How to Select a Private Physician

private-physicianMore and more doctors are moving into a private model of care, which enables a physician-patient relationship to develop and, ultimately, provides better treatment. In fact, the physicians’ staffing firm Merritt Hawkins found that between 2013 and 2016, roughly 10 percent of doctors will move into a subscription-based service.

If you are considering switching from your traditional practice to a private physician, there are a few things to consider. Following these steps will help to ensure you find someone with whom you are comfortable.

1. Review Your Options

On a national level, there is no shortage of private care physicians. However, you may be limited based on where you live. It is important to do your research so you know how many doctors in your area offer the kind of treatment you want. You can use a networking site, like the American Academy of Private Physicians or Privatephysicians.com, to search for a doctor in your area.

 2. Think About Your Needs

Before you meet with anyone, it is important for you to understand what your own needs are. This will include taking into account the needs of anyone else in your home, such as a spouse or dependents. Does anyone have any chronic conditions? Would home visits be necessary? In private medicine, there really is no one-size-fits-all solution. Private physicians tend to offer customized care, but each doctor may have a different approach.

You might want to think about if you want a practice that focuses on holistic medicine and prevention. If you or someone in your home has a condition that requires specialist visits, you may want to look for a doctor who is well networked and can help to coordinate that care.

3. Understand the Fee Structure

Within the private care model, there are different ways that a practice will handle insurance. When private medicine began, the intention was to eliminate the need for insurance. Instead, the patient directly paid the physician a fee, usually on a monthly basis that covers service virtually anytime and for anything. There are some private practices that will, however, accept insurance in addition to a membership fee or retainer.

4. Meet With Physicians

Once you have narrowed down your options, it is important to meet with the doctors to get a feel for how each operates. It is important to schedule these appointments when you are healthy; you do not want to wait until you are sick to make a decision regarding your future medical needs. Private physicians recognize the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and will welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss your needs.

5. Ask Questions

One of the benefits of switching to a private care model is that you no longer need to rush through your doctor’s appointments. You get the opportunity to speak at length with the physician about any issues you are having. When you are meeting with a doctor, make sure you ask questions that will help you make your decision, such as:

  • What is your approach to treatment?
  • How do you prevent health problems from starting in your patients?
  • What is your fee structure?
  • How is your practice different from other private practices?
  • What is the typical wait time for an appointment?

Ask how many patients the doctor sees. You will find that in a private model, patient panels are far smaller.

6. Decide If It’s Right for You

Private medicine is surprisingly affordable and often gives patients better comprehensive care. While not everyone will determine that the model fits their needs, many people find that the personalized approach goes above and beyond what they need from a physician.

Physicians in private medicine often report having a greater job satisfaction, and it is easy to see why. Through working closely with patients and giving them the time and attention they deserve, doctors get a chance to treat the individual comprehensively instead of during episodic visits. When you are choosing among these physicians, take your time to make sure you find the one who matches your needs.

Source:

  • http://www.physiciansfoundation.org/uploads/default/Physicians_Foundation_2012_Biennial_Survey.pdf
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Transitioning Your Traditional Practice to a Private Medical Practice

According to a survey from Accenture, the number of independent physicians in the United States has 18091680_blogdecreased significantly. In 2000, roughly 57 percent of all doctors were independent; 2012, that dropped to just 36 percent. The Accenture survey credits the change to the rising model of private or subscription-based medication, which offers a more personalized experience.

Is it time for you to make the change as well? Here are some signs that the change may be a positive one and ways you can make a smooth transition.

Practicing Private Medicine

Before converting your practice, it is important to understand all the advantages of a private model of care. For example, most physicians in a traditional setting have upward of 2,000 patients, with some carrying twice that. This leaves little time for the doctor-patient relationship to develop. A concierge-style practice, on the other hand, can whittle down those panel numbers to 500 or fewer.

Other key advantages include the following:

  • The ability to have longer appointment times with a patient
  • The flexibility to provide patients home visits
  • The opportunity to provide better preventative care
  • The ability to better treat patients with chronic conditions

When it comes to compensation, Bloomberg Businessweek notes that the average doctor who practices private medicine earns between $150,000 and $300,000 a year. This is comparable to what independent physicians earn. However, many doctors who convert to a private model report that they are more satisfied with the work.

Lastly, it is possible that moving away from a traditional practice could actually reduce overhead costs. Consider that with fewer patients, fewer staff members are necessary and you may not need such a large office.

Making the Change

Once you have decided to transition your practice, there are a few ways you can ensure the change goes smoothly. Try these tips:

1.Put Together a Business Plan

Entrepreneurs set themselves up for success by putting together a comprehensive business plan. That should include:

  • Financial goals and statements
  • Expectations for patient load and recruitment
  • Staffing
  • A marketing plan

You might consider working with an attorney who can ensure that you have covered all your legal bases. When it comes to medicine, you already know there are federal, state and perhaps even local regulations that will dictate certain aspects of how you provide care. It is good to have all of these items addressed before you ever open your doors.

