What is a Hybrid Concierge Practice?
In the fast-paced and demanding world of healthcare, independent physicians are overburdened. They need to meet the demands of an increased patient load along with administrative reporting and regulations. These three factors contribute to burnout which impacts the quality of healthcare provided. Furthermore, patients want a deeper and higher quality of relationship with their doctor, with increased access and ample time in consultations. The hybrid concierge model is an excellent solution for patients that want this type of relationship, and physicians that want to deliver on these demands. This model also addresses the drawbacks of a pure concierge medical practice.
Concierge Medicine Pros and Cons
- Increased access to physicians round the clock
- Virtual correspondence within the comfort of home
- Coordinated care from doctors and specialists
- Membership fees are high, this is an out of pocket cost
- This is not a substitute for insurance. You can expect out of pocket costs for additional services like consultations with specialists, prescriptions, and visits to the hospital
- There is limited insurance cooperation
- Concierge doctors are limited in number. If you do have one, there is a chance he or she may not be able to take on more patients
Is Concierge Medicine right for you?
You can decide that based on the pros and cons listed above. If you are still on the fence about the concierge medicine model, you can opt for the hybrid concierge practice model.
Hybrid Concierge Medicine Models
Hybrid concierge practices have been designed to allow established physicians to practice concierge medicine while also retaining their current patients, and the steady flow of income generated on account of insurance payments. It combines traditional and concierge programs. Concierge practices rely on membership fees paid by the patient which are bracketed between hundreds to thousands of dollars per month.
In a pure concierge medical practice, there is no room for insurance payments and patient volume is low which reduces the stress of billing, reimbursement, and sticking to insurance guidelines and policies. Physicians can attend to patients as they please, taking the time needed to carry out in-depth consultations. The hybrid concierge model combines these practices, while also providing patients with alternative options. Patients can switch to membership-based concierge medicine if they want to. Current patients can continue with their physician even if they opt for a different payment option.
In general, all patients receive the same level of care. However, patients who have opted for the concierge service have longer consultations with their doctor, and experience higher levels of convenience in terms of scheduling their visits – on short notices – and communicating with their doctors. They may have a direct line of communication which helps alleviate any concerns they have easily. Essentially, the hybrid concierge practice is the best of both worlds for the doctor, his practice, and the patient.
Benefits for Physicians and Practices
The hybrid concierge practice model is a practical solution for physicians and practices as it reaps long-term benefits. There are five main benefits to opting for this alternate healthcare model:
- Participation is entirely optional: individual patients can choose to opt for it if it suits them. If they don’t, physicians do not have to give up these patients to practice. Furthermore, not all practicing physicians need to participate in this model.
- Participation from small numbers of patients in the patient population is beneficial: less than 10% participation from patients in the population makes it worthwhile for practices because they can carry out services more effectively when attending to a small volume of patients.
- Since hybrid concierge models continue to accept insurance, they have a continued relationship with hospitals and specialist practices for referrals: Insurance also acts as a source of revenue. In addition to this, the model provides a revenue source that is under the direct control of practices and is not subject to reimbursement rates and coding as is typical with insurances.
- The physician can practice medicine in a relaxed manner as they would like to: they can give personalized care to their patients easily.
- The model can be used as a stepping stone to converting into full concierge practice if the doctors want to.
- There is a higher quality of care provided from practices as there is more time allocated for consultations and communication.
- Burnouts are decreased due to less paperwork and filing on account of insurances. Productivity also increases.
- Time isn’t an issue anymore, because it isn’t a limiting factor. A fast-paced day slows down, and physicians get respite. For example, in primary care physicians may see 4 patients per hour, while in concierge medicine they may only attend to two – with little to no impact on income.
- Higher level of compensation for practices as they are not affected by reimbursement rates or coding.