Introduction … To Concierge Medicine and Direct Primary Care (DPC)
By Michael Tetreault, Editor
Despite the high-powered executives using concierge medicine, executives of all ages and backgrounds are not the most popular demographic searching for these types of medical doctors across America today.
According to an two year survey of actual concierge medicine patients from across America by The Concierge Medicine Research Collective, it reveals that top-level executives account for less than 4% of the concierge medicine patients across America searching for this type of healthcare.
With the number of consultants out there saying that these doctors should gear their marketing efforts towards executives and that a significant number of practices are comprised of this clientele, any physician should come to the obvious conclusion that this audience is not necessarily their primary market.
So, if it’s not executives who are searching for this type of care, who is looking for this type of healthcare delivery model and service?
- 49% of all concierge medicine physician searches by people received online are for Individual plans;
- 23% of all concierge medicine physician searches received are for a Couple, with no children;
- 21% of all concierge medicine physician searches received are for Families, with children;
- 4% of all concierge medicine physician searches received are for Business Owners/Top Executives;
- 3% – Allowable Margin of Error +/- 3%.
As many people are aware, this type of boutique medicine or direct relationship medical practice delivery model concept is still relatively new. The greatest amount of data compiled to date on the loyalty or renewal rates of concierge medicine patients year after year tells us that these practices have an annual renewal rate of about 94.7%. Additionally, these types of practices are mainly considered Hybrid concierge medicine business models, which means these doctors and their offices accept insurance and charge an annual retainer fee to their patients for enhanced access. This number is based on data from approximately 100,000 patients nationally. These retention figures have proven consistent since the year 2000.
Long term data on these particular kinds of patients is currently being compiled but data supporting the cost effectiveness and affordability of these healthcare models is intriguing. According to various physician journals, a patient will remain a patient of a traditional primary care doctor in a typical family practice or general medicine practice, barring an altering event (like a geographic move, death, loss of job, or other unforeseen circumstance) for 5-7 years.
Based upon the data listed above, it appears that retainer medicine or boutique physicians that have a long, relational-history with their patients are reporting higher retention levels that exceed traditional primary care and family practice expectations. This data combined with the fact that this model of medicine provides for closer communication and relationship with people — we expect that the majority of patients will continue to remain with a retainer-based practitioner even longer than seven (7) years.
“I find the service from practices working with insurance is too fast paced and lacking focus.”
–Kate in Maryland
“Our family finally found a better way to manage healthcare and costs.”
–Hanna in Minnesota
“I want price transparency and more time with my doctor.”
–Alan in California
“Looking for better solution than typical big hospital practice.”
–Patrick in Texas
The information provided here gives more evidence that these types of medical practices are not just for the deep-pocketed executive. In fact, we have recently learned that over 50% of these types of healthcare consumers make a combined household income of less than $100,000 per year.
All of this data should be very encouraging to the public, as well as the practicing physician anywhere in America. This concept, initially thought of by many as healthcare for the rich — is now accessible and very affordable for couples, seniors on Medicare, young families and individuals.
Recent research has found that it can be difficult to find a concierge doctor or a direct primary care physician rural areas such as: Idaho; North Dakota; South Dakota; Louisiana and Mississippi. In many cases, there are less than half-a-dozen practitioners to serve an entire state.
Most doctors office are located in metropolitan areas such as Miami, FL, Phoenix, AZ and Los Angeles, CA to name a few. However, it’s a little known fact that over 63 percent of people who use direct primary care doctors and join concierge medicine clinics earn between $40,000 to $200,000 per year. Those are individuals, one couple households and families with children. This unequivocally shows that this form of healthcare is affordable to the masses and available to people in major metropolitan centers and surrounding suburbs. It says to local communities, ‘we’re coming to your town so please come check us out. We’ll be open for business in a location near you very soon.’
Since the mid-1990′s, states like California and Florida have seen the greatest amount of physicians actively opening and using these new business models. For most of the country, direct primary care and concierge medicine practices are growing and that growth is rapidly expanding in major metropolitan suburbs as well.
Large networks of doctors who have modeled their medical practice after these business strategies have claimed a significant portion of the market share and thus help to keep prices from inflating too high in major metropolitan markets.
Overall, concierge medicine is thriving in metropolitan markets with the majority of incomes remaining the same or increasing slightly. It has been estimated that concierge medicine and direct care physicians number approximately 5,000-5,5000 physicians and/or physician clinics across the U.S.
- The top 4 most popular specialties in concierge medicine are: primary care; family medicine; cardiology and pediatrics.
- The majority of concierge doctors (approximately 25%) earn between $200,000 – $300,000 per year.
- The typical age of concierge doctor is between 40-59 years of age.
- Most concierge doctors and direct primary care physicians treat six to eight patients per day.
- Female concierge doctors fill up their concierge practices 30% faster than men.
Career satisfaction in the field among physicians also remains high. Only 18% of physicians stated they would not make the same decision again. In previous years, it was 25% but even so, the number overall is low and satisfaction with the business model is high when compared to traditional, insurance-based or managed care medical specialties.
If you’d like to find a medical home, concierge physician or direct primary care and direct pay physician in your area or simply learn more about them, you will want to visit http://www.ConciergeMedicineToday.com or http://www.DirectPrimaryCare.com.