Written by Michael Tetreault, Editor, Concierge Medicine Today
If you’re thinking about starting a concierge medicine practice it is important to answer the question, why is this going to work?
Maybe you’ve been circling the air space around concierge medicine or a similar subscription-based healthcare delivery program offering for a while now. Perhaps you’re ready to take the next stop of contacting a consulting firm. That’s amazing! Well done.
However, before you take the leap you may want to do a little homework and get a baseline.
Oxford Languages describes a baseline as a minimum or starting point used for comparisons.
For nearly two decades, we’ve observed that part of being successful as a concierge medicine practice is having a uniquely better patient experience.
But, you and I both know that unique isn’t enough. You can be uniquely bad.
Why are you smirking? 😉
Unique doesn’t create that positive word of mouth patient story that’s going to be repeatedly shared among the Mom-group at the bus stop.
Most medical practice patient experiences we’ve all encountered let’s be downright honest here … are dull, laborious and anything but unique.
Even the stand-up comedians are now incorporating the patient intake experiences into their shows. Those patient experiences they describe would be what we would say might be uniquely bad experiences.
Recently we spoke to a dentist who was helping his wife, a Physician, start her own concierge medicine practice. A couple of months after she started, her husband (the Dentist) called us up and said “Michael, you were right! It is so easy to impress patients. It’s so bad out there we don’t even have to do much …”
He’s absolutely right.
You don’t have to do much.
How do I know? Well, I’m not a Physician but I am a Patient so I know exactly what it’s like to sit on the other side of the exam room. Worse yet, the waiting room.
If it sounds like we’re being harsh it’s only because I care. I care about what my Doctor says. I care about his/her words they speak into my health and life. After all, five words from my Doctor carry more weight than fifty words about ’em.
Unfortunately, in healthcare today there are a lot shared assumptions that cause us all to do the same things, the same way.
We spoke not too long ago with a medical professor who worked at some very well-known medical schools. She said ‘Michael, not only is it going to take an act of Congress to change how and what we teach [Doctors] in medical school … it will take an act of God.’
I think she’s right.
But, that shouldn’t deter or derail you or I from our mission and purpose of leaving healthcare better than it found us.
I learned something years ago which I’m going to share with you here today. Being a student of customer service strategies which are incorporated daily into sales and marketing training by the successful brands you and I both probably use … one of the ideas that stuck with me was that a uniquely better [experience] is often the byproduct of circumstances that successful organizations are trying to avoid.
Hmm. That begs the question, is a uniquely better patient experience a solution to a problem you might be trying to solve, especially when it comes to your reluctance possibly to finally start or enter concierge medicine?
Greystone Global recently wrote … Uniquely better will come along for every industry. Because somebody, somewhere, is messing with the prevailing model. The question is, will you (and your organization) be positioned to recognize it? Here are a few examples that come to mind that could be organizations who were positioned to recognize uniquely better. Is Starbucks coffee uniquely better? Are Apple products uniquely better? Is Amazon a uniquely better way of shopping? Is Uber uniquely better than a taxi? Is an ice bucket challenge a uniquely better way to fundraise? Is your culture ready to recognize uniquely better, or will it pass you by and will your organization be left behind?
Personally, as a Patient of a subscription-based program, a parent and a caregiver to aging parents, I am of the persuasion that concierge medicine as we know it today, not yesterday, serves an important purpose in our healthcare culture today. I believe that it exists to uplift the Patient and fosters a closer and deeper connection between the Patient and the Physician.
Tomorrow, more practices, more programs and more Physicians’ will learn that their job each day is to create a culture of gratitude for their Patients. They’ll create uniquely better patient experiences by incorporating customer service training strategies into every staff-patient tension point. The world outside of healthcare spends millions of dollars and thousands of hours each year training teams and individuals on customer service tactics. Concierge medicine knows this and is doing the same in a lot of practices out there. Hospitals, retail healthcare clinics, telehealth companies, executive healthcare programs and even specialty medicine practices are learning from what concierge medicine is doing and taking notes about the uniquely better patient experiences these doctors, practices and programs have and continue to curate.
In conclusion, if you’re considering moving into concierge medicine, here are four questions you should ask yourself, your spouse, your advisors and your most trusted team members. You’ll want to get as many unique perspectives about your practice and new patient experience program offering as possible so you’ll truly create something that will last and is in your opinion … uniquely better!
I’ll leave you with the four questions one speaker left the audience with not long ago at a conference called the Leadership Summit. And no, this wasn’t a healthcare conference. But oddly enough, we think the answers you may find if you just take the time to ask them … could change your practice [and healthcare] for the better!
- Is this unique?
- What would make it unique?
- Is it better?
- Is it better…really?