The micropractice model gained popularity in the early 2000s and remains a good option for physicians looking to forge out on their own without investing a large amount of capital. The objective is to create a practice with very low overhead costs that allows the physician to spend ample time with patients and deliver a high quality of care. A micropractice can be a stepping stone to a larger private practice, or it can be the end goal. Before deciding whether a micropractice is the right model for you, it might be helpful to consider the following:
- Are you planning on retaining an employed position alongside starting your own practice? While this can be a great way to supplement your income, it sometimes requires a tradeoff that can limit practice growth. For instance if you have a position that makes you unavailable to your private practice patients some of the time, that can inhibit growth. Likewise you may have less time and energy to invest in managing and marketing your practice.
- Do you hope to eventually grow the practice? If the answer is yes, there are some trade offs with starting with a micropractice. The benefit to starting small is obviously the reduction in capital needed to get things running (both start up capital and working capital). The drawback is that expansion may require you to change locations, staff, infrastructure, which can create some disruption.
- Do you need financing? Most (but not all) lenders that finance physician practice startups shy away from the micropractice model.
Starting a micropractice can be a great option for a physician focused on patient care, but it has certain limitations. With any practice model it’s important to consider the risk/reward and make sure it aligns with your goals and expectations.