Emergence of Concierge Medicine
Concierge Medicine is defined as a private form of practice where doctors charge patients an out-of-pocket retainer fee for full access to their services. 
Considering the growing healthcare costs, patients are looking out for new forms of payment systems for medical services, such as the concierge system – which is based on the concept of having a personal primary care physician and amenities-rich clinical services, but for a fixed-price premium payment on a monthly or yearly basis.
Interior Design for Concierge Medical Practices
Primary healthcare clinics are moving away from a professional, business-like image towards a hotel or home imagery, with the use of domestic-scale plants, lamps, artwork, furnishings and window treatments. This design strategy is said to reflect psychological support, comfort, personalization, and close interaction provided in the care facilities. Smaller waiting rooms, with more flexible, comfortable furnishings, similar to a home environment; coupled with aquariums as calming distractions, and toys and spaces for children to play are the major changes adopted in the interior design of primary care or concierge clinics.
For example, consider the Michigan-based healthcare provider, Spectrum Health System . The facility has adopted a design plan to address the spatial issues observed during renovation of the rapidly-evolving primary care clinics given the rising need for easily re-configurable spaces. The design strategy involves the construction of examination rooms in the central core of the facility instead of at the perimeter.
This open-plan configuration is said to have helped incorporate an underlying modularity in the facility, allowing patient rooms, work spaces, conference rooms, and other areas to change in function, location, and dimension as needed, without the need for intense renovation.
Moreover, given that a concierge physician spends most of his time in home visits, and that a minor proportion of his patients actually visit the hospital to avail some basic clinical services, it is essential to ensure that the hospital gives a striking first impression. This article intends to present some design considerations for concierge practices especially given their nature of work.
- Concierge physicians spend most of the time visiting patients on a personal basis; however, there is a need for an exclusive hospital setting with a chosen set of basic amenities while regarding potential patient population.
- Designers need to ensure that the doctors’ (or direct primary care physicians’) cabin is spacious enough, with adequate privacy for conversations with patients and their families.
- Since concierge clinics may choose to provide only primary medical care, they may not be huge establishments; but it is good to ensure that the hospital architecture comprises a parking space, a reception area and patient waiting rooms and examination rooms.
- Concierge practices accommodate more than one primary care doctors and specialists, meaning there will be multiple consultation rooms. Hence, designers need to ensure that each consultation room echoes a calm and comforting atmosphere, while the interior design themes are in line with each other.
- Interior design of concierge clinics should reflect the concept of personalised patient care and create an ambient atmosphere around the clinic.
- A concierge or private clinical practice needs to hire employees who are available for emergency situations. Hence, it is essential to create staff rooms to create a private and healthy workspace environment.
According to Concierge Medicine Today, there are several thousand concierge practices in the US as of 2015, with new offices being added at a moderate rate per annum. Popularity among physicians is attributed to the declining reimbursements, administrative overhead and expenses related to treating thousands of patients inside a broken business model.
Despite being a primary care or a specialist practice, understanding the association of environmental factors on the patients’ mood, health and clinical well-being is always crucial for any healthcare facility. Although design considerations vary based on the nature of the medical practice, one common aspect of all healthcare interior design strategies is an ambient and soothing atmosphere that contributes to enhanced recovery experience and clinical outcomes in patients.