December 16, 2020
By Dr. Stanley Merick
Most consumer-centric business models operate on the concept of active subscription in return for their services. We subscribe to internet providers on a monthly basis, renew our data plans, and subscribe to software to operate our business needs. In all honesty, this business model is quite practical for both, providers and users. So why should medical care be any different? Despite the rigidity of the healthcare system, concierge medicine has managed to make a reputation for itself.
Here’s everything you should know about concierge medicine.
How Concierge Medicine Works
The concierge medicine business model shifts the healthcare system from paying-for-service to subscribing to the service. As a result, patients enjoy direct and around-the-hour access to the healthcare provided by their primary care physician. When it was first introduced back in the mid-90s, it targeted the first-class society. It entailed luxury medical care benefits with a price tag to match the expectations. It wasn’t uncommon for the patient to pay up to $25,000 a year to enjoy these benefits, all while paying healthcare insurance premiums.
Concierge medicine has come a long way ever since, where it’s much more affordable to the general public. It’s now more commonly referred to as direct primary care, which has adopted more affordable business models. Nowadays, the membership ranges from $125 to $200 a month, which makes its annual fees range from $1,500 to $2,400. Moreover, some healthcare insurance plans cover the costs of the hospitalizations and consultations done in this subscription.
Advantages of Concierge Medicine
There are multiple advantages to concierge medicine practice, both for the physician and the patient. As the experts from Erin Reese MD puts it, concierge medicine provides accessible and constant medical care to the patients. They won’t have to deal with insurance providers or middlemen to get their treatment whenever and however they way. On the other hand, this model provides a more stable business to the physicians, where they can estimate their monthly and annual revenue based on the number of subscriptions. Instead of attending to thousands of patients per month, they deliver more customized and effective care to their patients, resulting in a better patient-doctor relationship.
Disadvantages of Concierge Medicine
Although it has a lot of advantages, we’ve come to witness a few collateral disadvantages as well. The old business model made it possible for primary care physicians to treat an average of 2,500 patients a month, while concierge medicine practice reduces this rate to 450 to 600 patients per month. This means fewer patients get treated, while the need for more general physicians gets stronger, in a time where the specialty is not appealing to most medical students. It may also be the start of declining care for low-income and rural-based patients who can’t access these advanced models, especially if the physician gets picky about their patients.
Concierge medicine adopted the most effective customer-centric business model to transform healthcare delivery. Following this model, patients get affordable and accessible healthcare whenever they need it, instead of paying for each service. The model comes with a lot of advantages to primary care physicians and patients alike, but there’s no denying that its downsides can be severe either.