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Concierge Care Frees Physicians From Exhausting Schedule

Concierge Care Frees Physicians From Exhausting Schedule

As always, this year's Great American Physician Survey was quite interesting.  One question in particular stood out from the others. "Would you consider going part-time?"  A whopping 63 percent of physician respondents said yes. 

With the majority of doctors reporting they work well over 40 hours per week, that so many would like to dramatically scale back is really not a surprise. Unfortunately, more than half the respondents also said they can't afford to sacrifice anything in order to work less. This is a familiar refrain. The physicians we work with say it all the time—they cannot do anything to risk their revenue. They are working more and more hours just to keep their practice stable, they have staff that relies on them, and so introducing a new practice model that could leave them vulnerable to a reduction in earnings is a non-starter.

But what if there was a way for a physician to maintain their income (or even grow it) and work fewer hours? Or work at a more pleasant pace?  What if a physician didn't have to sacrifice anything in order to work less?

Physicians who are closer to the end of their career have found great success in concierge models that allow them to maintain their revenue but reduce their pace. These older doctors have historically been more willing take a risk and convert their practice to concierge because the pace of their practice was not sustainable anymore. It was a risk worth taking, since the alternative was to retire early. With a full model concierge program, many of these doctors were able to maintain (or even increase) their revenue while substantially reducing the number of hours they worked, or dramatically slowing their pace. 

But, what about younger doctors? Many of whom have families and responsibilities outside of their medical practice? These younger doctors are being stretched thin too. For many, the visions of half-day Fridays on the golf course are but a dream, an old idea of physician lifestyle from days gone by.  Only 23 percent of doctors say they work less than 40 hours. Almost 50 percent report working more than 51 hours per week! Something has to give for these doctors, too. They deserve time with their families, time for community pro-bono work, and time for research and continuing education.  

There is a way for these doctors to carve out more time in their schedule without opening them up to risk. Hybrid concierge models have been around for more than a decade. They allow a physician to offer their patients the option of joining a concierge program. Typically, a very small percentage of the practice joins—usually about eight percent.  This small number, however, adds up to a big difference in revenue and practice pace. The program plugs the holes left in declining reimbursements and increasing overhead. It allows physicians to take a breather from the pressure of volume care. It means doctors can schedule their day with some space and freedom. Their income isn't entirely dependent on visit after visit. Instead, they have a new revenue source they can count on, that is privately funded by loyal patients who appreciate them.

Because the doctor does not dismiss any patients from the practice, there is no risk. There is only opportunity—how much depends on the success of the doctor's program. A doctor who is wildly successful will see an impressive spike in their revenue. A doctor who is not as successful will simply see a smaller increase to their revenue. 

 
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