4 Benefits of Concierge Medicine: Why Becoming a Concierge Doc Is Worth It
Concierge medicine is becoming a nationwide trend with roughly 12,000 concierge docs already operating throughout the United States. While concierge doctors provide similar medical services as “regular” primary care physicians, they are breaking free from traditional care practices — enhancing patient experiences and striving for financial independence.
The U.S. concierge medicine market is expected to steadily increase in value by over 10% every year — currently standing at USD 6.1 billion¹. More providers are converting their practices and becoming concierge docs. But why? Let’s find out why our healthcare system is under reform.
What Is a Concierge Doctor?
The concierge medicine model varies from traditional primary care in that it offers medical services for an upfront retainer fee, paid on a subscription basis. Why that’s appealing?
For doctors, this model provides financial stability and consistency. They’re able to provide more customized and personalized care and focus on building true connections with their patients — which is very much appreciated by patients seeking care.
While concierge medicine started out as a more selective healthcare service, it has become more affordable over the years and costs an average of $200 each month — not including health insurance premiums and hospitalizations if applicable.
Just like any primary care provider (PCP), concierge docs provide a wide array of medical services to their patients. These include regular check-ups and examinations, lab tests, diagnostic screenings, and preventive medicine.
In essence, concierge docs offer the same medical services as any other primary care practice, however, they focus on a much smaller patient population, which means that physicians know their patients much better.
Concierge docs receive the same medical training as standard medical doctors who administer general care to patients. This makes concierge medicine simply a different care model and not a specialty.
How Exactly Does Concierge Medicine Work with Insurance?
Similar to traditional doctor’s visits, concierge docs will submit claims to the patient’s insurance as medical services can be covered. This means that medical services like screenings, annual exams, and labwork can all be submitted to a patient’s health insurance.
The monthly concierge fee, however, which offers unlimited access to care is not covered by health insurance providers. In addition, claims submitted through insurance carriers are submitted as “non-participating providers.”
While physicians following concierge medicine models fall under out-of-network providers, the concierge approach is free from insurance restrictions that limit the number of office visits, services, or treatments.
This means that concierge docs provide the same screenings and medical evaluations as traditional PCPs and submit claims to the patient’s insurance carrier. The difference is the actual concierge fee paid upfront and the continuous access to care that becomes available to patients.
The Pros of Concierge Medicine
While concierge medicine is a newer model of care, with the first practice opening its doors in Seattle in 1996², it holds the promise of revolutionizing healthcare as we know it today.
In fact, there are countless benefits that both concierge docs and their patients experience as a direct result of this care model. With many pros accompanying concierge medicine, clinicians hope to boost patient satisfaction and find a better way of running their practice.
(1) Lower Patient Volume
According to the American Association of Physician Leadership, every PCP has a panel of roughly 1,800 to 2,000 patients — which is down from 2,500 to 3,000 on average in the past³. However, many doctors would argue this number is still way too high in order to provide quality care.
A survey conducted in 2018 further revealed that most physicians worked over 50 hours per week and saw about 20 patients every single day³. Sadly, for many clinicians and patients, this model leaves little time for thorough evaluations.
Concierge docs, on the other hand, are responsible for a panel of about 600 patients only, giving them more time and energy to focus on a much more manageable patient population.
(2) Knowing Your Patients
Going hand-in-hand with having a lower patient volume, concierge doctors can build a much deeper bond with their patients and form meaningful and long-lasting relationships.
In a fast-paced world, receiving personalized care and feeling heard by your doctor, is a highly coveted asset. Patients very much welcome the in-depth knowledge concierge docs are able to provide — simply by having more time in a patient-facing setting.
(3) Financial Security
Besides being able to provide better patient care and growing patient relationships, the concierge model also offers doctors financial security. Stability stems from having patients pay a consistent monthly fee, which “guarantees” providers a certain income stream and offers more predictability when it comes to revenue.
A big bonus is that providers don’t need to crowd their daily schedule with patient visits for revenue purposes — after all, patients are paying a monthly subscription-like fee. This allows concierge docs to focus on a few patients every day while investing time into providing quality over quantity.
(4) More Time With Your Family
Today’s healthcare system puts clinicians in a challenging position. Most primary care providers rush from one room to the next and see patients like clockwork. But even after hours, many physicians find themselves completing administrative tasks and recouping from the pace of their daily routine.
With patient volume significantly reduced for concierge docs, physicians feel pressure lifted off their shoulders and are less likely to suffer from burnout. This improved state of mind, in conjunction with less exhaustion, allows clinicians to spend more quality time with their families and kids.
A work-life balance is critical in any career as it fuels individuals and supports continued commitment and motivation.
How Do You Become a Concierge Doc?
If you’re unhappy with the current model of care at your practice and find traditional primary care too restrictive, it might be worth considering becoming a concierge doc.
Just imagine not feeling rushed and being able to thoroughly evaluate, diagnose, and treat your patients.
To take the leap, you can follow different paths. The most common scenario is joining a medical practice that has already applied the concierge medicine model. Joining an established team means there are people available to help you navigate — plus you don’t have to do everything from scratch, a foundation has already been laid.
The second path involves converting your own practice and adopting the concierge model. The hardest step will be reducing your patient load and deciding on the criteria for patients that can follow you into the new care model. This scenario encompasses training sessions for staff and adjusting operational procedures. It can also yield very specific results that are tailored to your needs.
Managing Your Practice as a Concierge Doc
Concierge medicine challenges many of today’s healthcare views and strives to improve conditions for doctors and patients alike.
By leaving traditional care models, concierge docs are more inclined to further “revolutionize” their practice: overhaul processes, bring in novel technologies, and adopt innovative tools that help run their clinics smoothly.
At Vivlio Health, we applaud innovation and want to support physicians on their journey toward improving healthcare and patient care. That’s why we have worked diligently in conjunction with countless healthcare professionals to develop a cloud-based solution to retrieve and exchange clinical records for patients — in a fast and secure fashion.
You’ve successfully taken a step towards this new care model, now let’s find a way to equip your practice with tools that support office operations and further enhance your patients’ experience.
Want to learn more? We’re happy to help — book a demo to find out how we can help you manage a successful practice. See you soon!
“U.S. Concierge Medicine Market Size & Trends Report, 2030.” Grand View Research, https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/us-concierge-medicine-market-report. Accessed 22 August 2023.
Colton, Robert, and Bernard Kaminetsky. “The History of Concierge Medicine in America (1996-Present Day).” Concierge Medicine Today, https://conciergemedicinetoday.org/the-history-of-concierge-medicine-in-america-1996-present-day/. Accessed 22 August 2023.
Weber, David Ollier. “How Many Patients Can a Primary Care Physician Treat? | AAPL Publication.” American Association for Physician Leadership, https://www.physicianleaders.org/articles/how-many-patients-can-primary-care-physician-treat. Accessed 22 August 2023.