The 5 types of medical practices

What’s the best fit for your medical career? Understanding the types of medical practices is fundamental in charting your path in healthcare. Explore solo, group, partnership, locum tenens, and hospital-based models here to pinpoint the practice type that resonates with your professional goals and personal needs.

1. Solo practice

Solo practice refers to professional practice, such as law or medicine, where a single practitioner operates independently without partners or associates. In this model, a solo practitioner serves as the sole decision-maker, shaping the practice’s destiny with a hands-on approach to patient care and management.

Pros of solo practice

  • Personalized care: The solo practitioner serves patients with a personalized touch, unencumbered by institutional policies or group consensus.
  • Autonomy: In private practices, you have the liberty to sculpt your practice setting to your liking, from the décor of your medical office to the nuances of patient interaction.
  • Innovation: This model is a canvas for those who wish to pioneer innovative treatments and cultivate a practice setting that resonates with their personal touch and professional expertise.

Cons of solo practice

Solo practices are becoming less common in the U.S. In the mid-1980s, over 50% of doctors worked independently. However, by 2017, only 36% of physicians operated in solo practices. Various factors drive this decline​:

  • Financial risk: The financial risk can be significant, with upfront costs and ongoing overhead for maintaining a medical facility.
  • Administrative burden: Solo practitioners must navigate complex administrative tasks, from insurance billing to personal and medical liability.
  • Role balancing: Balancing the roles of both physicians and business owners can be challenging.

2. Group practice

When two or more physicians band together in a group practice, they create a synergistic environment where collaboration and shared expertise reign. This model allows for a more comprehensive scope of medical services under one roof.

Pros of group practices

  • Financial security: Costs and income are distributed among members, providing a more predictable income and alleviating the burden of solo ownership.
  • Work-Life balance: Group practices have been shown to enhance the work-life balance of physicians compared to solo practices. Shared on-call duties and administrative management enable a more balanced work-life rhythm.
  • Continued patient care: Patients continue to receive quality care even when you are on break, thanks to your colleagues.

Cons of group practices

  • Less control: You may have less individual control over the medical office, with decisions managed by the collective.
  • Potential conflicts: Group dynamics can lead to conflicts as personalities and professional goals clash.
  • Personal patient base: The shared nature of the practice can hinder the rapid growth of your personal patient base.

3. Partnership practices

Partnership practices are built on legally binding agreements between physicians who share ownership and governance of a medical practice. It’s a model where unity and shared vision are paramount, as partners work together to:

  • Create a thriving practice
  • Make important decisions collectively
  • Share financial responsibilities
  • Divide profits and losses
  • Establish a clear governance structure
  • Ensure continuity of care for patients

This collaborative framework allows for a blending of skills and resources, creating a strong foundation for providing quality medical care.

Pros of partnership practices

A partnership practice offers several benefits, including:

  • Shared workload: Partners share administrative duties, lightening the individual load.
  • Expertise sharing: Leveraging each other’s expertise fosters knowledge exchange and collective problem-solving.
  • Balanced lifestyle: This model mitigates the risk of burnout that can plague solo practitioners.

Cons of partnership practices

  • Conflicting viewpoints: Partners may have conflicting viewpoints, leading to friction.
  • Profit division: Dividing profits may not always be equitable.
  • Missed financial incentives: Solo practice financial incentives may be missed.

4. Locum Tenens

Locum tenens roles offer physicians temporary employment positions, filling gaps in medical services across various facilities.

Locum tenens physicians, while practicing medicine, often find themselves in new territories, adapting to different medical teams and patient populations with each assignment.

Pros of locum tenens

  • Flexibility and travel: Enjoy the power to dictate your own schedule and choose assignments that interest you.
  • Financial rewards: Often surpass the earnings of permanent positions, especially in regions with a lower cost of living. A study by CHG Healthcare found that healthcare facilities that consistently enroll locum tenens providers with payors and ensure correct billing generates approximately 400% more revenue compared to those without a well-defined process.
  • Dynamic career: The blend of professional work and exploration makes for a fulfilling career.

Cons of locum tenens

  • Employment uncertainty: Consistent employment is not guaranteed.
  • Lack of benefits: Traditional benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans are often absent.
  • Transient relationships: Relationships with patients may lack depth and continuity.

5. Hospital-Based Employment

​​Hospital-based employment aligns physicians with healthcare organizations, such as local hospitals, offering stability and resources. It is important to note that various medical practices exist, catering to different needs and preferences of healthcare professionals. 53% of physicians are employed by hospitals or medical groups in the USA. Many hospitals are increasingly hiring more doctors as they move away from the fee-for-service model.

Pros of hospital-based employment

  • Steady income: Provides a predictable and steady income.
  • Reduced administrative responsibilities: Billing and administrative management are handled by the organization.
  • Comprehensive benefits: Health insurance and retirement plans contribute to career satisfaction and security.

Cons of hospital-based employment

  • Reduced autonomy: Autonomy is often traded for the support and structure of the organization.
  • Bureaucracy: Navigating through policies and procedures can be a barrier to the swift implementation of changes.

Get started on your medical practice journey with Jotform

Transitioning into the digital age, healthcare professionals are seeking ways to streamline their medical practice. With an extensive array of HIPAA-enabled forms and Health app, Jotform simplifies patient data management, appointment scheduling, and clinical workflows. Jotform’s Telehealth App, for instance, enhances patient care by providing a centralized platform for tracking patient conditions and managing health records.

Jotform products are designed with flexibility and security in mind, enabling private practices or large healthcare organizations to manage their medical business with ease. Integration with platforms like Google Sheets makes patient data accessible and organized, while options like electronic signatures add layers of convenience for providers and patients. Check out our online form templates for healthcare to get started on streamlining the medical practice process. (Please note that you must be on a Gold or Enterprise plan to take advantage of features that help with HIPAA compliance.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Which medical practice model is best for a work-life balance?

Group and partnership practices are often the best choices for achieving better work-life balance, allowing shared responsibilities and workloads among physicians.

Are there financial benefits to choosing a solo practice over a group practice?

Solo practice can potentially provide greater financial rewards due to retaining full control over profits, but it also comes with higher financial risk and responsibility. Consider these factors carefully before deciding.

What type of medical practice is most suitable for physicians who prefer structured environments?

Hospital-based employment is most suitable for physicians who prefer structured environments due to clear policies and less administrative responsibility.

The information on this page does not constitute official healthcare or legal advice. Jotform is not liable for any damage or liabilities arising out of or connected in any manner with this platform.

Photo by cottonbro studio

Send Comment:

Jotform Avatar
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Podo Comment Be the first to comment.