Part one of a two-part recap of the 2023 Concierge Medicine Forum in Atlanta.
Amidst a backdrop of surging interest nationwide in the personalized care practice model, Terry Bauer, along with a number of Specialdocs-affiliated physicians, were featured speakers at our industry’s signature event in October, the Concierge Medicine Forum (CMF). Over the past decade, attendance at this annual gathering of medical experts and influential thought leaders has continued to grow, and 2023’s record numbers are a clear indication of just how rapidly concierge medicine is shifting into the mainstream.
For thousands of physicians and their patients across the country, the status quo of 10-minute office visits and cursory, impersonal care has become untenable. The contrast with concierge medicine – defined by smaller patient panels, unrushed appointments, focus on prevention and wellness, and time to develop meaningful, enduring physician-patient relationships - has never been more evident.
As CMF organizer and host Michael Tetrault told attendees: "I have hope for the future because of concierge medicine. It’s imperative that we do something different because doctors (in traditional practice) have a reputation problem. In a recent national poll, almost eight out of every 10 patients said they would not care if their doctor’s office closed tomorrow…they didn’t have a relationship with their doctor, and their visits lasted less than 10 minutes. So thank you for what you’re doing as concierge doctors. It matters so much.”
He added: “We are honored to work with pioneers like Specialdocs who have long shared our belief that concierge medicine is no longer about being the best Doctor in the world, it's about being the best Doctor for the world.”
CMF 2023 is a wrap, and for all who are interested in learning more about this rewarding practice model, we are pleased to bring you the first in a two-part series with highlights from our key presentations at the conference.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): Friend or Foe to Concierge Medicine?
Terry Bauer addressed this hot-button topic with a measured perspective that landed firmly on ultimately labeling AI as “friend” and valuable tool to concierge physicians (click here to view full presentation, recorded live). AI has been dramatically described by Google CEO Sundar Pichai as “probably the most important thing humanity has ever worked on,” while Fei-Fei Li, Co-Director of Stanford University’s Human-Centered AI Institute, maintains “there’s nothing artificial about AI…it’s made by humans, intended to behave by humans, and, ultimately, to impact human lives and human society.” In the near term, Bauer recognized AI’s effectiveness in serving as a particularly able administrative assistant, helping streamline routine tasks, improve scheduling, book appointments, and manage insurance documentation.
“AI is already being used in physician offices to save staff a great deal of time by managing claims submissions, denials, and prior authorizations,” Bauer said. “Some concierge medicine practices have also experimented with asking AI to craft standard membership renewal letters, and were pleasantly surprised to see how well it compared to their own messaging.”
On the horizon is harnessing AI’s power to synthesize all of a patient’s history and data from disparate EHR systems, and to enhance engagement with patient portals by adding more user-friendly features.
As AI evolves, Bauer believes its impact on medicine will become increasingly profound. “AI is likely to not only identify harmful drug interactions more precisely than current systems, but to also predict the most effective medications based on an individual’s genetics. Drug and other medical discoveries may also be accelerated using AI, significantly cutting the 17 years now required to disperse life-saving treatments to the market. The ability to expedite diagnoses with AI’s rapid analysis of all available data will ultimately help minimize unnecessary testing,” he said. “And the promise of real time monitoring with analytics that can accurately predict the risk of a heart attack or stroke and enable early intervention is truly exciting…imagine how many lives can be saved with this kind of tool.”
Acknowledging the unease felt by many regarding the potential for AI to upend the way medicine is practiced today, Bauer imparted a reassuring message to the physicians gathered at CMF: “I’m convinced AI is going to help those who are practicing concierge medicine or exploring its possibilities be even more successful - more efficient and better diagnosticians. That said, AI’s most important contribution may be the role it plays in facilitating more quality time with patients. What I cannot envision is AI ever matching the judgment, experience or compassion of dedicated concierge physicians who know and care for their patients like treasured members of the family.”
About the authors: Terry Bauer is the CEO of Specialdocs, and Mindy Kolof is the public relations strategist for Specialdocs. Since 2002 Specialdocs has worked to transform physicians’ professional lives with a change to its industry-leading, sustainable concierge medicine model. The company provides all the essentials and support for a successful concierge medicine practice throughout the conversion process and well beyond. Specialdocs’ approach focuses on autonomy and professional satisfaction for physicians and as a result, highly personalized care and attention for their patients.