Concierge medical practice refers to a private form of practice where the patients are charged an out-of-pocket retainer fee for accessing the doctor’s services. In these practices the doctors generally bypass the insurance companies to provide the personalized healthcare services and charge a flat fee (membership and consulting) on a monthly or annual basis. These practices are turning out to be a relief to several doctors as against traditional care policies, majorly governed by the insurance providers and the government regulations. Furthermore this kind of practice renders fewer patients coupled with increased income in comparison with conventional medical practices. The primary care services or concierge medical practices render a comprehensive primary care including the basic medication, laboratory tests, follow-up visits in person or even by emails or over the phone.
The retainer fee varies from practice to practice; for instance, retainer fee at one of the leading concierge networks would cost around US$ 1,700 to US$ 1,800 annually. On the other hand the insurance through the Affordable Care Act would cost around US $307 (approx.) per month accounting for around US $3,600 per annum). Although the concierge medicine memberships does not cover all the treatment areas as compared to Obamacare plans and other insurance policies, but the difference in the treatment costs is increasingly attracting the large number of consumers. Travel medicine assistance, private health advisories, and private physician practice constitutes some of the business models of concierge healthcare. Concierge medical practice or concierge healthcare practices are predominant in developed economies specifically in the U.S. On the other hand in developing economies this practice is yet to gain a foothold as this is majorly dependent on the type of the healthcare systems and insurance policies.
In the U.S., concierge medical practices are governed by the concierge medical companies operating through a subscription based model. The use of mobile apps by the primary care physicians is also increasing in order to keep a track of their patients’ vital health parameters. Alliance Concierge Care, Atlas MD, MDVIP, One Medical Group, Qliance Medical Group of Washington PC and LifescapePremier represent some of the key market players offering concierge medical practices. Factors such as favorable healthcare policy permitting the direct primary care to be known as Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant insurance policy coupled with hassle free patient care and treatment drive the market growth. In addition, round the clock access to the primary care physician followed by quick service as compared to conventional and traditional practices will further enhance the acceptance of concierge medical practices in the developed economies. On the other hand, attracting new patients and retention of the existing patients is an ordeal task that might restrain the market growth. In addition, high initial cost of set-up along with high risk of doctors being dropped by commercial insurance providers might further hamper the market growth. The market presents lucrative opportunities for concierge based medical practices such as telehealth monitoring services along with the telemedicine technologies and platforms. These will initially gain predominance specifically in the developed economies as compared to developing economies with less stringent medical practices and the insurance policies.