Just like any major career decision, choosing to move from group practice to private practice comes with its pros and cons. Maybe you’ve spent years working in a group practice and want to pursue something new, or maybe this has been your lifelong goal. Either way, we’re here to help ensure you have all the right information before you make the transition. Moving to private practice is a journey that looks a little different for everyone. Exactly how you do it will be dependent on a wide range of factors, including how experienced you are, the type of business you want to run, and what your budget looks like. No matter where you sit on this scale though, we have some useful hints that can help you navigate your way through the mountain of decisions that need to be made. In this guide, we’ll outline some of the key differentiating factors between working in group versus private practice, the important pros, and cons of this career decision, and finally (and most importantly) a step-by-step guide to help you make the move.
What’s the difference between solo private practice vs group private practice?
Firstly, let’s take a quick look at some of the major differences between private and group practices. You may still feel on the fence about whether or not you want to make the move, and knowing these specific differences may help you feel more confident in your decision.
Solo private practice
A solo private practice essentially entails a healthcare provider working largely by themselves to deliver healthcare solutions to patients. There may be a need for an administrative staff member, but solo practice business plans typically revolve around having minimal support from other staff. Working in a solo private practice allows you to develop meaningful relationships with clients and run the business on your own terms.
Group private practice
A group private practice is a healthcare business that has two or more practitioners, plus additional administrative staff. Group practices may have a singular specialty, or the practitioners could specialize in a different field. Income is typically split equally between the practitioners depending on work hours, experience, and the number of patients that are seen. Whilst group practices are a fantastic way to learn new skills and enhance communication, they can also be limiting in terms of career growth and management responsibility.
What are the major pros and cons of solo practice vs group practice?
As we mentioned before, making the transition from a solo practice to a group practice comes with certain pros and cons.
Pros of group practice
- Learning from experienced practitioners: Working in a group practice enables you to learn from other, possibly more experienced, practitioners which is especially valuable if you are just beginning your career.
- Standard routine: Group practices typically have a more regular routine. You most likely won’t be expected to work overtime, and if you are you will be compensated. Having this kind of structure enables you to have a healthy work/life balance and dedicate time to non-career-based activities.
- Professional support: Within a group practice, you will have several colleagues (and an HR team) that can support you both professionally and personally.
Cons of group practice
- Patient relationships: One of the most difficult aspects of working in a group practice is the struggle to develop and maintain meaningful relationships with patients.
- Decision-making: In a group practice, every decision needs to be agreed upon by all members of management. This can make effective and efficient problem-solving tricky, as well as limit your responsibilities.
Pros of solo practice
- Autonomy: Freedom is one of the best aspects of working in a solo practice. You have the autonomy to make whatever decisions you think are best for the business, including hiring staff, marketing strategies, workflow, and specializations.
- Patient relationships: Working by yourself enables you to develop long-lasting and meaningful relationships with your clients, which in turn leads to higher patient satisfaction.
- Revenue: It may take time to build the revenue for a solo practice, but there will never be a limit to how much income you can make - contrary to group practices.
Cons of solo practice
- Responsibility: Although the autonomy of solo work is often desired, you can’t forget that it also means total responsibility. Given the number of decisions that need to be made, the workload can become very overwhelming.
- Finances: Whilst the financial opportunities are limitless, there are still certain burdens that can make solo practice difficult. It is your responsibility to pay overheads and make ends meet in order to keep the practice afloat.
How do you move from group practice to solo practice?
There are quite a few steps involved in moving from a group practice to a solo practice. Whilst these may differ slightly depending on your specific business goals, we recommend completing the following steps:
- Identify your chosen path for private practice
The first thing you need to do when moving from a group practice to a private practice is decide on a specific path. This involves choosing what type of patients you want to market your services towards, how you want to specialize, and developing a mission statement and business values.
- Talk with practitioners within your niche
Irrespective of how experienced you are, there is always more information to be learned. One of the best ways to find valuable advice is to speak to other professionals in your field who run private practices. Begin networking and don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone you think may be able to help you.
- Focus and spend time on your skills
In order to be successful as a solo practice, you want to be able to offer skills to patients that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to receive. Essentially, this means being one of the top practitioners in your field. Before you make the move to a private practice, spend time focusing on and developing your skills, so you can offer your clients unique and valuable care.
- Identify the legal obligations for private practice
Maintaining legal obligations is necessary for any type of healthcare business. You want to ensure you are compliant and have taxation, insurance, and all of the necessary licenses organized.
- Know if you need staff in your practice
Although you may be seeking independence, it is sometimes necessary to have more staff. This is especially the case if you have a reasonably large client base. Have a look at your budget and determine whether or not you can afford to hire an administrator, receptionist, or even an additional clinician.
- Set your private practice policies
The policies of a practice are its underlying framework. You need to decide how long your appointments will be, how much they will cost, and whether you will offer discounts or promotional packages. You also need to review your intake process and compliant protocols so you know the best way to proceed if a HIPAA regulation is accidentally breached.
Once you have set up your practice - Market it
The next most important step to setting up an independent private practice is marketing. Even with a seamless transition, your business won’t be able to make any money if it doesn’t have clients. There is a range of different marketing strategies that you can employ to attract prospective patients. Although good marketing requires planning, this is an area of business where you can tap into your creative side. Before you commit to any specific strategy, it is a good idea to look at what your competition is doing, and whether or not it is working. Next, you should identify the niche that your practice is catering to and figure out a way to market that to your patients. This could mean using advertising in your local area, listing your business on a healthcare directory, or introducing loyalty discounts. The other major area of marketing that is particularly important in today’s day and age is establishing an online presence. The majority of patients research potential healthcare solutions online, so you want to ensure that your business is being found through Google searches. Another effective way of developing your online presence is through social media sites. Having a Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, or Twitter account can provide an accessible platform that lists your business information, including location, pricing, and available services.
Moving from a group practice to a solo private practice may be the perfect next step for your career. We understand that making this kind of decision incorporates a lot of planning, and we want you to be able to put your best foot forward. The right type of preparation will allow you to establish a reputable practice, where you can focus on improving your skills, building meaningful relationships with patients, delivering quality services to those in need, and increasing your revenue. Our final piece of advice when it comes to managing a solo private practice is the importance of using practice management software. With the right system, you will be able to streamline a wide range of different processes, reducing your workload without compromising on the quality of your services. Carepatron offers a highly sophisticated platform perfect for practitioners looking to move to solo private practice; repeatedly shown to improve billing, documentation, scheduling, and patient management, it’ll help you put your best foot forward from the start.