National Headlines

Op/Ed: The Likeability of Concierge Medicine Twenty Years Later.

By Michael Tetreault, Editor

Editor-In-Chief, Michael Tetreault

ATLANTA, GA | AUGUST 22, 2018 – What if I were to tell you a story about how a Mom with a brain tumor is still loving her kids and living with her family at home because of the early and intentional intervention of a Concierge Physician. Or, what if I were to tell you that a seasoned citizen in the mountains of Montana broke his ankle and was able to video chat with his Doctor while alone on the trail and find a way to limp back to civilization. For Doctors, some of you have great stories to tell. But outside the four walls of your practice, people in and around your community are telling an entirely different story. In fact, you’ve probably heard people share horror stories about a recent hospital stay or specialist encounter. People are literally trying to one-up each others stories about how bad healthcare is out there.

For those that get it, you don’t need convincing. The words Concierge Medicine, subscriptions or even membership never bothered you and it never will. You welcome the wincing, the head-scratching and raised eyebrow dialogue and you see how what you are doing can and is helping change the stories people share around you and in your community.

“It’s a different type of busy … My day is just as long now, if not longer. But, I’m spending a lot more time with all of my patients. In between visits, I’m on the phone checking on people at home.” ~Physician in FL
Today, subscriptions are all around us. In fact, bloggers are even writing stories about subscription burnout and our auto-billing credit card frequencies. The world around us has changed in the past 20 years. Healthcare, often known for its slooooooooooow adoption of many things has only been in the past two decades motivated to explore memberships with its communities of patients primarily due to increasing demand and acceptance of such practices.
Bob Buford who wrote a book called “Half Time” about the second half of your life. Runners also talk about this concept. It’s called a “negative split,” and it means that you ran the second half of your race faster than the first half. It means that despite being tired, despite being frustrated, you actually picked up your pace. How many Doctors feel that way today, raise your hand?
Over the past two years we’ve asked actively seeking Patients who regularly read our publication(s), “Why are you searching for a Concierge Physician?” The answers are in the tens of thousands but filter all of those comments down and at the end of the survey, we all want a Physician who “We Know, We Like and We Trust.” A Doctor’s time is valuable. Furthermore, a Doctor saves the day. He or she is the unsung hero often neglected and unappreciated. Barely a footnote today in the story of our lives. America’s Best Places To Work never include a doctors office. But when someone (e.g. a Doctor) shows up on time, spends some time with us, the Patients tend to learn more and care more about their health.
“Primary Care needs to become relevant again by servicing patients directly and being available and offering the kinds of broad services that family doctors used to offer. This kind of approach will also drive more medical students back into primary care and restore the balance back to the ratios before managed care.” ~Dr. N, Atlanta, GA
Story continued below …
A lot of people in Concierge Medicine and other similar, familial subscription-healthcare niches all have something in common. Not only do these Physicians understand that ‘Membership drives engagement’ as one incredibly popular group of clinics in Calif. states, but they all understand that healthcare can and should be a marriage of the Hippocratic Oath and the Golden Rule … a love note to patients about what could be and should be in healthcare.
Fast forward twenty years to present day and most of us have subscriptions, both big and small. If we don’t use them, we cancel them, right? Membership equals engagement, whether that be in the form of a movie, a tv show we binge watch or albeit, a Doctor’s office. Today, these business models we use (e.g. Netflix, PRIME, etc.) outside of the four walls of a Doctor’s office help us feel more comfortable with subscriptions and memberships in healthcare. Today, the Doctors offices we visit and hear about so often in the news are constantly evolving and are actually now quite common. Healthcare’s once sloooooooooow acceptance to memberships has now become much more widespread and taken on many forms. Like many industry’s, price points range.
So in conclusion for today, you should understand that the world is looking at Concierge Medicine in all of its forms, all of its price points and all of its wonder and the people around you are turning this snow globe over and saying, ‘Huh, maybe I should give this a try.’ For some, it is a welcome reprieve. For others, it is so radically simple it’s strange. We all do everything we can to make our friends and family feel at home when we invite them to dinner. Yet in a healthcare environment, we are minutes away from walking in a medical office and expect we will receive something entirely different, and most often, we do. One of my favorite authors quotes, Jon Acuff where he says, “We don’t need you to be new, we need you to be you. The world is currently short one YOU.”
I hope to see YOU in Atlanta this October at the 2018 CMT FORUM. You won’t want to miss our amazing lineup of Physicians, faculty and research analysts!

(C) 2018 Concierge Medicine Today

Categories: National Headlines