A growing number of doctors are ditching the status quo and having an entirely different business model: being boutique doctors.
In fact, a survey of 862 independent physicians found nearly half are choosing a switch to concierge medicine. This new business model is an increasingly popular practice model, and it’s not going away anytime soon.
But what are boutique doctors? What does switching to this new practice model does, exactly, and how do you know whether it’s for you or not?
Concierge medicine, also called boutique or retainer medicine, is a new type of practice management that offers numerous benefits. These include:
- Cutting back number of patients physicians need to see in a day
- Extremely Improving personalized care
- Greatly reducing physician burnout
What Is Concierge Medicine?
The easiest way to explain what concierge medicine will be discussed and how it differs from traditional practice models. Here are some of the major differences:
Payment: Patients pay a fixed membership fee in advance for medical services. According to Tom Blue, executive director of the American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP), this fee ranges from $50 a month to $25,000 a year, with $135 to $150 per month being the average.
Insurance: Blue estimates about 75 per cent of boutique doctors applies for insurance, while the remaining have cash-only practices.
Patient panel: Boutique doctors usually have 80-90 per cent fewer patients under the concierge model compared to more normal practices. The average concierge practice will have 500 to 1,000 total patients, according to Blue.
Physician access: This decrease inpatient count gives boutique doctors to promise same-day or next-day appointments, 24/7 access and longer examination times.
Additional perks: A lot of concierge physicians offer incentives, such as house calls, nutritional counseling, emergency room visits and executive-level annual exams.
Concierge doctor salaries are usually the same as their colleagues’ income.
Keep in mind that the amount of income you earn depends on how many concierge patients you serve. Some people choose to turn their entire practice into a concierge format. This is often referred to as the “full” model. It allows doctors to work at a slower pace because their revenue per patient is significantly higher.
Other doctors may prefer to implement a “hybrid” concierge model: The practice keeps operating in the normal manner, but several hours a week are blocked off to care for a percentage of the practice’s concierge patients.
This is particularly great for doctors who fear their salary will take a hit if they convert to concierge overnight without having enough membership fees to cover costs and make a living.
Although changing to concierge practice may not result in a huge salary increase, it can lead to possible cost savings. Since you’ll have fewer patients, you may be able to operate more effectively with lesser staff or smaller office space.
Software to Support Concierge Practices
Those choosing to use concierge care will find that it’s a good time to re-evaluate their workflows and invest in new or upgraded health IT tools. Below are some types of applications that can optimize concierge model operations and examples of highly-rated software vendors to use and choose from.
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
Every physician would benefit from digitizing their patient’s evaluations, but concierge practices have unique incentives to go paperless.
EHRs makes documenting patient’s condition easier over time, so you can provide them with accurate, detailed and comprehensive clinical documentation that supports your recommendations for their health plan.
Since patients are usually paying for more customized services and will need greater access to this documentation, it is extremely smarter to invest in an electronic system to meet the said expectations.
Medical Billing Software
Medical billing software automates the collections process for your office. Some solutions are surprisingly well-suited for concierge practices because they usually provide helpful functionalities, such as generating pre-collection letters, a compilation of all payment plan patients and conducting a report to calculate outstanding bills and balances.
The value of concierge medicine from the patient’s point of view is that they get to feel a genuine level of accessibility to, and attention from their doctor. Patient websites provide a platform or a messaging tool which doctors and patients can securely exchange messages, schedule appointments and review medical notes any time of the day.
Key Takeaways on Boutique Doctors
Concierge medicine can be a great option for physicians who are ready for a change of pace thanks to the smaller patient panel and reduced dependence on insurance reimbursements.