Help Patients Understand: Concierge Medicine Explained

Are you a physician planning to convert from traditional medical practices to concierge medicine? It is an important part of the transition process to explain what concierge medicine is to patients. This discussion could be done one-on-one, through a presentation or however you feel is best, depending on your clientele; however, it may be best to start with a straightforward definition, then expound on the benefits of this technique for patients and doctors. Here’s a helpful guide to get you started.

Concierge Medicine Explained

To put it simply, concierge medicine is designed to alter the relationship between a physician and patient by changing from a fee-for-service model to a membership-based model. Such memberships require an annual or monthly fee, much like a retainer, in order to join a physician’s practice and receive improved services. Granted, not all concierge medicine practices operate the same; nevertheless, this is an easily grasped explanation.

How is the doctor-patient relationship altered? With concierge medicine, the physician typically sees drastically fewer patients, provides enhanced care and has increased availability.

  • Physicians with fewer patients can allocate more individualized time. Some of these doctors are seeing as few as 10% of the patients they treated under the traditional healthcare model.
  • Typically, medical care is improved under the concierge model, as these physicians now have more time and energy to perform more comprehensive exams. Additionally, there is often extra time to answer questions, address concerns and assist with health education.
  • Increased availability means patients may schedule an appointment as needed, including same-day or next-day appointments. This stems from the physician’s commitment to limit his or her patient load, thus securing adequate accessibility.

Further Benefits for the Patient

Here are some additional advantages to consider sharing as you determine how to explain concierge medicine to patients. First, patients who live with chronic medical conditions may find this type of care model to be better suited for their needs. Through a more personal relationship with their concierge doctor, they can better understand and manage ongoing conditions, plus receive more access to care.

Additionally, more focus on preventive medicine could subsequently lead to fewer ER and urgent care visits. With access to 24/7 communication, professional guidance through the health system and doctors taking a more holistic approach to medicine, many patients can see an improvement in their overall healthcare.

Benefits for Physicians

With value-based care, doctors may find themselves spending less time on paperwork, regulatory compliance and administrative responsibilities. Also, physicians in a concierge medical group are often less burdened to obtain additional approvals from an insurance company, permitting exploration into other potential avenues for treatment and care.

Without the drive to see as many patients as possible — which is the case in numerous healthcare systems — the membership-based model could help alleviate stress and avoid burnout. By improving personal health, physicians can see a positive impact in how they approach care and interact with patients.

Additional Resources

Looking for more information on how to explain concierge medicine? Find out the differences between concierge medicine vs. traditional practice and learn what concierge medicine means for patients.

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