In today’s healthcare climate, concierge medicine is gaining ground and increasing in popularity. Patients are opting to either pay in cash for services rendered or pre-pay a monthly or annual fee for more personalized services and 24/7 access to their physician. Both physicians and patients are driving much of the growth attributed to concierge medicine (Spooner, 2007). Many physicians are dissatisfied with their reimbursement contracts and heavy patient loads that limit the amount of time spent with their patients. Patients feel that the level of quality of care provided by traditional medicine is declining and are increasingly dissatisfied ...view middle of the document...
Patients usually do not leave one concierge practice to join another, even when there is a slight difference in pricing (Specialdocs, 2014). As new concierge practices open in the area, concierge practices will also have to be more creative and add more value to their practices to ensure the patient continues to renew their membership.
Identification of the practice’s ideal member patients, the challenges they are facing and the services they find desirable is essential to be able to offer the best combination of concierge services. Another important factor is that there is a growing shortage of primary care providers in the United States (Drummond, n.d.). As the shortage worsens, a large portion of the population will become willing to pay to continue to see their doctor as they are accustomed to doing, especially if the alternative is the high volume “assembly line medicine” (Drummond, n.d.). Change is difficult, however, effectively communicating and educating patients to help them understand the benefits of the concierge care model will help ease the transition.
Concierge physicians play an important role as patient advocate during a medical emergency, helping patients manage their way through the medical system when they become sick. They can also find the best specialists to meet patient needs. Concierge physicians provide continuity of care, from the office to the patient’s home (Merritt, 2014). Many patients will see the value of being able to reach their physician 24/7 whether by phone or email and will not mind paying a premium for high quality, personalized patient care. If patients are provided a special experience, they will be more likely to stay loyal and share their experience with others (Merritt, 2014). The physician and staff must be prepared however, for this new level of customer service and accessibility.
In today’s economy, many physicians have drained their savings accounts and maxed out their personal credit lines or are still paying back extensive student loans. In order for a new concierge care practice to thrive, physicians must reach out to others to raise the necessary capital. A well thought out business plan for the practice must be created to submit to healthcare consultants, attorneys and a trusted accountant (Teatreault, n.d.). The concierge medicine model an entrepreneurial endeavor and involves an advanced marketing program to be successful. Physicians, for the first time, must enroll their own patients who pay their own money for this direct relationship (Teatreault, n.d.).
The concierge care model is set up to allow physicians to see fewer patients, there is much less overhead, the need for office space decreases as well as the number of staff necessary to manage phone calls, paperwork and insurance processing (Teatreault, n.d.). Overhead costs are significantly reduced with more money coming the practice’s bottom line. Although the practice will not require any additional medical...