New physicians just coming out of training have a large variety of different practice options to choose from. It can be very daunting for residents and fellows to figure out what setting is the best choice for them and their new career. Over the past 17 years, we at Pacific Companies have had the pleasure of working with many residents and fellows ready to start their journey into the medical work force. A common question we get about choosing practice settings has inspired this blog and we have noticed that each practice setting has a number of different factors, appealing to different personality types. Each of these practice settings can vary depending on a number of variables. For Instance, certain markets and geographical locations may be better suited for private practice including the viability of a solo practice.
Here’s a breakdown of the three most common practice settings and their benefits.
First off, let’s take a quick look at what these types of practice settings are…
- A solo private practice is an office that is run and owned by one individual without partners or affiliations with other practices. This type of practice is more common in some specialties than others and may be more prevalent in certain regions of the country.
- There are two different types of group private practice: single-specialty and multi-specialty. A single-specialty practice includes multiple doctors of the same specialty, like a primary care practice or a specialist’s office. A multi-specialty practice has multiple doctors comprised of different specialties. A group private practice is privately owned, but there can be physicians hired to work as an employee within the group.
- Employed Physician may be hired independently or as a group to work for a hospital or heath system. This type of practice follows more of an employment model rather than a partnership model as seen in a group practice – in other words, you the physician are an employee of the facility.
For some physicians, the idea of owning and operating an independent practice is the ultimate career goal. However, for others, the idea of being employed by an already stable, up-and-running practice is seen as the more manageable & rewarding alternative. Although contradicting views exist, all the different practice settings offer their own unique sets of advantages.
The initial benefit of having a solo private practice is that physicians have the ability to practice medicine and handle the business as they see fit. This ownership also presents the opportunity to develop strong relationships with both patients and staff members. Many physicians struggle with work/life balance, so being your own boss can be healthy and rewarding.
There are many advantages of a group private practice, first, having more physicians also takes more of the business burden off of one physician since there is usually administrative staff including a manager or CEO. And it provides more flexibility in scheduling, with more physicians available to take call time on the weekends, evenings, or at hospitals. Working closely with other physicians whether single or multi-specialty gives the physician an opportunity to learn from each other, brainstorm and offer alternative opinions.
If a physician would rather work in an established practice, largely removed from the day to day operations and doesn’t mind potentially losing a degree of autonomy in their practice, then an employed position is probably the best option. Other benefits of being employed by a hospital or health system include a more comprehensive and integrated health care delivery system and the ability to allow the business side of the practice to be managed by someone else. When the physician does not have to manage the administrative side of a practice they have more time to focus on just practicing medicine.
Obviously, each setting will have its own disadvantages as well, but depending on the physicians personality type and career goals they may be thought of as a benefit to some. Here at Pacific Companies we offer complementary consulting, so if you have any questions regarding this topic or anything else on your employment journey feel free to give us a call.