Healthcare is not an “impulse” purchase. People don’t impulsively buy experiences … they conduct searches, price compare and make more educated buying decisions, once they feel confident in the education they’ve found. People are now searching out and choosing Concierge Medicine (and it’s familial healthcare clinic companions) primarily due to a “better experience” … Makes sense, right? Let’s (CMT + The Collective) unpack this to see where and if this is true …
NOVEMBER 10, 2015 – Say what you want about big city living but when it comes to finding some of the most innovative healthcare clinics and offices in the nation … smaller cities simply can’t stack up against the huge number of primary care clinics, dermatology offices, dental offices and specialty clinics that care for and treat America’s major metro areas each and every day.
U.S. cities drive the national healthcare narrative forward.
They’re where every significant Concierge Medicine trend either begins or hits critical mass. Big cities like Miami, Dallas, L.A., New York, Atlanta, Baltimore … they all have certain things in common. They have innovative hospitals with convenient access for travelers, they’re national air line hubs (in most cases), patients have access to multiple healthcare facilities outside of the Concierge Medicine doctors office, expertise and reach, access to clinical research and they’re where the demographics for a successful Concierge Medicine practice match the patient make up of a good Concierge Medicine patient.
Our research arm, The Concierge Medicine Research Collective [i.e. The Collective] est. 2007 and the research arm of trade publication, Concierge Medicine Today, has worked with prominent medical institutions, investment analysts and industry consultants to identify some of the “boom towns” where patient search is increasing and many Concierge doctors have full (or closed) practices.
Here is a summary (SEE INFOGRAPHIC “Boom TOWNS”) of The Collective’s identified “Concierge Medicine Boom Towns, 2015-2016″ and the respective cities with long-standing consumer/patient “search” interest over the past year or more.
What about supposed, “Dead Zones” ?
Where is it across the U.S. where you are unlikely to find a Concierge Doctor?
Unfortunately, there are too many places across the U.S. where a Concierge Medicine Doctor or even its familial companion, a Direct Primary Care (DPC) office [i.e. an office which a direct patient contracting practice (DPCP) as any practice that directly contracts with patients to pay out-of-pocket for some or all of the services provided by the practice, in lieu of or in addition to traditional insurance arrangements, and/or charges an administrative fee to patients, sometimes called a retainer or concierge fee, often in return for a promise of more personalized and accessible care .
To answer this “dead zone” question, one really needs to look at the demographic makeup and geography of certain areas across the country.
North Dakota for example, might be a relatively great area for a new DPCP or Concierge Medicine office given its decade of growth and industry. The majority of employers in the oil and gas and manufacturing industry have some of the best employee benefits package to keep their workers healthy, on the job and working.
Conversely, many of the new patients are transient men without health insurance or a permanent address in the area. In one of the biggest drivers of the hospital debt, patients give inaccurate contact information; when the time comes to collect payment, the patients cannot be found. McKenzie County Hospital has invested in new software that will help verify the information patients give on the spot.
The NY Times adds … Over all, ambulance calls in the region increased by about 59 percent from 2006 to 2011, according to Thomas R. Nehring, the director of emergency medical services for the North Dakota Health Department. The number of traumatic injuries reported in the oil patch increased 200 percent from 2007 through the first half of last year, he said.
The 12 medical facilities in western North Dakota saw their combined debt rise by 46 percent over the course of the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years, according to Darrold Bertsch, the president of the state’s Rural Health Association.
Hospitals cannot simply refuse to treat people or raise their rates. Expenses at those 12 facilities increased by 15 percent, Mr. Bertsch added, and nine of them experienced operating losses. Costs are rising to hire and retain service staff members, as hospitals compete with fast food restaurants that pay wages of about $20 an hour.
There are an estimated 40,856 oil industry jobs in North Dakota, plus an additional 18,000 jobs supporting the industry. The hub of the area—the 16,000 population-town of Williston—produced 14,000 new jobs alone between 2010 and 2012. The state has a 3 percent unemployment rate, and the Williston region’s is around 1 percent.
Here’s an interest fact … There’s only one hospital in the Williston area and its seen wait times quadruple—from 30 minutes in 2010 to more than 2 hours in 2011. It’s had to double the seats in the waiting room and hire security guards.
Another example of employee benefits in an area of the country with a booming economy is the N.D. State Employee. State Employees receive competitive wages and are eligible for periodic cost of living increases. In addition, employees may receive increases in wages that are based on an employee’s job performance and longevity. But there’s more than a paycheck. The state’s total compensation package for employees features an outstanding set of employee benefits.
Fast Company magazine in an article entitled “The Science Of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things” notes …
“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the question of money and happiness for over two decades.”We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”
“Rather than buying the latest iPhone or a new BMW, Gilovich suggests you’ll get more happiness spending money on experiences. [As people] we consume experiences directly with other people,” says Gilovich. “And after they’re gone, they’re part of the stories that we tell to one another.”
This could be one of the many reasons more and more people are flocking to innovation in healthcare offices, such as offered by physicians in Concierge Medicine offices, plastic surgery facilities, Direct Pay, monthly membership aesthetic practices and the like.
“By shifting the investments that societies make and the policies they pursue, they can steer large populations to the kinds of experiential pursuits that promote greater happiness,” write Gilovich and his coauthor, Amit Kumar, in their recent article in the academic journal Experimental Social Psychology.
The writer of the Fast Company magazine ended the article by saying … If society takes their research to heart, it should mean not only a shift in how individuals spend their discretionary income, but also place an emphasis on employers giving paid vacation and governments taking care of recreational spaces.
Indeed, Concierge Medicine is about an experience and an investment. Cities bring people and ideas together. Ideas bring forth innovation, creativity and change … just one of the many reasons more and more people are looking for a change in their own doctor’s office around our United States of America today and in the weeks and years to come.
-  http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2468810
-  The Fiscal Times
-  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/28/us/boom-in-north-dakota-weighs-heavily-on-health-care.html?_r=0