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Will Subscription & Concierge Models Keep Physicians Independent?

Termed “A New Era in Healthcare” in a 2012 Accenture study, concierge and subscription based healthcare models are becoming the main focus of physicians overwhelmed with the costs of running a practice in the onset of health reform.

According to Accenture’s Physician Alignment Research, of the 61 percent of physicians who have chosen to seek employment, 87 percent maintained their chief concern was with “cost and expense of running a business.”

But many physicians, doing everything to avoid seeking employment, are finding there is opportunity in varying types of subscription based models. These models range from higher end concierge practices, where patients typically have 24/7 access to medical services to less expensive direct-pay subscription based services offering similar benefits as a concierge model on a scaled down basis.

In an article published on the Healthcare Blog titled Trickle Up Economics, Dr. Rob Lamberts boasts his practice’s success with the direct-pay concept. “It’s been a month since I started my new practice. We are up to nearly 150 patients now, and aside from the cost to renovate my building, our revenue has already surpassed our spending,” Dr. Lamberts writes. He describes the simplified accounting of his subscription based model as, “…so simple even a doctor can do it.”

Dr. Lamberts also makes a point to emphasize that the quality of care in his practice is not suffering. “I am trying to limit the rate of our growth so I can focus on building a system that won’t collapse under a higher patient volume.” He continues… “I left my old practice because I needed to get off of the hamster wheel of healthcare; the last thing I want to do now is to build my own hamster wheel.”

Accenture suggests that employing these mixed models benefits patients by allowing them to keep their existing health insurance for emergencies, but supplement their healthcare with direct pay care giving them more convenient access to preventative and routine services.

Physicians transitioning into these models are no longer faced with the pressure of meeting specific numbers or dealing with the hassles of government based programs and are better able to focus on care.

Doctor of Computers