Attracted to the opportunity to provide concierge medicine's hallmark model of personalized care, physicians in subspecialties such as cardiology, endocrinology, pulmonology, and others are increasingly converting their practices, and reporting increased professional and personal satisfaction, according to Michael Friedlander, Principal at national healthcare consulting firm Specialdocs.
Leading cardiologist John R. Levinson, MD, PhD, founder of the country's first concierge subspecialty practice, AllCare Medical, LLC, in Boston, says: "Those specialties where patients have a longitudinal relationship with their doctor to work on chronic problems are an ideal fit for the concierge model. If you're the kind of cardiologist who helps patients work on chronic valve disease, coronary disease, or other areas of preventive cardiology, a concierge practice vastly improves your ability to provide the very best care for each and every patient."
Agrees E. Thomas Arne, Jr., DO, FACC, who transitioned his cardiology practice to the concierge model last spring with the help of Specialdocs: "So many risk factors circle around heart health—diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol—that being able to assume the primary care role and manage these issues upfront makes cardiology an ideal fit for concierge medicine." The opportunity to treat the whole patient and address their entire scope of medical issues translates to better, more personalized medicine, according to Dr. Arne.
Endocrinology, with its focus on complex metabolic issues including diabetes, hyperlipidemia, thyroid and many other problems, also interfaces well with the objectives of primary care and preventive medicine, according to David A. Chappell, MD, who worked with Specialdocs to establish his concierge medical practice in Petaluma, California.
"Personalized medicine provides the best opportunity to combine my expertise in endocrinology with internal medicine and primary care," says Dr. Chappell. "My new practice gives me more time to 'think outside the box' and care for patients without onerous financial disincentives."
As consulting fee reimbursements continue to shrink, subspecialists in particular are affected, and need options that enable them to survive, says Friedlander. "The concierge model works on every level, providing doctors with income that is not driven by volume as well as providing time to treat their patients for an entire range of complex issues."
He continues: "We've seen a dramatic impact on subspecialists who have transitioned their practices and are able to practice medicine in the way they have always envisioned. They have, in fact, taken back their professional lives."
"It's staggering what a change it has made," asserts Dr. Levinson. "I'm unbelievably happy doing what I'm doing."