How well do you know your doctor? With today’s primary care physicians juggling thousands of patients—the national average is 2,300—you’re lucky to get 15 minutes of face time at your annual checkup. That is, unless you pay a fee to a concierge medicine service for round-the-clock, personalized primary care. Those who pony up will see a lot more of their doc: Think appointments that stretch up to 90 minutes; 24-hour phone, email and text access; house calls; and even a personal physical escort to specialist appointments.
Concierge medicine has its roots in Seattle, beginning in the mid-1990s when former Seattle SuperSonics physician Dr. Howard Maron and Dr. Scott Hall founded concierge clinic MD2. A few years later, Virginia Mason Medical Center began developing its program, one of the country’s first concierge practices housed within a multidisciplinary academic hospital. Since then, it’s estimated that some 12,000 doctors nationwide have adopted a concierge model. Concierge medicine’s long local history, combined with the region’s aging, affluent population, pegs Seattle as one of the nation’s hottest concierge medicine markets.