Articles — Physician Job Searching Techniques

Solo Practice versus Group Practice: Pros and Cons for Physicians

Making the choice between practicing as a solo Physician or joining a group practice can be one of the biggest decisions of your medical career. Both solo and group practices have benefits and risks that must be evaluated before making any choices. Whether you are fresh out of Residency or a seasoned Physician looking for a change, it is important to consider these points before choosing your practice setting

Going Solo

Solo Practice is a great option for independent minded Physicians looking to maintain their autonomy and executive power.

  • Solo Practice versus Group Practice: Pros and Cons for Physicians


    Solo practicing Physicians enjoy many freedoms that group practice Physicians do not. They can hire and fire as they choose or establish clinic policies without having to debate the pros and cons of every decision with practice partners. This freedom also extends to choice of accepted insurances, types of patients seen by the practice as well as practice locations. An independent practitioner has sole discretion when it comes to all practice related decisions.
  • Solo Physicians Make More Money

    According to the 2016 Medscape Physician Compensation Report, self-employed Physicians make more money annually than do employed Physicians. When it comes to specialist practice, self-employed MD's make about $74,000 more annually than do employed MD's. In the Primary Care arena the divide is smaller with self-employed Physicians earning only $22,000 more a year than employed Physicians(1).
  • Solo Physicians are Happier……

  • According to a 2016 Medscape Employed Physician Report, self-employed Physicians reported being happier than did employed Physicians. 8% more of the self-employed Physician respondents described themselves as happy when compared to their employed Physician counterparts(2). It was also noted that Physicians who had switched to a solo practice reported higher levels of satisfaction than those who had changed to become employed Physicians(2).
  • Less Drama

    Anyone that has worked with partners can tell you that there will be disagreements and conflict. Solo Practice eliminates a lot of these issues with less inter-office politics, power plays and money related conflicts.

Group Practice

There are many motivations that drive Physicians to join group practices. Perhaps you may be thinking "if you can't beat them join them" or "I went to Medical School not Business School". Whatever the reasoning, many Physicians consider joining group practices to shed the ever increasing administrative duties associated with the business-side of Medicine.

  • Less Admin Duties

    Group practices can decrease the administrative burdens on individual Physicians by sharing. Practice management personnel and HR duties can be spread amongst its partners instead of being shouldered by a single Physician.
  • Less Financial Expenditures

    A big advantage associated with group practices is their ability to pool their resources and share expenses. Most redundancies of group practice can be eliminated through effective resource sharing. By sharing clinical and administrative staff, equipment, EMR's, billing and marketing expenses, a group practice can be financially advantageous.
  • Flexibility

    Partnerships can help ensure that you will always have built in schedule, conference, or vacation coverage in your practice. If an emergency arises, you can rely on your partners for back up.
  • Power in Numbers

    Whether you are negotiating with insurance companies, marketing, or pooling resources, there is power in numbers. With each additional Physician in a practice there is an increase in the variety of strengths and proficiencies that can be utilized and shared. These varied skillsets can create a more comprehensive practice providing a higher level of care. Increased numbers of Physician partners also enable group practices to see a more varied patient population at a variety of clinic locations.

(1) Physician Compensation Report 2017. Accessed on 4/24/17.

(2) Employed Doctor's Report 2016: Who's Happier-Employed or Self-Employed Doctors?. Accessed on 4/24/17.