The concierge model of medicine is steadily gaining popularity among doctors. But for a model that's been getting lots of recent attention in the media and the healthcare community, concierge medicine is still widely misunderstood. It's just for rich patients. It won't help physicians get rich quick. And opening a concierge practice is far from an easy endeavor.
But with more patients than ever on high-deductible health plans, concierge practices are starting to make real financial sense for consumers. Concierge physicians are often still very busy, but able to spend more quality time with their patients. Their patient load is often more manageable, and they're more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.
Those are just a few of the key benefits of getting into concierge medicine. Still, as any concierge doctor would tell you, there's a steep learning curve when you're just starting out.
That's why we called in a few concierge medicine experts and asked them this question: What does the beginning concierge medicine doctor need to know to make their practice successful?
Here's what they had to say.
"Experts within the concierge medicine industry suggest that physicians (of any specialty) should have a minimum of 6 years in private medical practice. However, 10 or more years is preferable."
- "Exactly what makes their membership offer unique from their competitors
- Enough about their target consumers to determine what is "nice to have" and what is "need to have" from the perspective of their target market. Too many physicians fail to research this enough and offer what the physician believes is nice vs need, and find that the market sees things differently.
- The actual and production costs of the amenities they include in their membership. Too many sophomores report that they offered too much in their membership amenities and the costs exceeded the fee.
- How they will manage social media marketing, and how they will make time for and learn to produce content that enables consumer engagement with their brand."
Maria K Todd, MHA PhD
The Handbook of Concierge Medical Practice Design
"This blog provides an idea of what I experienced starting out.
There is such a huge learning curve coming out of residency the first few years. Doctors trying to start a concierge practice will be at a huge disadvantage, not so much from the skills learned out in the real world, but mostly due to a limited number of loyal patients to draw from when starting. Typically 5-10% of the patients will join the practice, which gives a base to build upon. There needs to be enough patients to keep the practice afloat financially and generate enough referrals to spread the word and provide an ongoing inflow of patients. Tough to do when you are starting out.
However, tapping into corporations that self fund employees and carving out the primary care portion to a concierge physician has great potential for those just starting out!"
Joel Warshaw, MD
Concierge Internal Medicine
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