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Understanding Concierge Medicine

Concierge medicine isn’t just about making more money. And your customer base will not be more complicated or more demanding. Concierge medicine weeds out the less discerning patient from the informed healthcare consumer.

The concierge physician just wants to take back the patient-doctor relationship. They want to focus on the patient and not the EMR or the insurance company.

Imagine that you get a chronic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or IBD or diabetes or cancer, where would you go, and whom would you trust in the healthcare system?

In the current Healthcare environment, do you think the traditional physician prioritizes the EMR and insurance payer or the patient?

Concierge Medicine

I am not going to even bother to write down the actual definition of concierge medicine. What matters is how concierge medicine in practice in the real world. And, how you want to structure your concierge practice.

Sure, there are those Physicians who go into concierge medicine to line their pockets. They’ll bend their clinical morals to cater to their customers for the sake of profits.

then there is the other group, The Physicians who really care about what they do, who want to practice their art at its Optimum level, who go into private practice and demand more time with each of their patients.

The concierge physician wants to be able to spend 1 hour with a patient. Or maybe just a send a 10-second text to another.

The concierge Medicine Physician

Concierge medicine physician can be Primary Care doctors or Pediatricians or Gynecologist or Neurologists or Rheumatologists.

They have their own private practice as a solo physicians or work alongside other clinicians, such as an associate physician or PA or NP.

The purpose of the concierge fee is to make sure that the bottom line is covered so that the physician can focus on the patient.

Imagine You’re Wealthy

Imagine you are some famous billionaire or having a steady income of millions of dollars from your various businesses and investments, where would you go for your healthcare?

Have you see any such famous individuals in your waiting room? Can you imagine one of these individuals waiting in the ER for 4.5 hours? Or dealing with a scheduling conflict at the hospital for a simple cholecystectomy?

There is a reason why these wealthy individuals get some of the best care in the world. Not only do they demand it, and are willing to take responsibility for their health, but they seek out those doctors who, much like themselves, are willing to offer a far higher value in their field of expertise.

The wealthy and the informed consumer will always pay more for better service. They are in search of value and not the price of something. That’s what attracts them to concierge medicine.

The Knowledge Base

The first negative thought you might have is that you don’t know as much as the next Gastroenterologist or Neurologist or Family Doc to be a concierge medicine physician.

After all, it’s intimidating as fuck if a CEO is your patient. What if you fuck up? What if you don’t know something? How do you even know how to offer a high quality service to that person?

The difference with these patients is that you have all of the time to research the topic. You can actually review journal articles and call up your colleagues. Imagine that.

That same CEO who is your patients doesn’t know all of the answers when faced with a problem. But they know how to look for the right solution and they are dedicated to finding the best solution.

That’s all anyone can expect of your as a physician in concierge medicine. If they want anything else they’ll have to go to the miracle store on Keepdreaming Lane.

The Informed Healthcare Consumer

You know how you go online and do a ton of research when buying an investment property? Or when deciding on your next vacation destination? Or the kind of car you might buy?

That’s the kind of care many put into designing their healthcare. They want the ideal doctor, a great value, and they know exactly what they want.

The informed healthcare consumer knows where to find health related information. They don’t need you to tell them to exercise regularly and not eat sugar-free shit.

But they don’t want to spend all of their time researching every new thing. They are looking for the kind of doctor who is passionate about their specialty. They want to offload the burden of decision making on their chosen expert.

The informed healthcare consumer will spend months or years swapping clinics and doctors until they find the right person. And once they establish that person as their healthcare expert, they will trust them fully – no arguing, no fussing about.

Late to the Game

Concierge medicine and Direct Primary Care have been around for some time. But they are just now gaining popularity. Why? Because health insurance premiums and the cost of healthcare is out of control.

The most powerful and highest spending lobby groups on Cap Hill are the AMA, pharma, and the hospital groups. They want healthcare to be expensive. They want to hide price transparency.

So, what I’m saying here is that you’re not late to the game. But don’t wait too long either, because big companies are trying to enter the concierge game. One Medical is such as example.

Higher Quality of Care

How hard is it to offer more value to the patient? How do you offer a higher quality of care and justify the cost?

#1. Access

Access refers to being able to see your doctor on your terms, not having to wait weeks for an appointment.

It’s being able to text your doctor from HI asking what to do about stepping on a sea urchin. It’s being able to text a photo of your kid’s rash that you suspect is benign.

Access is being able to refill your meds or have labs ordered without going through a ridiculous song and dance.

#2. Communication

Your patient wants to text you or your MA directly. They don’t want to leave a message, they don’t want to be on hold, they want to talk to someone who knows them.

They want to use email, text, voice, and video to communicate with you. And yes, they know about HIPAA but that doesn’t mean that they have to use some piece of shit EHR app which works 15% of the time.

#3. Resources

A good concierge physician is resourceful. They may not know who the top NHL oncologist is on the west coast, but they know how to find that person.

It’s being willing to put in the time to research the patient’s symptoms and maybe see them in your office before sending them off to the hospital for an expensive and potentially unnecessary workup.

#4. Accountability

This particular healthcare consumer wants the kind of physician who isn’t just pushing medications but can be held accountable and is willing to hold the patient accountable.

Patients who are willing to pay for concierge care expect someone who is as firm and confident as they are. They don’t want a pushover physician.

#5. Follow-Up

If you’re a patient who went and did a chest xray, a treadmill stress test, and a sleep study, you don’t want to have to then spend the next month getting all of those results to your PCP.

A concierge practice has the bandwidth to follow up on all of these studies. The doctor will review them and come up with a good plan. Anything less than that would be unacceptable.

#6. Empowerment

We’ve seen how terrible it is to infantilize the public as our government has done in this current COVID-19 pandemic. The average person, much less the wealthy, informed healthcare consumer wants to be empowered and not talked down to.

They want to be educated and they want the knowledge necessary to make pivotal healthcare decisions for themselves.

#7. Setting Expectations

To succeed in a concierge practice the physician has to set proper expectations for their patient. No matter how you want to run your practice, you must be upfront about what you expect from your patient.

Which means that you must also be upfront about what you’re willing to deliver.

#8. Feeling Heard

Finally, I think a patient often wants to be heard. They want to be reassured and know that their healthcare concerns don’t fall on deaf ears.

Medicine isn’t hard, that should be the easy part once you’re an attending. But listening to our patients in a 6.5-minute appointment is fucking impossible.

Being a Digital Nomad Physician

With my medical health coaching brand this is exactly what I’m trying to build. A kind-of concierge practice that’s online. A virtual practice with a select number of patients who are willing to pay me above-market-rates for my above-standards of care.

By no means am I smarter than another doctor. In fact, I can show you my Step scores and MCAT scores – I barely passed. But I know everything I need to know to take care of my patients.

As long as I can deliver above-average service to these patients then I build a concierge practice either physically or online, as a digital nomad physician.

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