2. Network

Do you know other private physicians? You can join a professional organization, like the American Academy of Private Physicians, through which you can meet others who have gone through the transition. There are annual conferences for physicians who practice private medicine where you can learn about compliance, technology and other topics relevant to your new model.

3. Put a Reliable Staff in Place

While you probably won’t need many staff members, it is imperative that you hire the best people possible. Private medicine focuses on quality treatment, which means your nurses and support staff must all be committed to excellent care.

Consider the other aspects of the practice as well: marketing, finances and information technology, for example. Instead of hiring full-time staff, consider seeking out trusted consultants who can help with these tasks.

4. Talk to Your Patients

Once you have a solid plan in place, it is time to talk to your existing patients about the change you are going to make. Many people may not understand the difference between a traditional model of care and private medicine. You get the chance to discuss the benefits and talk with them about why you are making the transition. Allow them to see why the investment they would make in private medicine is worth it.

Not only will following these tips help ease the change from traditional to private medicine, but it will also help to ensure your success. Remember that you do not have to take on the transition alone; you can rely on advice from fellow practitioners and networking groups as well as help from your staff members. Private medicine can be extremely rewarding, especially when you start your practice the right way.

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Is It Time to Convert Your Traditional Medical Practice?

AAPP-Transition-To-Private-PracticePart of the reason you became a physician is likely because you really wanted to help people. Through your traditional practice, you have probably had the chance to help thousands of patients. While that kind of reach is outstanding, it can also be overwhelming. In fact, large patient panels are one of the reasons that many doctors are choosing to convert their practice into a private model.

Is it time for you to make the change? Here are some questions you can ask yourself to see if you are ready for the switch.

Are you ready for fewer patients?

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Care, doctors in a traditional setting typically have between 2,000 and 5,000 patients. Alternatively, moving into a private care model means dropping to as few as 500 patients.

Would you like to spend more time with patients?

Having fewer patients means having the ability to commit to longer appointment times. You can really discuss any issue a patient might be having and develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Further, you get to develop the doctor-patient relationship, which enables you to offer better preventative care. For patients with chronic conditions, you can effectively manage their care and referrals.

Will your patients benefit from an anytime-care model?

One of the advantages to private medicine is that patients typically gain access to same-day appointments and even home visits. For people who are sick, this is especially important. Many people find they get peace of mind simply knowing that a doctor’s visit really is just a phone call away. Many private care physicians give patients their personal phone numbers or email addresses and allow for contact after-hours.

Do you want to provide comprehensive care?

Generally speaking, private physicians are able to offer a more comprehensive type of care than the traditional practitioner. This is because a private doctor sees patients more often and for longer stretches of time. In a traditional setting, a physician is usually limited to providing episodic care when a patient is sick.

Could your patients see the cost-effectiveness of private medicine?

While not all your patients will move with you, many will. If you choose to make the transition to a private model of care, you get the opportunity to explain how the new system works, which includes tuning into their needs and offering quality, preventative care. Because you will get the chance to get to know their medical history, you might be able to avoid ordering unnecessary testing or procedures that are costly and would not benefit the patient.

Making the Change

When you are ready to transition your practice, there are a few things you can do so the process runs smoothly:

  1. Tell Your Patients the Right Way

Take the time to explain the change to your patients, including new fee structures and the advantages of the private care model. This will help you bring patients into your new practice and possibly prevent a mass exodus.

  1. Create a Business Plan

Make sure you put everything in writing, from your marketing strategies to the finances to your new staffing needs. Work with an attorney to ensure you address any potential legal situations. Having a solid business plan is integral to the transition and a successful practice.

  1. Put the Right Staff in Place

Because private medicine is centered on providing quality care, it is important that your staff reflects those values. Everyone from the nurses to the support staff to the consultants who manage your finances should be on the same page when it comes to providing a patient-focused model of care.

  1. Get Advice

Speak to other private care physicians or join a networking group like the American Academy of Private Physicians. You will be able to get valuable input on how to move into the private model as well as learn about emerging trends that will be useful in your practice.

Making the switch to private medicine can be extremely rewarding, both for you and your patients. When you decide the time has come, you can rely on these tips to get you through the transition.

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Annual Health Checklist

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to be healthier? According to a report in Forbes magazine, only about 8 percent of people will keep their resolutions. Experts suggest keeping the goal simple, which is why we have put together a short checklist of items you can do this year to boost your health:

Get a CheckupAAPP-Yearly-Health-Checklist

If you have not been to the doctor for a wellness visit, there is no better time to do it than at the start of the year. This gives you a good idea of where you stand and may even provide you some motivation to meet your goals. When you work with a physician who practices private medicine, you will be able to discuss your health at length, determining ways to combat any existing issues as well as preventing future problems from starting.

Review Any Pertinent Screenings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines several preventative screenings for patients based on their age and sex. Among the possible tests are:

  • A colonoscopy
  • Mammograms
  • Blood pressure checks
  • Sexually transmitted infection testing

Some additional preventative care could include vaccinations and taking supplements. It is a good idea to discuss any possible tests you should have this year.

