How to Become a Concierge Doctor
- You’re tired of worrying you might be missing something when you rush through 20+ patients a day.
- You’re tired of having just enough time to diagnose, write a prescription, and move on.
- And you’re tired of not really knowing your patients.
You love being a primary care doctor, but not like this. This is not how you envisioned practicing medicine.
So, you’re thinking about other options for a primary care job. Specifically, you're wondering whether switching to a concierge practice is right for you.
Not for the money. Not to work less. But to deliver the kind of care your patients deserve and that you want to provide.
You believe concierge medicine might be the answer for you. You understand the benefits of becoming a concierge doctor. You've read a little bit about the myths of becoming a concierge doctor. But you don’t know how to actually become a concierge doctor.
As a leading concierge medicine practice since 2003, we've talked to numerous doctors working their way through this process. Here are three options.
1. Join an existing concierge medicine practice.
This is the most common method and is the scenario we see most often at PartnerMD. Traditional primary care doctors, who either own their own practice or practice as part of a group, leave their former practice and join a completely different entity.
Becoming a concierge doctor by joining a practice that already uses the concierge model means finding the right fit and leaving your current employer behind.
One major benefit of joining an existing practice is that its support staff can help you navigate the transition and retain as many patients as possible. You can keep treating some of the patients who are so important to you.
For example, at PartnerMD, we dedicate extensive resources to the onboarding process, from file transfers and staff hiring to marketing and training. Once a new doctor agrees to join us, we make the transition as smooth as possible for both the doctor and their patients.
The transition can take a few months, depending on how long it takes to wind down at a current employer and ramp up at a new one. Of course, there’s some credentialing and some marketing and some HR forms, but, hey, it’s a lot easier than med school.
Obviously, not all your patients will follow you to concierge medicine — that's one of the primary challenges of making the switch — but in our experience, if you have cared for your patients well, enough will follow you to make it a worthwhile move.
2. Convert your current practice.
Another option for becoming a concierge doctor is to convert your own or your independent, multi-physician practice to a concierge medicine model. This might seem like the most straightforward of your options, but it is not the simplest.
Making the decision to transition is just the first step. Now you’ve got to figure out how to make it happen. You’ll need to:
- Determine your ideal panel size.
- Train or recruit staff to provide an advanced level of care.
- Overhaul your operations so that scheduling and call become concierge-style.
- Overhaul your back office to a new way of billing and marketing.
- Communicate the change to your existing patients and answer their questions about the switch.
If you’re a traditional PCP with a 2,000-3,000-patient panel, you won’t be able to retain all those patients, and that’s where it gets really hard.
It's one of the biggest challenges of taking a concierge medicine physician job. Some will respond negatively. Some will be disappointed they can’t continue with you. Staying where you are and having those emotional conversations is complicated.
There are consulting companies, like Specialdocs, who help doctors convert their own practice. And there are groups like MDVIP who can sell you a model. But once those folks provide a template, it’s still on you to execute.
3. Merge your practice with a concierge practice.
Mergers are more complicated business propositions — and they take longer than joining a new practice or converting your own. In recent times, most physician practice mergers have come through consolidation among larger hospital systems.
In the concierge medicine world, merging or selling your practice likely happens either in an established market between existing concierge medicine practices or as a means for an existing concierge practice to expand into a new market.
Obviously, before you can even start the process, you need to get buy-in from any other partners in the business. Then you evaluate practices and review the compatibility – of vision, systems, staff, etc.
Then you negotiate the deal. As the saying goes, there will be lawyers, so this process requires a bit more patience.
Only after the official ink is dry does the transition actually begin. Merging your practice with a concierge practice might require a full rebrand with a new name, a new website, or a new office location.
Merging or selling can be a particularly beneficial strategy for successful doctors who just don’t want to deal with running the business anymore or who want to provide concierge-level care for their patients and want an established practice that knows how it’s done to help.
By merging with an existing concierge practice, you may be able to relieve yourself of running business operations and just focus on being the best doctor you can be.
Concierge Medicine Jobs at PartnerMD
When looking to fill concierge medicine physician jobs at PartnerMD, we look for a few key things:
- You want to practice medicine the way you always envisioned.
- You are a mid-career internal medicine or family doctor.
- You are focused on prevention, longevity, and performance.
At PartnerMD, we most often deal with physicians looking to join our practice. They are either already concierge doctors looking for a better opportunity, or they are traditional primary care doctors fed up with the current system.
Often, we hear from doctors who feel like they’ve been providing concierge-level care for years, but the system makes it too hard to continue.
If you want a way to practice medicine the way you always envisioned, then we want to talk to you.