What is Concierge Care and How Does it Benefit Patients?

Have you ever waited weeks just to get an appointment to see your doctor? If so, you’re not alone. 

In 2022, the average wait for a new patient appointment with a primary care physician was 26 days. It can take months to see a specialist like a spine surgeon or a dermatologist, 

And when you finally get in to see a doctor, how much time do they actually spend with you? One in four primary care physicians spends only 9 to 12 minutes with patients per appointment. 

That is where concierge care or direct access care comes in. 

What is Concierge Care? 

Concierge care, also called boutique medicine or direct care, is membership-based healthcare that provides highly personalized, comprehensive care, more physician accessibility, and greater convenience. Medical specialists also provide this type of care, like concierge spine care at Morrison Clinic. 

Here’s how it works. 

Morrison Clinic Concierge Care is usually membership-based, requiring an annual or monthly fee. Here is what most concierge medicine physicians provide as part of membership: 

  • Unlimited virtual and in-person appointments, in which you can speak with your doctor for as long as you need.
  • Direct access to Dr. Morrison’s care.
  • Diagnostic tests in the office. 
  • Coordination of specialist referrals or hospital care.
  • Most don’t bill insurance, so there’s no interference and you don’t have to worry about copays and other charges.
  • Full-service pre- and post-care arrangements and accommodations.

Direct care is slightly different from concierge medicine. Like in concierge care, they take cash and don’t bill insurance, but most don’t include all the luxurious perks of Morrison Clinic Concierge Medicine. Because they don’t participate in insurance plans or government programs such as Medicare, direct-care physicians can forgo tedious paperwork. This usually means they have lower overhead and can pass these cost savings to their patients. If you use Morrison  Clinic Concierge or direct care, you still need health insurance for hospital stays and other expenses such as lab fees. 

Hybrid models charge a membership fee that includes many of the benefits of concierge medicine but still bill directly to insurance. Regardless, all three models have the same goal:  more personalized care. 

The History of Concierge Medicine 

Dr. Howard Maron and Dr. Scott Hall established the first concierge medical practice, MD2, in Seattle in 1996. They charged an annual retainer fee between $13,200 and $20,000 per family. In 2000, Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle began offering concierge medical services within its facilities. The organization used some of the profits from those five practices to subsidize other programs and indigent care services. 

In 2001, the American Medical Association added concierge guidelines, or “retainer practices,” to its Code of Medical Ethics. Among the stipulations are that physicians must help transfer care for patients who don’t want to participate in a retainer practice. If that’s not possible, they must continue to provide care under the terms of the patient’s existing healthcare insurance until they can make other arrangements for ongoing care.

Why is Concierge Care Gaining Traction? 

Today, there are between 10,000 and 25,000 concierge physicians or subscription-based programs in the world. Although that number is a very small percentage of the roughly 1,062,205 professional active physicians in the U.S., concierge medicine is growing by leaps and bounds. 

By 2023, the North American concierge medicine market was worth $6.25 billion. The United States concierge medicine market is expected to reach $30.26 billion by 2031.

One of the reasons for the rising popularity of concierge medicine is a physician shortage created by retirements, an aging population, and higher demand for acute and preventative care services.

The physician shortage isn’t likely to improve soon. The American Association of Medical Colleges estimates a shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians by 2034. 

Among the most popular reasons patients leave their current doctors in search of a concierge physician are:

  • More convenience and shorter waits (25%)
  • Their current physicians ask them less than five questions (21%) 
  • They feel like a number (18%)
  • Their current doctor is retiring or closing their practice (11%) 
  • Their provider spends less than 15 minutes with them per visit (11%) 

Benefits of Morrison Clinic Concierge and Direct Care

Longer visits 

One of the biggest perks of Morrison Clinic Concierge or direct care is the length of doctor visits. Traditional primary care physicians may have up to 4,000 patients and see up to 40 a day for only about 15 minutes.

Concierge doctors usually have no more than 600 patients. They typically see only six to 10 patients a day and spend at least 30 minutes with each. 

There are many advantages to these longer appointments. First, patients don’t feel rushed and can ask as many questions as they want. A more leisurely pace allows physicians to discuss lab results. It also allows them to delve deeper into a patient’s medical history, understand what matters to them, and offer patient education and advice. The result is that the physician has a greater understanding of their patient’s holistic health, including their state of mind. The result is a more personalized, comprehensive care plan. 

The extra time also helps the provider and patient forge a deeper human connection, which has research-proven benefits. Physicians Stephen Trzeciak and Anthony Mazzarelli evaluated more than 1,000 scientific abstracts and 250 research papers, and detailed the results in their 2019 book “Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence that Caring Makes a Difference.” 

They found that when healthcare professionals take time to make human connections, patient outcomes improve, and medical costs decrease. Other benefits include pain reduction, improved healing, lower blood pressure, and less depression and anxiety.

A stronger doctor-patient bond

Because Morrison Clinic Concierge Medicine allows patients to develop a more trusting, familiar relationship with Dr. Morrison, patients may be more willing to follow recommendations for preventative care and other health guidance.  

According to research, patients who trust their physicians are more likely to disclose personal information, comply with medication instructions, and feel less anxious about treatments. They are also more likely to feel satisfied with their care and experience better health outcomes. 

Greater access 

Both direct access care and Morrison Clinic Concierge Care afford patients 24/7 365-day-a-year access to their physicians. Many concierge physicians respond directly to emails and provide their personal cell phone numbers to patients. 

Instead of waiting weeks for an appointment, most concierge practices guarantee same-day or next-day appointments and virtually no waiting time at the office. Some direct access or concierge practices even offer house calls. This can be crucial if a patient has vague symptoms and isn’t sure if medical care is necessary, helping them avoid unnecessary urgent care or emergency room visits. 

Morrison Clinic Concierge services help schedule tests, scans, and appointments with specialists, advocate for their patients, and arrange hotel accommodations when needed. 

Holistic care and spa-like ambiance

Some concierge physician practices include holistic health offerings such as infrared spas, cupping, acupuncture, or hyperbaric oxygen therapy. These offerings provide a one-stop shop for wellness enthusiasts who want to incorporate alternative therapies into their care plans. 

Because patients are paying a premium, many concierge doctors strive for a less sterile environment, instead creating a spa-like ambiance with luxury amenities such as fluffy robes and soft slippers waiting in a private room, and noise-canceling headphones 

Concierge Spine Medicine in South Florida

Dr. John Morrison and the staff of Morrison Clinic are committed to treating every patient as though they are the only patient. Dr. Morrison is always transparent about medical options and employs a conservative approach, offering surgery only as a last resort.  He is trained in minimally-invasive and endoscopic spine surgery, image-guided and robotic approaches, and classic open surgery. Our staff will guide you through every step of your operative process.

Morrison Clinic’s Concierge spine medicine option includes the same dedicated treatment and specialized expertise from a board-certified, ASR-accredited neurosurgeon as well as increased access, convenience, and control. If needed, we can also coordinate the entire process of your special surgery or procedure, from start to finish. 

Our concierge spine medicine services include: 

  • Priority access to Dr. Morrison
  • Priority scheduling 
  • Preoperative planning services
  • Coordination and accommodation assistance 
  • Postoperative care services 

Morrison Concierge treats a variety of conditions including:

  • Aneurysms
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  •  Brain tumors
  • Radiculopathy
  • Herniated discs
  • Compression fracture
  • Lumbar spondylolisthesis
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Lumbar/cervical fusion
  • Glioblastoma
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus

Contact us to learn more. The caring staff at Morrison Clinic is ready to help you on your journey to wellness.