Private Practice vs Academic Medicine
When it comes to surgery for a complex urological problem, everyone wants the best treatment. But there is often a belief that doctors affiliated with academic medical centers deliver better care than private practice physicians who work with local hospitals. The fact is, there are many issues on both sides of the question that patients may want to consider when deciding how to approach their healthcare:
An academic physician is a doctor with a faculty position on staff at a hospital that is typically affiliated with a medical school. These doctors have a combination of responsibilities: patient care, teaching medical students and physicians-in-training (interns, residents, and fellows), and even conducting research.
They may have titles such as assistant professor, associate professor, or professor. Be aware: these titles are based on factors such as leadership, teaching and sometimes even length of employment rather than medical skills, so it cannot be assumed that they are superior in their patient care abilities or medical knowledge.
While doctors in an academic setting do spend some time seeing patients, there is a high likelihood that evaluation and treatment (including portions of surgical procedures) may be done by a physician-in-training under the academic physician’s supervision. There may be minimal contact with the academic physician during the course of treatment and follow-up care.
Private practice physicians (like Scott D. Miller, MD) run their own independent offices. They spend the majority of their time focused on direct patient care, and will have either admitting or consulting privileges at one or more local hospitals in their communities (which can include academic medical centers).
While there may be several physicians working together in a private practice, patients are likely to have “their doctor” who oversees their care over a long-term period. This care may be augmented by nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants.
Finally, many people may think that advanced surgical techniques, leading technology, and comprehensive care for their urological disorders are only available at an academic center. In fact, Dr. Scott Miller (like many private practice physicians) has greater access to state-of-the-art technologies in facilities that are closer to patients’ homes. Bottom line: patients have greater access to the care they need when they need it.
Best of all, patients can be confident that Dr. Scott Miller is personally involved and hands-on with every aspect of their cases – including performing the entire surgical procedure – rather than delegating care to residents, fellows and other healthcare professionals in training.