours or a few days, giving family caregivers a chance to rest.
18. Medical marijuana dispensary
As a growing number of states legalize medical marijuana, this $8 billion industry is projected to continue its growth, according to IBISWorld. Opening a medical marijuana dispensary can be a profitable business in the right location; however, changing state and federal regulations could affect your startup. (Marijuana is still illegal under federal law.)
Frequently asked questions
How do I start a health care business?
When you start a health care business, it can be helpful to begin by writing a business plan, registering your business and hiring employees. While all businesses need to obtain any necessary licenses, permits and forms of insurance, health care businesses may require earning professional designations or taking out extra forms of insurance. Research what you need to run your business safely and legally before you launch.
How do I start a home health care business?
Starting a home health care business requires a high level of professionalism, even if you’re running a business where the bulk of the work will occur in your clients’ homes. For example, you may still need office space to train your employees. Like starting any business, it is important to write a business plan, register your business and create proper business procedures. You should also obtain any necessary licenses, permits and insurance for running a business in your area, as well as for working within the health care industry.
How do I write a business plan in health care?
In general, a business plan is an organizational tool that business owners can follow when they need guidance. This document can also tell outside parties, such as investors, about your business and its value. A good business plan should include thorough research about your industry, market and competitors, as well as dive into your financials, products and services and your marketing plan. When writing a business plan in health care, it will be important to do heavy research on the industry, as well as outline clearly what medical services or products you will be offering and why you or your staff are qualified to run a health care business safely.
The bottom line
There are a lot of potential great health care business ideas for entrepreneurs interested in the health care sector — and many opportunities for health care business ideas to become real, sustainable businesses.
Be sure to check regulations, licensing, professional training or degrees needed for these businesses before you get started, and do lots of market research. Don’t forget that “care” part, of course.