Patients don’t have any frame of reference for a Norman Rockwell or Andy Griffith era Physician at their bedside who is friendly, empathetic, kind and personable. One of the first things they do is look at you and fear how much all of this ‘today’ is going to cost. But cost isn’t the only concern. Likeability, empathy, kindness … this all comes into play for a Doctor today.
By Michael Tetreault, Editor-In-Chief | Concierge Medicine Today
JULY/August 2019 – Each day, we receive countless requests from Patients online searching specifically for a Concierge Medicine Doctor.
The fact is … People don’t know you [their Doctor]. They don’t like you. And, they don’t trust you. That’s not fair some may say. Well, do we not do our kids a disservice in life when we instruct them that ‘life is fair?’
Patient Fatigue has set in and Patients have lost faith in their Doctor today. The fact is if you try to be fair at the end of the day, you won’t be able to. “Give up on fairness and get engaged …” someone recently said at a conference in May 2019. I tend to agree with this statement. We’ve all seen what happens when we try to be fair to every person that walks into the office. That is not working.
Why do we think Physician burnout is so high? Why do we see entry rates and numbers of young Physicians moving into primary care or family medicine year after year continue to flat-line (KHN; July 2019: American Medical Students Less Likely To Choose To Become Primary Care Doctors)?
How we got to this point is complicated. How we fix it is as well. There is not one deliver solution that will work for every Doctor. We are trying to be fair in a healthcare economy and culture that doesn’t work that way.
Patients want you to Do For Them … What You Wish You Could Do For Everyone.
Model something for the world of healthcare that can be replicated and respected.
You don’t have to take our word for it. Simply listen to the numerous Patients around you who are searching for a new Doctor, specifically in the new data/charts below … a Concierge Doctor. Take a look at the figures and responses we received as a result of proving our hypothesis over the past year and the public’s trust in their current, plan-reimbursed Physician and see for yourself (below).
Some of the comments they left included:
“The Staff Is Difficult To Work With”
“I Feel Like A Number”
“He/She Spends Less Than 15-Min. w/ me per visit.”
“Not thorough in tests”
Patient Fatigue or Patient Burnout is all to real and unfortunately a number today no one even tracks. If this saddens you or moves your spirit in any way, there’s hope. There’s hope because it means you and others like you care enough to try to change the status quo verses defend it.
Simply stated, Concierge Medicine is a subscription-based or membership medicine healthcare delivery business model where the Physician is purposeful and intentional about blending certain characteristics of service and medical expertise into the rhythm of his/her organization and medical practice environment. That may include:
Finding unique ways to collaborate and communicate with Patients more thoroughly and effectively;
Address specific healthcare needs and questions whenever they arise;
It is a place where the Physician partners with each Patient individually to create a preventive lifestyle planning solution that is flexible and obtainable;
It is a safe, comfortable, inviting, friendly and professional medical environment;
It is a setting whereby the Physician loans his/her time, talent, expertise and resources to needs of the Patient.
There’s obviously a lot more to it than that. A lot more.
Healthcare has become so messy that you’ve now learned how to survive and thrive in a real mess. The typical business models that you were never trained to tackle but are expected to excel at were built around teaching and telling Patients what to do and what is right. Then, you move onto the next Patient and the next, and the next … day after day.
So why are we as human beings compelled to stay and operate in the mess? Charting. Filing. Typing. Billing. Rinse and Repeat, year after year until retirement. Is it because of the consequences of not doing so? Is it fear of the unknown? Is it financial? It’s easy to defend it. But, is it really that comfortable or is it something more personal?
Many of the business and revenue models and medical practices you and your colleagues operate in today are built around the presupposition that Patients will increase their knowledge by obeying what the Doctor says.
Patient ‘A’, do this. Patient ‘B’, take this. Lifestyle changes and the private, confidential and today, rather unhealthy relationship between a Doctor and a Patient right now is largely built on obedience. A healthy relationship we all know is built on trust and relationship. Dare we argue the patient-physician relationship today is unhealthy? As a person’s confidence in their Doctor increases do you start to see lifestyle and patterns that are healthier start to emerge?
We don’t have to tell you that simply by becoming a Physician in Concierge Medicine, you are changing the very conversation and relational dynamic with each patient, each day … whereby you’re moving the patient from do this, take that, just obey my orders to ‘Let’s do this because ….’
Here’s another illustration to help reinforce our topic today. Have you ever sat across from a Patient, a loved one or maybe a family member during the holidays and heard their story about how they overcame an illness, cancer or seemingly impossible health crisis?
Usually they talk about the people and the individuals that were put into their path along the way.
“Then I met Dr. Smith … then she did this and this …” Or, “Then he introduced me to and told me to …”
We’ve probably never heard a story without a relational component. There’s always a mention of that Doctor, that specialist or that nurse.
How can more Doctors be fully present? How can Doctors with all of the weight you carry into the practice and into the exam room elevate and dignify [verb: make (something) seem worthy and impressive] the Patient relationship?
Patients Are Losing Hope In the Doctor-Patient Relationship, So They’re Turning to Apps, Urgent Care’s and Other Types of Providers
A Patient won’t come back because of function or process or location of your practice or the degree on your wall. Those things might be attractive on paper and convenient … but successful business understand that people, customers, yes, even Patients … choose to come back to brands, businesses, events and experiences because of how they or you [e.g. their Doctor] made them feel. Doctors are in the people business and you’ve got the potential to elevate the dignity of countless people every single day. Yet we’re still losing the caring and relational component of healthcare.
So In 2019, Where Is Patient Search for Concierge Medicine Doctors Happening and/or Concentrating Most?