Make Your Home Healthy

The environment in which you live plays a huge role in your overall health. When is the last time you replaced your air filters? Have you made the switch to natural cleaners to avoid toxins from spreading through your house? You might also consider trading plastic food storage options for glass ones, as plastic chemicals can actually wreak havoc on your body.

Go to the Dentist

Your oral health and your overall health are directly related. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that the mouth is an entryway for germs. As frightening as that may sound, the good news is that taking care of your oral hygiene can help prevent any issues from starting. In addition to daily flossing and brushing, you should see a dentist every six months for a professional cleaning. Dentists can effectively remove plaque and tartar build-up that a typical toothbrush cannot clean.

Eat Real Food

Take stock of your refrigerator and your pantry. Do you see lots of fresh produce, whole grains and lean cuts of meat? If not, you may want to rethink your grocery list. Processed foods tend to be high in sodium, contain unhealthy fats and excessive amounts of sugar. By trading chips for carrots, you not only stand to lose weight, but your body will get more of the nutrients it needs to keep you healthy.

While it is a good idea to supplement your diet with vitamins, you should not rely on a pill for the daily recommended value of those nutrients. Talk to your private medicine physician about your diet and where you may be able to make improvements.

Make a Plan for Activity

Too many people who join a gym at the beginning of the year end up simply paying the monthly fee but never going. While exercise is important, it is even more crucial to find an activity you enjoy and that you can commit to. Not only will this burn calories and build muscle, but it gives you an outlet for any stress you are experiencing. Maybe you vow to try something new, like a kickboxing class, or simply take the dog on a 30-minute walk every evening. Whatever you choose, you should develop up with a plan that makes your decision feasible.

Sleep

Make sleep a priority this year. It is easy to stay up late to work or watch television, but your body will thank you if you get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. That rest is vital to having the energy to get through the next day. It also ensures that your systems can do the things they need to do to rebalance your hormones, build muscle and reboot.

Getting healthy is great no matter what time of year you choose to do it. Use this checklist to give yourself a jumpstart on your goals.

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Private Medecine For All Types of Budgets

There was a time when private medicine was a privilege reserved only for the rich and famous—the idea ofdv2062025 paying a doctor a retainer that could run several thousand dollars a month was out of reach for most middle-class families in America. As the healthcare landscape has shifted over the past couple of decades and more and more doctors are looking for ways to provide the highest level of patient care at a cost that everyone can afford, the concept of private medicine practices has also changed.

The Private Medicine Model

While there is no specific way that a private physician must operate his or her clinic, there are a few things that most private medicine practices have in common:

  • Patients pay a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee for access to basic care, such as check-ups and doctor’s appointments. In many cases these offices offer additional tests and services at a discount because they don’t bill insurance companies. While patients are still encouraged to carry insurance for catastrophic illness, insurance is not required for basic care.
  • Doctors reduce the volume of patients in their clinic to about 10-20 percent of a “normal” primary care physician’s patient load so they can provide more comprehensive care to the patients they do have.
  • Physicians promise patients 24/7 access through email, cell phone, and even social media.
  • Patients are able to get same-day or next-day appointments any time they call.
  • With fewer patients, doctors can spend more time with each patient helping them manage chronic diseases or improve overall health and wellness.

Eliminating the need for insurance and all the paperwork and overhead costs that come along with it allows these doctors to streamline their practice so they can focus more on patient care, which is something most doctors would prefer to do anyway. Other perks like comprehensive annual physicals and the ability to ask questions day or night help patients feel like they are in control of their care.

Affordable Fees Bring in New Patients

Several decades ago the annual or monthly retainer fee for a private physician could run several thousand dollars a month. As the cost of healthcare has skyrocketed over the years and more and more families are without insurance, private doctors have started to reduce their rates to welcome more people into their practices.

A recent study revealed that in some areas of the country as much as 20 percent of the population has avoided seeing a doctor in the past year because the cost was too high. Today’s private medicine practices provide patients with basic primary care for a fraction of the cost, with average retainer fees between $130-$150 per month (a cost lower than most insurance plans), with some as low as $50 or less.

Private physicians like to think of healthcare the same way that we do car maintenance—people purchase insurance for catastrophic events, but pay for regular and preventive maintenance without involving the insurance company. Concierge medicine can be the same, limiting the cost of insurance by taking care of the basics out of pocket at a much more affordable cost.

A Better Approach to Care

The private medicine approach has shown tremendous benefits for both doctors and patients alike. Many doctors who go into primary care quickly become disillusioned with the profession, seeing dozens of patients every day for only a few minutes, and providing episodic treatment for patients who are sick without being able to offer ongoing comprehensive care and disease management. Patients are also frustrated with the long wait times to even get into most primary care offices and the limited time they have to interact with the doctor.

Physicians who have introduced a model for private medicine find that by reducing the patient load and charging an affordable monthly fee, they rediscover their passion for patient care, while the people who are members of the private practice can get the level of care they expect from their physician.

Find a Private Physician Near You!

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