Welcome to Solo Building Blogs!
For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Ho Sun Choi. I currently have a solo comprehensive ophthalmology practice in San Jose, CA. After graduating from residency in 2010, I decided to start a solo medical practice from scratch despite having had no prior business experience. I pretty much jumped in feet first without really knowing whether I would be able to swim or not. I don’t mean to over-simplify how I had dawned upon my career path, but I kinda figured: “Hey! I made it through medical school and residency, this business/practice management thing can’t be that tough. After all, it isn’t brain surgery!” So, I took the plunge despite valid concerns from my mentors and colleagues. I’m currently in my seventh year of solo practice, and guess what everyone? It really ain’t rocket science! If you’re smart enough to become a physician, you’re more than capable of figuring this stuff out with just a little elbow grease. My biggest mentor and consultant throughout my entire postgraduate career was Google. It’s amazing the wealth of knowledge you can attain from a simple Google search!
Back in 2010, there was a paucity of resources for the aspiring solo practitioner. The majority of available articles were written by non-physician practice management consultants who had never touched a single patient before. I often found their advice to be obsolete, and sometimes even detrimentally inaccurate! Throughout my training, I’ve encountered countless colleagues that lamented on their lack of exposure to the business side of medicine. Unfortunately, because most mentors work in an academic university setting, where they are not exposed to many practice management issues themselves, it is quite difficult to learn these concepts in residency. Because of this fact, I created a blog (iballdoc.blogspot.com) detailing, step-by-step, the process of building and growing my practice with the hopes of making a unique contribution toward the advancement of the ophthalmology community. Obviously, I had a lot of free time in the beginning, so I blogged prolifically for the first 3 or 4 years. I had close to 300 posts by 2013.
Random people found me through White Coat Investor, Sermo, Student Doctor Network, and word of mouth. My following grew modestly. Eventually, a small group of followers and I met up in person at AAO. I was quite flattered to hear how I had been such an inspiration to people whom I had never met before. A few even told me that they never would have had the courage to go into solo practice without my blog’s guidance.
After our first live group meeting, I created a private solo practice ophthalmologists’ Google group. I hoped that this group would function as a platform to bounce off ideas, and to be a supportive voice for each other as we tackle the day-to-day challenges of solo practice. We started with 6 or 7 members in 2013. Today, our group has grown to 120+ members. Given that their are only approximately 20,000 active ophthalmologists in the the United States, I would say that we have reached a respectable size. We are even starting to show up on the radars of some major ophthalmology organizations.
As my focus and energy shifted toward cultivating the Solo Eye Physicians Group, I spent less time on my blog. Eventually, I announced the closure of my blog. I made it private and by invitation only until I was able to figure out what to do with the remnants it. I just didn’t want anonymous eyes on my blog while I was not actively managing it. After some thought, I realized that it would be a shame and a loss if my blog just rode into the sunset. I strongly believe that the ophthalmology community, as well as the entire medical community, would remain stronger if more of us went into solo practice. I want to help provide that empowering road map.
To this regard, I have decided to start a revamped version of my original solo practice blog with a partner. Let me introduce you to Howie Chen, M.D. He is currently in his fourth year of solo comprehensive ophthalmology practice in Goodyear, AZ. I guess you can say that he was sort of a protege of mine. After reading my blog, he was inspired to go into solo practice. Howie is currently an active member in our Solo Eye Physicians Group, and the amazing thing is that he now knows way more than me on various practice management issues! Pretty cool. Look out for his introductory post soon!
In this resurrected blog, we will discuss various issues that arise from our personal journeys of solo practice, instructional how-to topics, and even some social commentary on the healthcare system. First, I will re-post all my previous posts from my old blog, and will give updates and provide commentary as an older, more seasoned Dr. Choi. Stay tuned!!!