(Find out if it comes into your crosshairs, doctor.)
Our resistance to change of medical business strategies isn’t the only problem. But, it may be the biggest one. You’ll have to admit escaping the sharp edge of the government sword is a tribulation of serious consequence for your family, your career, and your expectations in life. It’s clearly evident that sooner or later every physician in the private practice of medicine in this country will find themselves cornered by governmental fee restrictions, increasing medical practice rules and regulations, personal lack of fulfillment, demoralizing financial constipation, among others.
For most physicians and other health care providers who prefer to remain in control of their own business goal objectives, their goal worksheet will require new business strategies. The need for a medical small business focus even a life career change which offers you a satisfactory path towards your ambitions in life, is part of an overall implementation of a unique medical business development strategy outside of governmental control. Could that be…oh no…don’t say it…concierge practice (also called boutique or retainer practice)?
Definition: It’s a private medical practice in which a physician(s) intentionally devotes much greater time to each individual patient’s care and needs, is able to provide a patient with a higher quality of healthcare and service which extended time with the patient allows, and a medical care provided with patient convenience and optimum health in mind.
Now, I did it! I exposed your mind to a rag-tag fringe of medical practice. You must agree that most physicians consider boutique medical practice a last resort, a modification of a career path way too extreme to consider, and is frequently thought of as a losing game. Increasing reports of successful concierge practices pop-up occasionally in the media, usually in the primary care physician’s turf.
Concierge Medicine is also known as direct care, membership medicine, boutique medicine, retainer-based medicine, concierge health care, cash only practice, direct primary care, and direct practice medicine.
The fact that concierge practice has so many name labels brings this infrequently subscribed to method of medical practice into the medical arena dominated by the professional medical hierarchy who by their empowerment are able to neglect, squelch, brow-beat, and disregard this method of practice.
They do this not because concierge physicians aren’t highly qualified and trained medical doctors who abide by every professional standard, but because of the business system entrenched in concierge practices. What is it about medical practice business methods that they dislike?
Is it illegal or unethical in the real business world to ask for cash for services? Is medical practice in fact a recognized small business entity, survives only because of business principles, and allows a vendor in any business to charge what their services are worth in their own view? As a business, medical practice is permitted by our government to even take on a legal business structure approved by the government.
A physician has the business advantage of using incorporation, LLC, partnership or other business components. Our government supports concierge practice, at least the business side of medical practice.
As an indication of the distaste (maybe there’s a better word) organized medicine leadership appears to have for concierge medical practice is quite obvious. The AMA, American Medical Association, which for years has kept contemporaneous records of professional medical services and physician activity, has yet to see fit to recognize concierge medicine as worthy of record keeping, and, by doing so avoids legitimizing that practice method in the eyes of everyone.
The media also dwells on the negative side of concierge practice by articles focusing on how so many concierge physicians practices fail-financially. What does your own specialty college tell you about concierge medicine? If they can connect it to some ethical or moral issue, they’ll bring that to your attention-otherwise they are usually silent.
Now that we have a socialized mandate for medical practice in law, one would think that the option physicians have for private practice survival in this environment is logically towards the establishment of concierge medical practices. The only practical alternative to concierge practice is for private physicians to become extensively involved in establishing a business system in their practices comparable to other successful businesses (most physicians today do not know what that is).
Beyond that, physicians will be forced to learn and implement effective marketing strategies for their business success and financial survival. Can you visualize your future in medicine?
These facts and statistics may improve your concierge practice outlook:
A truly entrepreneurial physician mindset to achieve goals is already branded into your brain and personality-otherwise you wouldn’t be a physician or reading this today. Think about it. Were you already taking a risk when you thought you could get into medical school? There… you just stepped outside of your comfort zone…right?
Anyone who has a creative mind open to possibilities can visualize future pictures of them self as a success and is willing to work outside their own comfort zone, is a true entrepreneur. In that special environment, you will be amazed at what your brain can do for you at light-speed.
Under the keyword “concierge medical practice” Google search spits out 726,000 references, so there must be a bit of interest about the topic. VIP/Concierge Medical Practice, a prominent teaching and training organization for concierge health care professionals, reports that there are over 800 concierge medical practices in the USA and they expect that number to rise significantly in view of the increasing numbers of patients frustrated and disappointed with the delivery of medical care as it is presently.
And, patient frustrations are not just with the private practice doctors, but also the HMO’s and PPO’s.
(Continued in Part 2 — Concierge practice comparisons and models)
The author, Curt Graham, M.D., an experienced physician, author, and marketer with expertise in medical practice business and marketing strategies, is an expert author and motivator for professionals in the business world. He is a platinum expert author with EzineArticles.com and has been published in Modern Physician and elsewhere.
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