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Which of the 4 Common Types of Medical Practices is Right for You?

Written by: Alex Brown
Published on: May 23, 2023

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One of the most exciting aspects of being a physician is choosing the type of practice you will enter. In many cases, doctors elect to work in hospitals or similar medical facilities. However, you may prefer to enter private practice. There are several options, so which type will suit you best?  

Here are four of the most common types of medical practices that nearly 26% of physicians consider when they decide to go into private practice.  We hope this article will help you decide which one fits your personal goals and ideal lifestyle.

#1: Private Practice
If you’re an entrepreneur at heart and want the flexibility to practice medicine as you see fit, then private practice is the answer. You will be the sole leader and, as such, you’ll need to bring in support staff and hire services such as legal or payroll services.

The responsibility burden is higher in private practice versus other practice types. So, private practice is not for everyone. But if you want maximum control and influence on how your business operates, it might be the best choice for you.

2: Group Practice
Do you work well with others? Don’t want to be responsible for the legal and financial risk of malpractice lawsuits? If so, then a group practice might be right for you. There’s more support, too; group practices employ at least two physicians who typically share equipment, staff, and office space.

Group practices offer benefits such as:

  • Support from physician colleagues and other staff
  • Access to higher capital availability when borrowing is necessary
  • Higher earning potential

While they do provide multiple benefits, group practices have drawbacks as well. For example, you have lower autonomy, less control over business decisions, and a more complex ownership structure.

#3: Hospital or Medical Center

Practicing medicine in a hospital setting might be right for you if business management is not your strength. You won’t have to build up a patient base or face the financial and legal challenges of privately owned practices. This setting is right for those who want a reasonable work-life balance, a larger workplace, and a more straightforward role within a greater organization.  

On the other hand, organizational constraints may limit your ability to provide patient care as you see fit. And you may be expected to participate in committees or other administrative activities that can take you away from what you really want to be doing: helping patients. Plus, these settings can bog you down in bureaucracy and red tape when it comes to making decisions, which may leave you feeling frustrated if you want to suggest changes or try new interventions.

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#4: Locum Tenens
If working in one place is not for you, locum tenens positions allow you to practice medicine and travel at the same time. Temporary contracts can last anywhere from several days to many months. Working locum tenens provides you the freedom to work domestically or abroad, as well as gain exposure to different situations and work environments.

However, locum tenens work does carry some risk. Contracts can be cancelled with little notice, which may force you to relocate if there are no other openings available. A locum tenens career can be rewarding, but it can also be the wrong choice for those who don’t like instability.

Find the Right Practice for You

Besides selecting a specialty, choosing the right type of medical practice is one of the most significant factors in physician career satisfaction. Some require a great deal of commitment while others offer limited autonomy. Pick one that fits your lifestyle preferences, family obligations, ability to manage or be managed, and income aspirations, and you can’t go too wrong. Good luck!

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