What Does "Solo" Really Mean?
Twice in recent weeks I've seen mention of "solo" docs...with multiple offices staffed by an assortment of PAs and NPs. One was a Medical Economics discussion of EMRs; the other was a recent comment about the inefficiencies of automated telephone answering systems for solo offices.
A practice with 1 doc, 2 NPs and 3 MAs may not be able to just pick up the phone, but it also doesn't seem to have much in common with my "solo" practice. Likewise, working out of two offices with 4 PAs and 3 NPs doesn't feel very "solo" to me.
Granted the practices above have only a single doctor in the practice, but the practices still have multiple practitioners. Perhaps we need a different term for "mixed level provider" offices owned and run by a single physician. Frankly, it seems to me that the practices above are misrepresenting themselves. Their management and financial issues are more in line with a single specialty small group practice, yet they're co-opting the "warm fuzzies" evoked by the words "solo practice" when they're really running is a full-fledged clinic.
To me, "solo" means "alone." One doc; one office. The rest of you: quit trying to convince patients you're offering the same thing I am.