For a lot of doctors when they decide to go into private practice, there is a question of whether to go into solo medical practice or a group medical practice.
Very often, the major concern doctors have is that their lack of medical experience can be a reason to not start a solo medical practice.
According to Steven Hacker, MD in his book The Medical Entrepreneur “I was worried because I didn’t understand medical billing. I was concerned that I might need “backup” if I didn’t know how to treat a patient. I didn’t think patients would want to come see me as their doctor. It is easy to understand why most people choose group practices over a solo practice. These concerns and fears are universal. They are also completely unfounded.”
This barrier to entry is a big one, however not insurmountable, as many physicians still choose the solo medical practice path. An American Medical Association study from 2015 shows that show that over 60 percent of physicians work in small practices of 10 or fewer physicians. The study estimated that approximately 17% of all physicians working are in a solo medical practice.
It is important to understand going in that there are many challenges to overcome in terms of licensure, choosing a location, setting up a team, purchasing office and medical equipment, marketing, and a whole host of other challenges that great most business people.
However, one of the key advantages is the complete control of your own business. As Laura Knobel explains in a blog for the AAFP “For one thing, I’m in control. Not only do I set my own schedule, I can fix problems without interference or going through channels.”
She also believes that being the solo doctor increases the value of the bond with her patients. “More importantly, I have a stronger bond with my patients than I did as an employee in a large practice. When a patient seeks care in a group practice, he or she may not see the same physician every time. As a solo family doc, my patients know I am involved in all aspects of their care, even if they see the nurse practitioner.”
J. Scott Litton, MD writing for Physicians Practice explains the additional non-medical duties that are part of running your own solo medical “We in private practice must also monitor things that our employed colleagues do not have to worry with. The accounts receivable is constantly monitored by me. The IT equipment is also monitored by me. When supplies are needed, my staff informs me and the inventory is reviewed and new items are ordered as needed. While all [these] things are happening, I am still a family medicine physician and still see my own patients each day.”