During a historic time of change within the healthcare sector, most notably the passage of the $938 billion Affordable Care Act (ACA), which will reduce healthcare spending by $138 billion according to the independent Congressional Budget Office, doctors are feeling new pressures. As the Physician Administrator for Evanston Northwestern Healthcare (now NorthShore University HealthSystem Highland Park Hospital) for more than ten years, I saw this first hand. Just think, a single physician routinely sees 1,500 to 2,000 patients in one year’s time, and the average time spent with a patient is now reduced to about 7 minutes and dropping (that includes time spent with the nurse as they take vital signs). With reimbursements being slashed and the number of chronic patients at 145 million, doctors today are expected to do so much more in less time. This is one of the main drivers for many primary care physicians and even some specialists to look for another way. They want to practice medicine the way they believe it should be…as they imagined it would be when they first graduated from medical school.
Concierge/personalized care practices have continually been gaining traction over the past decade. Personalized medicine means true consumer medicine – for patients, it means little or no office waiting, more face-to-face time with their own doctor, prompt return of phone calls, important additional services not covered by their insurance and a renewed sense of personal connection between patient and doctor. For the physician, it means having more time and resources exclusively dedicated to patient care rather than to the “business” of modern medicine. Now more than ever, physicians are exploring their options as they navigate through new legislation and our country’s ever evolving healthcare system. They are not giving up on medicine. Rather they’ve given up on a broken system and created their own – one that that works for them, for their staff, and most importantly for their patients.
Roberta Greenspan is the Founder of Specialdocs Consultants, Inc., a medical practice consulting firm dedicated to converting traditional medical practices to “personalized care or concierge” models.
To hear Roberta Greenspan and Michael Friedlander on the Concierge Revolution, click here.