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These organizations are reinventing the concierge medicine model. Here's what makes them different—and what it means for you.

December 11, 2018

    You're probably familiar with traditional concierge medicine programs, where patients pay a fee to get access to coveted services such as 24/7 physician availability or same-day appointments.

    However, fewer strategists realize that recently, the concierge medicine landscape has been diversifying. Innovative programs have evolved their models to appeal to additional patient groups while still delivering on their main value proposition: convenient and customizable care.

    Traditional concierge medicine practices operate in primary care and target patients who are willing to pay a large premium for VIP-level service. As such, they are generally limited in size and scope. Several new practices, however, are increasing consumer access to concierge care by lowering retainer fees and utilizing mainstream consumer platforms. Other practices are shifting their scope of services by tailoring their offerings to the needs of specific patient segments.

    Here's how two types of next-generation concierge medicine practices have used these tactics to attract more patients—and what you can learn from their models. 

    Virtual concierge medicine

    Several organizations have begun bringing concierge care to a wider population of patients by reducing cost barriers.

    For example, SteadyMD has embraced digital technologies to deliver personalized primary care services online and at affordable prices. SteadyMD is able to serve a large patient base while still offering a customized care experience by segmenting its target population and using a care management strategy.

    Patients who sign up for a membership are matched to a doctor based on personal characteristics, interests, and goals. During the initial virtual consults, physicians aim to gain a comprehensive understanding of their patients by reviewing their medical records, discussing their health and lifestyle patterns in detail, and performing necessary health screenings. SteadyMD physicians then become their patients’ dedicated care managers by regularly monitoring their health through the combined virtual visit and remote monitoring platform, serving as their go-to contact for future care needs, and referring them to in-person providers as needed.

    What does this mean for me? To compete with concierge practices that are appealing to a wider primary care market, implement strategies to expand access to your primary and urgent care services. For example, offer virtual visit options for low-acuity conditions, enable patient-to-provider messaging through your patient portal, or regularly engage with patients through a remote monitoring platform for chronic disease management.

    Population-focused concierge medicine

    Other organizations are targeting subsets of the primary care market that traditional concierge practices do not reach.

    ChenMed, for instance, operates clinics specifically for low-income seniors with complex, chronic conditions who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. ChenMed's services cater to this population's need for enhanced access, convenience, and personalized care. In addition to providing the basic benefits of concierge medicine, such as increased physician availability and longer in-person visits, ChenMed clinics offer door-to-door transportation, on-site labs and pharmacies, access to a wide range of specialists, and a customized EHR designed for chronically ill patients.

    These innovative tactics have improved patient medication adherence, reduced hospital admissions and ED utilization, and increased patient satisfaction, proving ChenMed's success in managing the health of a high-risk population under risk-based payment.         

    What does this mean for me? To protect your market share from population-focused concierge practices, differentiate your services based on the needs of key population segments. Explore the primary care preferences of different demographic groups in your market using our On-Demand Primary Care Preferences Explorer.

    As concierge medicine programs become more affordable and specialized, they are reaching new patient segments and posing a competitive threat to traditional primary care providers. To protect their market share, health system planners will need to find ways to offer the value-added benefits of concierge medicine that consumers have come to expect.


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