One physician explains why she loves being a solo doc and why these types of practices need to unite.
There are a lot of things to like about being a solo doc. One thing I like is being part of a community of small practices. My office building is filled with small independent practices. We all know each other and look out for each other.
The year that purified-protein derivative (PPD) was on back order, I ran out and had a patient that needed one. My staff called one of the other offices in the building and asked if we could borrow a dose. "Sure, not a problem," they said. Thanks to them, I was able to serve my patient. Once I received my shipment, I returned the dose. There was no pressure as to when I would return it, as they knew I would as soon as I could.
I have loaned out EKG leads and borrowed anatomical models. It works out great. We also are willing to work together to get patients the care they need. We all know the services that the other offices provide which we do not. I know which office has a dietician and they know I do travel vaccines. The specialty offices know that they can call me if they have a patient with an issue that is not in their field of expertise. If I have a patient that needs to be seen urgently, I can ask and they will do their best to get them seen. They know me well enough to know I will only ask if I am truly concerned and think the patient needs to be seen right away. I would never abuse the privilege for that very reason.
A big part of the reason we help each other out is the idea of being part of a community. I can’t help but think, though, that another reason is that we are all raging against the machine. We are all wee, small voices screaming into the tsunami that is practice acquisition, merger, and consolidation. Anything we can do to help our colleagues we are willing to do. We know we are all in this together, that as a community we are strong. I hope all you other small practices out there have communities that are as supportive. If not, find one that is. We all need support. Battle on, fellow soloists, battle on.