Home > Medicine and Medical > What is Concierge Medicine?

What is Concierge Medicine?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 1 Dec 2014 | comments*Discuss
Concierge Medicine Premium Physicians

Concierge medicine is a relatively new concept in healthcare but it is a rapidly growing one. While it has not yet taken off in the UK, it is becoming more and more popular in the United States.

Since it is quite new, it also comes with a variety of names – concierge medicine being the key one but it is also referred to as retainer medicine. Still some use the term ‘premium practice’ to represent the shared foundation for all these new terms. To define the concept simply, one could say that concierge medicine involves accepting an annual fee from patients for additional, special services.

Why Physicians Choose Concierge Medicine

Although we frequently see physicians as rich people with a lavish lifestyle, this is not the obvious case. A physician today is not necessarily getting sufficient reimbursement for their services and their costs are also higher.

These costs will include those related to running an office, which includes all administrative functions. Depending on the country where a physician works and the healthcare model in that region, he or she may have additional costs related to obtaining payment directly from patients.

Value Added Medical Services

Concierge medicine provides a way for a doctor to maintain or enhance their earnings without putting in excessive, additional, long hours to an already full schedule. Instead, they provide a significantly higher offering to a niche group of patients. This offering typically involves special, premium services that are accessible when the patients pay an annual fee. This kind of relationship is typically ideal primarily for GPs and other practitioners who see their patients regularly on a long-term basis. Here, patients will usually want sustained, quality healthcare.

Services Offered to Patients

The services offered to patients vary but can include a range of high-standard services. They may have an exclusive reception area that is quieter or they may get priority service when they need medical attention. Some physicians offer enhanced service access for non-office hours or house calls may be included in the package.

Other concierge physicians are offering more holistic services such as weight-loss programmes. Some concierge physicians may even have spa services included and a broad range of alternative therapies. The aim is to combine such services with the standard medical care that includes diagnostics and prescriptions medicines. Overall, the benefit to the patient is primarily that they receive more dedicated, fast and attentive service when they need it. The costs for such services can vary from a thousand pounds a year to five figure sums, depending very much on the breadth of services offered and the specific patient’s needs for healthcare.

Legal Considerations

The legal considerations for a physician offering concierge services are important. As the term is still a grey one and not clearly defined, there is room for ethical mishaps. In places such as the UK, these kinds of services are not really concierge ones from a primary care NHS physician. Rather, they would likely be private health insurance providers offering add-on services that patients then pay for each year.

Overall, any physician who wants to offer concierge services must carefully ensure that the contract with the patient is clearly defined and understood by the patient. A physician must also ensure that he or she is always acting within the national guidelines for medicine in terms of patient access and priority for medical care.

Other Considerations in Concierge Medicine

Concierge medicine can bring many benefits for patients and physicians alike. Implementing the special services, however, can bring some complications and the onus is on the physician to ensure the process is a transparent, legal and ethical one.

Some people still do not support this style of medicine because they believe it is another way in which the ‘rich’ have a healthcare advantage over the poor. While the implementation must be clear, the overall acceptance of such practices is fraught with debate and controversy.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I want to start up a medical concierge business I would really appreciate your advice
Ros - 1-Dec-14 @ 9:49 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Jen
    Re: Work as a Travel Nurse
    Hello - are there any similar avenues for physiotherapists? Thanks!
    24 January 2021
  • Jacob
    Re: Work in Respiratory Therapy
    Hi to work in the field of respiratory therapy you have to have a physiotherapy degree or be able to convert to a physiotherapy…
    8 January 2021
  • JHN280419
    Re: Working in Health Economics
    I have a BSc in Public Health. Will a diploma in economics suffice to pursue this Masters qualification? Or should I pursue a…
    4 January 2021
  • Mary
    Re: Work in Respiratory Therapy
    I am a Respiratory Therapist in Philippines. How would I be able to apply for a job here in UK? People do not seems know and…
    12 December 2020
  • Judy
    Re: Unions for Health Workers
    I work for a selfish private company that are taking advantage of my lack of experience and the fact they don’t see me because I work…
    7 December 2020
  • Craig
    Re: A Career as a Surgical Technologist
    I'm a Certified Surgical Tech with 10 years experience and 1 as a service lead in Spine. I'm looking to work in either…
    30 November 2020
  • Ara
    Re: Pharmaceutical Brand Manager
    i have to attend an interview for post of Brand Manager of Pharmaceutical company after two days, Can you help me to upgrade my…
    9 November 2020
  • Sid
    Re: Working in Ocular Prosthetics
    Dear Health career, I hope you’re taking care in these difficult times. I am reaching out to find out if there’s job…
    8 November 2020
  • Webbie
    Re: Unions for Health Workers
    I work as an Activities / Lifestyle co-ordinator for a care home in Richmond. During the recent lockdown my job role has become even…
    7 November 2020
  • Hiba
    Re: A Career as a Surgical Technologist
    Hi. Im surgical technologist. And i have 4 years experience. Im looking for emigrate to uk. How i can do process?
    21 October 2020