I joined Steward after 30 plus years practicing medicine in a small group. There are clearly benefits to both scenarios. It is rewarding to build something and be your own boss, however it soon becomes apparent that you really work for your patients and to be able to do this efficiently, it helps to be part of a greater whole.
If one chooses not to work in a large academic center then in order to provide patients with optimum care, being part of a network allows one to have access to quality resources and personal which are local to the practice. That and improved communications makes for a smoother workflow. The Steward model of providing these assets locally benefit both the patients and the providers alike. For an aging and/or busy patient population, it ensures quality care without having to travel into large urban centers in most instances.
Steward is an organization that listens to its doctors and encourages their input for ways to improve patient care. It allows its providers a voice to bring practical, boots on the ground issues to help with workflow. Many organizations are top/down driven. Steward works at being bottom/up so that the solutions are both practical and welcome.