There's no "best way" to be in private practice. But depending on your goals, your life style, your personality and other factors, you may find that solo practice suits you more than group practice, or vice versa.

The table below summarizes the main differences:

  individualSolo Practice abstract_groupGroup Practice
Practice Setup You decide on location, furniture, equipment, amenities - customized to your taste, but there are setup costs. If you join an established group, most of the setup for your practice space is already in place.
Office Procedures Set your own hours, procedures and policies. If you want to try something new, you don't need anyone's permission. Policies and procedures are set by group owner or by consensus of group members.
Administrative tasks Do your own, hire someone or outsource - your choice. Group may provide administrative services for you.
Office expenses You decide which expenses to incur, and how to pay them. Some office expenses are shared, but you have less say in the decisions.
Office income All income is yours. You decide how to spend it. You share a portion of your income, according to your contract or the group's bylaws.
Referrals All referrals come directly to you. Referrals are assigned according to group policies or procedures.
Emergency coverage You make your own arrangements for coverage during your absence, with a clinician of your choice. Group policies may provide for coverage at scheduled times and while you're on vacation.
Marketing and advertising You make decisions for all marketing and advertising, with the goal of benefiting you directly. Marketing and advertising decisions are typically geared toward benefiting the group, rather than one person's specialty or practice.
Colleague proximity No distractions from colleagues. No group politics to deal with. However, it can be lonely at times. It's convenient to have colleagues around when you want some quick input or advice, or when you want a lunch companion.
Liability You can be held liable only for your own actions and decisions. As part of a group, you may be named in civil action or licensing board complaint, whether you were involved or not.



 Bottom line:

As a solo practitioner, you have more control, but also more responsibility. In addition, you assume all the risks, but reap all the rewards.

By joining a group practice you step into an established community of colleagues. There is less setup involved, but also greater need for compromise.