Why concierge doctors result in financial payoffs for healthcare technology businesses

With increasing ER wait times, patient totals and round-the-clock hours, doctors are transforming from their traditional roles in a private practice or...

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|Apr 3|magazine5 min read

With increasing ER wait times, patient totals and round-the-clock hours, doctors are transforming from their traditional roles in a private practice or hospital setting to embracing the old fashioned idea of concierge doctors. The switch has resulted in the utilization of numerous mHealth trends and doctors are seeing the pay offs from things like telemedicine, mHealth patient/doctor communication apps and EHR/EMR technology. Some of the advantages of adopting this new doctor trend is seen in its intrinsic benefits for physicians and the quality of care being received by their patients.

A case study of Dr. Ivan Castro of Winter Park by MedCity News stated the physician’s transformation from private practice physician with over 3,000 patients to a concierge doctor with 400 patients. The transition from spending 10 minutes per patient to 30 min per 400 patients has been rewarding not only in terms of patient care, but in terms of Dr. Castro’s intrinsic rewards in genuinely helping others.

"I was constantly running behind to see the next patient and had to focus more on paperwork than on patient care," recalls Castro, 52.

That year, Castro changed his practice to the concierge model: Patients pay a retainer fee to their primary doctor -- usually $100 to $200 a month -- in exchange for round-the-clock access, quick appointments and more attention.

Now "I really feel like a doctor and that I'm making a difference," said Castro, who went from having more than 3,000 patients with whom he spent about 10 minutes per appointment to 400 patients where he averages 30 minutes for each appointment.

From a 2012 survey of U.S. physicians by Merritt Hawkins, almost 7 percent of doctors stated that they were currently considering the switch. Florida totaled the most interested number of doctors, with nine out of 10 doctors openly admitting to consider the change into concierge medicine.

Although the benefits are numerous and advantageous to both parties in different ways, there are negative factors which could deter patients from enlisting a concierge doctor. With the doctor shortage already being a hot topic of conversation within the industry, patients worry about hospital visits and other costly unforeseen measures when foregoing the traditional medical route. Will concierge doctors be the future of healthcare? Would you feel comfortable making the transition from traditional medical practice to enlisting a concierge doctor?