How CCP Predicts Success:
Membership Medicine Gets Data-Driven
It’s not easy for physicians to make practice decisions that can substantially alter their business structure, revenue and patient relationships. John Dettori, Data Administrator at Concierge Choice Physicians, discusses CCP’s data-driven approach to practice analytics and how it helps physicians understand their options and their degrees of success, before they launch.
Q: How does a physician know whether membership medicine is right for them?
A: First, it’s important to establish that membership medicine has evolved substantially since its inception 25 years ago. When it started, there was only one model, a “full model” concierge program where all patients had to become concierge members, or find a new doctor.
Nearly 20 years ago, CCP introduced the “hybrid” model, which is a blended approach that allows a doctor to maintain their existing practice, and offer a concierge program as a service option patients can choose. Since then, our models have evolved even further, with transitional programs, hybrid extension programs, and even direct pay models, in some cases.
So, I think people in the industry would be surprised to know how the puzzle pieces can fit for many types of physicians who are thinking about concierge medicine.
Q: So, then, what kind of physician profile fits which kind of concierge model?
A: The healthcare landscape has changed dramatically. Today, every kind of physician and practice is unique, and so we don’t profile physicians. We take an in-depth look at each practice to give clients accurate determinations but, generally speaking, there are two buckets that can help put some initial stakes in the ground:
Classic, full model programs: An excellent choice for physicians with large patient panels, physicians who want to slow down, doctors who are interested in transitioning to retirement, and any doctor (including specialists) who sees patients on an ongoing basis.
Blended hybrid programs: This model opens up the playing field dramatically. This model works for physicians who want to practice membership medicine but perhaps they have a small practice, maybe they are specialists who see patients on an episodic basis, doctors who are risk-averse and don’t want to make any major structural changes to their practice, physicians who want the income boost that comes from concierge medicine but don’t want to turn away patients. This model can be very successful for doctors in demographics that don’t look “perfect” for concierge medicine, like perhaps rural areas, or a patient panel with varying degrees of wealth.
Q: Tell me more about the in-depth analysis? How does that work?
A: It’s really important that a physician gets good, predictive information to help them understand their options. Some concierge companies think it’s all about the demographics of the area. That’s certainly part of it, but it’s definitely not the full picture.
Our proprietary research goes much further. Understanding the demographics of the area is just the first step. We take a deep dive into the practice’s patient data. Without giving away our industry secrets, we need to determine things like, how many active patients does the physician have? How many times do these patients see their physician in a year? And perhaps most importantly, what do patients actually think of their physician?
Q: CCP surveys the patients?
A: Yes, we do, and their feedback is critical to accurately predicting success. For example, we’ve had physicians with small practices who never thought they could support a full model concierge program, but our analytics showed such a deep connection and loyalty within the patient base, that a full model program would be extremely successful. In fact, we’ve had this experience with several specialists who were initially skeptical, but hoped that perhaps a small
hybrid program would be possible. After going through the process, we predicted a wildly successful hybrid program, and recommended a full model instead. These particular specialists were nervous about making a jump like that, so they started with a hybrid program, and as predicted, they eventually transitioned to a full model program. The data doesn’t lie. Their patients wanted more time with them, and they were happy to join.
Q: Does the data ever tell the opposite story?
A: It has happened. Sometimes, the initial data on a large medical practice in a high-wealth area seems perfect for a full model program. The doctor might be eager to pursue that avenue. However, a deeper dive reveals information about patients that can give pause. Like, perhaps patients are younger, or there are a lot of “providers” in the area who patients bounce around and see, or the active patient panel may not be as large as initially thought, and so the data might recommend a smaller start for that particular physician. See how it goes, and grow it from there. It can be hard, but our clients have spent their lives building their practices. They need to know accurate information before they make any substantial change. We would never force a physician into a one-size-fits-all full model if it wasn’t going to successfully meet their goals. The beauty is there are other, no-risk options that can be explored first! It’s their choice.
Q: Do your clients always trust your data?
A: As the old saying goes, “trust, but verify.” They do trust the data. But, depending on their personal goals and where they are in their career, they may still want to proceed at their own pace, and that’s okay. For example, many physicians come to us considering a major transition. Should they sell their practice to a large health system or should they try concierge medicine so they can remain independent? For a physician in this state, even though our proprietary research process determines success with a full model program, they may still choose to go hybrid first. They want to be certain before they do anything that might limit their patient panel, should they decide to sell.
Q: How does concierge care impact practice value?
A: The right program can add tremendous value. Clients with hybrid programs have their entire traditional practice and all their patients, along with a very lucrative concierge program made up of loyal patients. An average hybrid program boosts a physician’s revenue by more than 25%. Clients with an average full model program have limited patient panels, but higher revenue.
For doctors considering a sale, a Hybrid Choice program is an excellent, no-risk way to add value to a practice. Our clients have used their program as a significant bargaining chip at the point of sale. Anything that maintains patients and boosts loyalty and revenue is a definite plus.
Q: So, how does a doctor get started?
A: The first step is to contact our physician development team. From there, it’s just a casual, no-obligation discussion. The physician tells us a little about their practice and then we move forward in steps—with physician buy-in at every stage. And, as a data technician, this is very important to me: Our practice analysis is completely HIPAA compliant. Patient data is protected by the highest level of security. In nearly 20 years, supporting thousands of physicians, we are proud to say we have never experienced a breach. So call us and be
confident that we will give you the information you need and we will work with you, not push you into anything you aren’t right for.
Physicians can get started by contacting CCP directly, or by visiting our website at: www.choice.md/PVR and answering a few simple questions.
We will then provide you with an introductory analysis that can explain some initial options.