Once you become a doctor, one of the things to think about is the type of medical practice you’d wish to follow. Making such a decision where your career is defined can be overwhelming since there are multiple routes to take. Therefore, understanding the types of medical practices is necessary especially for those who are just starting in the industry. How do you go about it then? To help you with that question and to give you a clearer understanding of the pros and cons of each type, have a look at our article which will provide more insight on this subject.

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Private, group, hospital-based, and locum tenens are some of the main types of medical practices.

Private Practice 

If you want to establish a clinic where you’ve got full control of finances and the base of customers, then a private practice would be suited best. A private practice, as the name suggests, is not dependent on any partners or support and caters to a unique field of specialty. As a result, the customer base can be limited. However, it can broaden based on how unique the service and field are. Some hospitals affiliate with other private practitioners to generate a wider customer base and relations, so that’s another route worth exploring too. 

You may wonder about competition with other private practices, but there are ways around this. If you’re choosing this avenue, try setting up in a suburban or rural area. Look for areas where there are fewer or no ongoing private practices. Here, you’ll get even better referrals from customers who’ve been seeking physicians somewhere close to their locality. 

Positives Of A Private Practice

There are many positives through this line of practice. For starters, you have the freedom to employ staff as per your requirements as you won’t be under anyone’s judgment other than your own. You’re not barred by time and have the freedom to set your work timings, dedicating enough personal engagement with your patients. This also builds patient-doctor relations in turn garnering more referrals which are good for business. 

Negatives Of A Private Practice

The initial costs of setting up can be expensive, particularly when real estate prices are soaring. At times, you might feel the pressure since you have to manage revenue and finances, medical staff, and patients. This can be challenging especially for those who are just starting a medical practice. Also, dealing with all those points requires more work hours which can be demotivating if you aren’t making a profit on your practice. Comparing the pros and cons is important when understanding the types of medical practices. Therefore, jot these points in your diary if you’re considering jumping into this endeavor.

Group Practice 

When two or more physicians share a medical facility, we call that a group practice. The term gets broader since there are two types: single-specialty and multispecialty practices. To differentiate between the two, a single-specialty practice will have a single specialized service that is catered to, whereas a multispecialty practice will have two or more specialized services within one medical facility. 

Group practices (single- specialty and multispeciality) have better economic output since the customer base is much broader. Also, the convenience aspect comes into play when you and the other physicians provide a wide range of services under one roof. This eliminates the need for customers to search for other practitioners elsewhere. 

If you plan on setting up a group practice, then be prepared to share everything, including staff, finances, and running of the practice. Ideally, try setting up a business plan about the sharing of revenue. It will avoid any financial disputes or miscommunication from happening in the long run. This will help eventually you in maintaining the balance that is required for a successful and peaceful practice.

Positives Of A Group Practice

We did mention how group practices facilitate a better revenue stream due to a broader customer base, but this practice has some more advantages to add. Medical equipment is expensive and once you’re in a group practice, the costs of purchasing and maintaining it become much easier. As opposed to a private practitioner just starting in the field, group practices make expenses doable. Also, if you’re joining an already existing group practice, then you won’t have to worry about purchasing property to set up a base since that’s already covered. In all, the financial risk is the bare minimum. 

Negatives Of A Group Practice

A more bureaucratic and policy-driven approach could replace your autonomy and decision-making abilities if the group practice amasses many customers. This could be a primary downside of joining a group practice. Also, staff and equipment are shared regularly. Therefore, availability of medical help and resources becomes a bit of an issue as well.

Hospital-Based Practice  

Hospitals have different modules when it comes to hiring physicians. They can hire staff and physicians directly or they can purchase private or group practices to work within their organization. If you choose to work with a hospital, then you can guarantee economic stability and a proper work schedule for yourself. These things undoubtedly make life as a physician easier and less strenuous. 

No matter how attractive this might seem, there are several downsides you need to be aware of. First of all, your autonomy is stripped away as you will have to follow the guidelines and protocols of the hospital. Secondly, you’ll have to treat a huge number of patients per day. Therefore, you won’t be able to establish connections with them. Lastly, your monthly income could be affected if the hospital faces a financial crunch. Before choosing a hospital-based practice, give a thorough thought about the pros and cons.  

Locum Tenens   

Locum Tenens in its simplest form means “filling in the place of another for a temporary period.” Healthcare organizations are always on the lookout for locum tenens in specialized fields. The demand for these posts is also high due to their attractive salaries. 

What makes these posts so desirable is the fact that you can choose your working hours and location. Also, for those physicians who are just getting a foothold into the medical industry, locum tenens give a hands-on experience of how life as a physician could potentially be. You could experiment in different domains and fields of medical science. Accordingly, you can see what suits you and your career the most. Working as a locum would be the best viable option for those who still want to continue working as a physician but at a more relaxed pace.

However, there are a few downsides to this practice. You won’t be able to receive any incentives and jobs as locum tenens are not permanent. If you’re game for this contract-to-contract-based type of medical practice, then managing as a locum won’t be much of a hassle.

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Understanding the types of medical practices will help you make the right career choice as a medical practitioner.


Understanding the types of medical practices is vital since it gives you a deeper perspective on routes you can approach. Which route now suits you best depends entirely on your understanding of these approaches. We hope we were able to guide you better! If you need any other further assistance, check out our ImmuinifyMe app. Through our user-friendly interface, you can schedule appointments with your patients or even get on a video call with them. You can also manage your transactions through our e-wallet and access patient information from our databases.

FAQs On Understanding The Types Of Medical Practices

What Are The Types Of Medical Practice Settings?      

You can approach your journey into the medical field by exploring any of these types of medical practices: 

  • Private practice 
  • Group practice 
  • Hospital-based practice 
  • Locum Tenens    

What Are The Main Various Forms Of Medical Group Practice?

Group practices are branched into two categories: single-specialty and multispecialty practices. When two or more physicians cater to a single field of medicine, that refers to a single-specialty practice. On the other hand, a multispecialty practice has a mixture of physicians catering to a variety of medical fields. 

What Specialties Can Private Practices Do? 

Specialties such as Dermatology, Neurology, Rheumatology, Ophthalmology, Endocrine, and Psychiatry don’t require much medical staff and have less competition as well. If you’ve done specialization in any of the above fields, then setting up a private clinic will benefit you.