Don’t Call Time of Death on the Private Practices

Jeremy Shiner

Oct 12, 2021

In recent years it’s become more common for physicians to be employed by large corporations or hospitals, rather than be part of a private practice in which one or more physicians own the practice. Despite this trend, it’s important to not count out private practices for many reasons, ranging from higher earning potential and more autonomy to better patient care and better work environments.

Higher Earning Potential

Business ownership may seem risky and opting for employment under a larger corporation may help avoid various financial and liability risks associated with business ownership. However, when a physician is employed under a corporation their earning potential is likely capped by an annual salary. In a private practice setting, the physician receives all or a portion of the profits. They also have more control over how services are priced and delivered and how the earnings are spent.

Autonomy vs. Dependence

Corporate employment may offer more readily available resources and equipment a physician would not have to source and purchase themselves, but a private practice allows more freedom to make your own decisions. Large healthcare systems are generally led by business executives who have little to no medical training but have massive influence over the decisions their employed physicians can make, ranging from tests and surgeries to perform to medicines and tools to use. In a private practice, the physicians have full autonomy to make decisions based on their personal preferences – ranging from payment processing and practice management software to payment plans, pricing and other managerial items. Important decisions lay completely in the owners’ hands, as do the consequences of these decisions.

Patient Care

Private practices tend to be more established in their communities, so there is less focus on increasing the number of new patients and rather on providing existing patients with the best, most comprehensive treatment. In a corporate setting, the focus is generally around productivity and numbers, directly hurting patient care. In a corporate office, patients are not guaranteed to see the same doctor, and with every switch the doctor must spend time and effort to learn the patient’s history. Not every doctor is the same and the new doctor may not agree with the treatment plan established by the doctor from the past visit. In a private practice the sacred doctor-patient relationship consists of just the necessary parties – the doctor and the patient. Doctors have the time to get personal with their patients and build deep relationships, increasing the quality of patient care, patient trust and loyalty.

Workplace Culture

In today’s healthcare workplace, culture plays a greater role in recruitment and retention of staff, but less than 50% of physicians in a corporatesetting feel they are always treated with respect. Private practices tend to run like a tight-knit family, and the staff have the authority to create whatever environment they feel best works for the staff. When the internal relationships are respectful and positive, the office is happier and patients enjoy their visits more.Equally as important to office culture is work-life balance. In a corporate setting, staff have set hours and productivity requirements they must meet to earn their salary. In a private practice, physicians have authority on how many patients they will see per day, when and how much they are going to work. Private practice means work-life balance is entirely your decision, there are no office managers or corporate executives telling you to see more patients.

Innovation vs. Stagnation

Hospitals are experts at managing hospitals, not physicians. Despite extremely large budgets, corporate healthcare systems tend to provide very standardized care. Most healthcare innovation comes from physician-led organizations or startups not the hospital. Privately-owned practices take holistic approaches to patient health and wellness, putting the patient at the center to address a comprehensive range of physical, emotional, mental, social and environmental factors that could be affecting their health. With less pressure to see more patients per day and deeper physician-patient relationships, private practicing doctors have the time and interest in looking at the big picture and finding innovative solutions for patients’ conditions. Corporate systems generally only look at the list of symptoms on patient-intake forms rather than assessing outside yet crucial factors. When it comes to choosing private practice or corporate healthcare employment, physicians ultimately tend to make their decision based on their professional goals and where they are in their careers. For young healthcare professionals starting out their careers, corporate employment may provide more stability, patients and more that’s important for a new physician. Once you have more experience and considerations, you may want more freedom to make decisions and that’s done through private practice.At MediPay Compliance Consultants, we’re dedicated to assisting private practices receive payment at the time of treatment and improve office efficiencies. Find out more here: