From burning out to burning passion

November 26, 2018

Physician transformation is possible with concierge medicine.

When you think about practicing medicine in today’s environment, do you feel as if you are caught in a systemic perfect storm?  

Let’s face it; practicing medicine is hard.  After all, you’re faced with bureaucratic tasks, long work hours, technology, stagnant or declining compensation and reimbursement, lack of autonomy, government regulations, escalating operating expenses and other challenges.  It’s no wonder so many physicians are burned out.

Nearly half of all physicians report some level of professional burnout. They cite their job as the top reason for burnout, followed by their finances. Family medicine and internal medicine physicians are in the bottom four of all reported specialties when ranking level of happiness.

Although the numbers may not surprise you, what many physicians don’t realize is the effect this burnout is having.  Burnout leads to exasperation, less patient engagement, frustration, unfriendliness, reduced motivation, errors, isolation and other problems.

“Physicians have been forced into a non-sustainable business model with not enough time per patient.  We all know time is the essence of quality when it comes to care.  Concierge type practices offer the patient ample time with their physician which generally leads to fewer ER visits, fewer sub-specialist visits and fewer hospitalizations which, in turn, can substantially reduce total healthcare costs,” says Stephen C. Schimpf, MD, author of Fixing the Primary Care Crisis and former CEO of the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Thrive with a concierge care program

A concierge care program will fuel your professional passion by allowing you the time you need to spend with every patient – enhance the one-on-one relationship, listen intently, understand their concerns and address all of their questions.  It will also allow you to have a better understanding of all the factors affecting their health, to be more proactive with their care by focusing more on prevention and wellness and; to thoroughly explain their treatment options.  

Ultimately, studies indicate more time allows you to improve patient care and achieve better outcomes.

Concierge care also addresses many of the top ways, as reported in a Medscape study, physicians see as reducing burnout, including:  

  • Increased compensation. This alleviates a great deal of stress. With a full concierge practice, all patients in a physician’s panel are enrolled in their concierge membership program. Membership revenue alone can range from $250k to $700k per year.
  • More manageable patient load. A full concierge practice usually reduces a patient panel to 20-30 percent of their traditional panel.  For a primary care physician, this typically means having a concierge panel of only 250 – 600 patients.
  • Manageable work schedule. As a result of a reduced patient panel, physicians normally see only 8–12 patients per day in a concierge care model versus 20 or more patients per day in a traditional practice model.
  • Autonomy. Concierge medicine allows a physician to maintain their independence in a sustainable practice model.   Thus, they are not forced to compromise the care of their patients due to the forces of unreasonable mandates.  That, in turn, allows you to practice the way you believe is in the best interest of your patients.  

“One such model is a customizable concierge care program which is an antidote for physician burnout, it provides the time needed for every patient and allows the physician to be independent in a sustainable practice,” Schimpf says.

Physicians can avoid, reduce or overcome burnout and thrive with a concierge medicine model of care. But in order to do so, you must first commit to making the changes necessary to adapt to today’s care environment. 

Neil R. Hoyt, Sr. is vice president of Paragon Private Health.  He has spent the past 14 years creating sustainable customized concierge care programs for physicians throughout the U.S.