Death of the solo physician: A counterpoint

A few days ago, I mentioned the death of the solo physician. SoloDoc has been bucking the trend, and perhaps there may be a very, very, very slight glimmer of hope for idealistic medicine – if you’re willing to make sacrifices:

After working with Dr. S, I truly believe that his practice embodies patient-centered care. Patients typically don’t have to wait longer than five minutes after arriving in the office. Patients can always make same-day or next-day appointments. Dr. S has an encrypted messaging system so that he and his patients can communicate by email. He does not make patients return to discuss normal labs, saving them the cost of that return visit.

And all of his patients receive his cell phone number; he has an open access practice, meaning patients can call him twenty-four hours a day. (I asked him how that’s working out for him, and he said that very few people have called him late at night – I believe it’s because of a mutual respect). Dr. S provides all the services that medical concierge practices offer for monthly fees. However, he provides them for free because, as his website says, “I feel good medical care should be available to everyone.”

While this concept of a solo practice may seem outrageous and even implausible at first, it doesn’t take long to see that it works. Some might not agree. After all, as he told me, he is only now barely starting to break even in finances, and endured net losses his first year in practice.