Although experts have expressed that starting a solo practice is not sustainable, Lisa M. Nijm, MD, JD, argues it is doable. She started her own solo practice 5 years ago with the belief that ophthalmologists have the “luxury of not being connected to a hospital in most cases,” making pursuing a solo practice more easily accessible.
First and foremost, you must consider your ideal daily practice and narrow whether it is found in academic or private practice or a solo or group setting. Dr. Nijm knew that a solo practice was an ideal setting for her because she wanted to establish relationships with patients while maintaining autonomy and being able to adopt technologies she believed would best serve her patients and needs.
Dr. Nijm recommends following five actions to get closer to your solo practice goals:
You need a business plan that shows comprehension of your community. You also need patience because it takes time getting accepted on insurance panels and obtaining hospital credentials. Typically, there is also a stretch of time between opening your practice and receiving reimbursements, making it essential to consider if funding is needed beforehand to set up the office. The Intelligent Research in Sight (IRIS) registry is a helpful resource.
Most importantly, Dr. Nijm adds, “You want to send a message from the beginning that you put the patient first. When you put the patient first, everything else falls into place.”
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