Some primary care doctors have switched to concierge practices, but now a group of Los Angeles-based surgeons is trying out the idea.
The doctors believe that the concierge model can work in surgery as well, according to Outpatient Surgery Magazine.
Prime Surgeons earlier this month launched an online network of what it calls “elite master surgeons” to provide patients with access to surgical care on-demand, according to the group's announcement.
With the number of surgeries in the U.S. growing rapidly and the number of surgeons expected to drop by 2020, the doctors are betting patients will be willing to pay to have access to top-level surgeons, just as they pay to have better access to their primary care doctor in concierge practices. The online surgical concierge service will provide patients 24/7 access to surgeons and priority scheduling for appointments and procedures.
Prime Surgeons currently specializes in orthopedics and spinal surgery, but plans to expand its network. "For too long, patients who want the best care have struggled to find and engage with top-level surgeons," spinal surgeon Gil Tepper, M.D., CEO and founder of Prime Surgeons, said in the announcement.
While there are different levels of access to the network, full concierge service will cost patients $2,500 per quarter, according to Outpatient Surgery. That fee gives patients access to a national and global network of surgeons anytime, so they can schedule surgery within 24 to 48 hours, according to the Prime Surgeons web site. Patients also get 24/7 access to surgeons via phone, text or email, rehab referral assistance, individualized 90-day post-op follow-up care, a personal assistant for scheduling, and a personalized rehab program.
Concierge medicine, where practices generate revenue through membership fees, has been growing in popularity, particularly among doctors who feel frustrated or burned out by barriers to interacting with patients in a through, unhurried fashion. For many doctors, concierge practice is less about money and more about the quality of life.