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7 Common Fears about Concierge Medicine…and Why You Shouldn’t Fear Them

“There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”

Dennis Waitley, author

Fear not: concierge medicine may be the change you need most.

For more than 14 years, Specialdocs has been transitioning physicians from a traditional practice model to concierge medicine. We’ve seen the fears, anxiety and concerns physicians have as they make this important decision for their career. But we also know that in today’s dysfunctional healthcare environment, physicians are justifiably as worried about maintaining the status quo. Eliminate your anxiety with a truer understanding of the realities of concierge medicine…read on for Specialdocs’ insights on how to understand the top 7 fear factors.

Fear Factor #1: Concierge medicine will only appeal to my wealthy patients.

Reality #1: The typical annual membership fee for a concierge medicine practice has become more affordable as the model has gained mainstream acceptance. In fact, the monthly cost often amounts to about the price of a cable tv package.

Fear Factor #2: Patients will abuse access to my personal cell phone.

 Reality #2: It is often just the opposite, according to our physician-clients, who tell us many of their patients are actually more respectful of this privilege, knowing they can call whenever they need to. Many doctors even wish their patients would call more often i.e. not wait until Monday to call if they’re ill on Saturday.

Fear Factor #3: Transitioning to concierge medicine will negatively impact my staff.

Reality #3: It’s understandable that once they hear of your transition, your staff will immediately wonder if they will lose their jobs. Keep in mind however, that it is very possible you may need the same number of people in your office after your transition. In most cases, your staff will be working just as hard, but will now have the time to focus on actions that will make a real difference in the patient experience, such as getting up, opening doors, and greeting patients instead of sitting behind a glass window.

Fear Factor #4: My patient panel will be mostly elderly and very ill.

Reality #4: There is no doubt that the majority of patients are of Medicare age, and many Baby Boomers who are financially comfortable and wanting to invest in their health and wellness continue to seek out concierge physicians. However, it’s also true that people are more invested in their health than ever before and at younger ages. They join fitness clubs, participate in corporate wellness programs, embrace healthy eating, and as a result, we’re seeing a new generation of patients who appreciate the value of proactive vs. reactive care. Direct access to their physician 24/7 is also especially attractive to younger people with demanding jobs who don’t have time to spend in a waiting room, or to wait several days for an appointment when they’re ill.

Fear Factor #5: If I changed to concierge medicine, I would be abandoning my patients.

 Reality #5: Remember that you are not leaving your patients – you are still practicing medicine. Help your patients see concierge medicine not as an unnecessary expense but rather an investment in their health. Many concierge physicians also offer discounts or scholarships to patients who cannot afford the full amount – we recommend this should account for 10 percent of the patient panel on average. When patients choose not to become a member of a concierge practice, at Specialdocs we help our clients find a new home for every patient, ensuring continuity of care.

Fear Factor #6: I would be contributing to a future shortage of primary care physicians.

 Reality #6: Making the change to concierge medicine means you will be part of the solution – not part of the problem – because you will still be there for your patients over the long term. Burnout is one of the biggest reasons physicians leave the profession prematurely, but the work-life balance made possible in a concierge model helps restore our physicians’ passion for practicing medicine.

Fear Factor #7: Concierge medicine practices only work in big cities or affluent communities.

 Reality #7: Our physician-clients have found success in various settings. We’ve worked with physicians located in small towns such as Stowe, VT and Milton, DE to communities outside major urban areas such as Lafayette, IN, Redding, CA and Oak Lawn, IL. Research shows that membership medicine practices continue to gain traction nationwide, growing exponentially since its inception in the 1990s to more than 10,000 today.

Physicians, would you like to “fact check” your knowledge of concierge medicine? Sign up for our free webinar titled “Membership Medicine: Is it Right for Your Practice?” on Sept. 8, Noon CT, or share your thoughts with us on LinkedInTwitter or Facebook. We’d love to hear from you!