October 25, 2020

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The top 5 considerations institutions should consider when exploring incorporation of Concierge Medicine programs inside medical centers are …

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Hospital Environments & Executive Health Programs and Concierge Care. What Are They? What Do They Do? And, How Are They Different/Similar?

By Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief

SPRING 2020

There’s something interesting happening in a lot of hospitals around the country. They’re implementing Concierge Medical Care programs in addition to providing executive health programs.

For most of the readers out there, you might think these programs [Executive Healthcare vs. Concierge Medicine Programs] are one in the same but actually, they do have unique differences that are relatively easy to spot.

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The Basics

Basically, each may entail complete physicals with evaluations and recommendations.

Next, Executive Healthcare programs are geared usually [by its name] to busy executives and others such as business owners who are concerned about their health. While they are quite beneficial for patients, executive health programs are a solid source of revenue for medical institutions and provide local C-Suite executives and businesses to maintain their health locally by connecting with area specialists and Physicians to help manage chronic health issues and potential vaccination or travel medicine needs. The result is a progressively competitive environment for medical institutions providing them.

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Comprehensive longevity planning.

Some cutting edge hospital executive healthcare programs will integrate both genomic and biomarker testing.  Additionally, they may also provide holistic and/or preventive healthcare and risk management plans for executives.

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Cost

With advancements in healthcare and increasingly discerning [prospective] patients, executive health programs are constantly evolving. It’s a combination of advances in medical technology and attentive care from specialists tailored to executives with busy schedules.

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According to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, they define Executive Medicine as being responsible for providing all of a patient’s health care needs and/or arranging care with other qualified professionals, This includes coordination of preventive and specialty care, treatment of acute and chronic illness and case management services.

Hospital Concierge Medicine Basics

Medical centers are also no strangers to Concierge Medicine programs, but they have an entirely different set of complexities to consider when implementing in local hospitals and communities for the first time. The physicians who work inside concierge medical center programs are typically primary care and family physicians and some Hospitalists. We know that more hospitals are looking at ways in which they support and service their local communities. As more physicians are turning to these facilities for employment it only makes sense for these institutions to provide a level of care in a subscription-based model for some who desire it in the community and retain great Doctors.

The Lewis and John Dare Center at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle has been a model for concierge medical care and unique primary care programs for a number of years. In August 2013, the Dare Center invited concierge physicians, hospital administrators and medical center executives from across the country to participate in a round table discussion. The inaugural event took place in Seattle, WA.

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John Kirkpatrick, MD, a Dare Center physician, was one of the main speakers and noted that the focus of the meeting was to bring together staff members of medical centers with existing concierge programs to discuss common problems and share successful solutions. At least 15 medical centers attended this meeting in 2013. There was a breakout session for program managers in established practices and another for attendees exploring this type of practice, as well as a round-table discussion with “lessons learned” from other programs currently operating in the marketplace.

Other topics included: alternative models; amenities/perks; preserving academic standards; legal hurdles; marketing tips; compensation issues; expectations/boundaries; recruiting; networking and other topics important to successful medical center operations.

“The challenges of medical center Concierge Medicine programs are very different than those experienced by concierge physicians in private practice,” said Dr. Kirkpatrick. “All hospitals/medical centers have special perks and usually enhanced access to specialists for their donors and patrons, often a special number they can call. Most have an informal private banking approach where there is no established fee, just an expected level of donation. Despite the proliferation of individual concierge practices and now organized networks, Concierge Medicine programs INSIDE medical centers are quite unusual. There may be only 20-25 in the entire country [2013].”

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Before his retirement, Dr. Kirkpatrick shared with us [Concierge Medicine Today] the top five considerations institutions should consider when exploring incorporation of Concierge Medicine programs inside medical centers. Those are:

  1. The CEO MUST be supportive and the overall organization MUST embrace the concept. This cannot be over-stated.
  2. The program needs a Champion. This can be the CEO, or a doctor who is going to provide the care, a VP of Marketing/Business Development, a VP of Foundation or Development Department. Someone must keep the program moving forward. Someone with the clout to promote and do it.
  3. The Medical Center should have a well-to-do population base of interested Patients . This program works for Mayo in the Phoenix, AZ area and in Jacksonville, FL but not Rochester, Minnesota.
  4. The Medical Center needs two doctors who already provide personalized services to their Patients.
  5. Steering committee of stakeholders – Patients, providers, senior administrators, development officers, marketing experts, nursing staff.

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Other very important steps include approval of the legal department and development implementation of an internal marketing plan for education of all staff. This should be performed even before external marketing begun.

Examples

Some of the latest [2020] examples of Concierge Medical Care Programs currently being used inside hospital and institutional environments include (just to name a few):

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In Summary

For some hospitals, executive health and wellness programs may seem similar but there are unique, subtle and often obvious differences. The opportunities that are available to these Patients and healthcare providers from incorporating mHealth evaluations, expedited access to specialists in the center and treatment related to comprehensive longevity planning add considerable benefit to the community which the institution serves. With the economics of healthcare many times working against providers, the evolution of executive health and Concierge Medicine programs will prove very beneficial to all involved.

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