What Is Concierge Psychiatry?


Concierge psychiatry: a type of mental health care delivery through a personalized and high-touch approach.



Over the last several years, it has become increasingly difficult to schedule appointments within a short timeframe and contact a clinician between visits, as many health care systems are understaffed and have growing waitlists of patients needing to be seen. Mental health conditions are increasingly prevalent as more individuals face stress at home and at work. Traditionally, outpatient psychiatry clinics are very busy and have both limited availability and long wait times.

At times, patients report feeling like appointments are rushed and they still have questions upon the end of their visit. Often, this is not the fault of the clinician, but rather the system in which they are being seen. One solution to these growing challenges is the emergence of concierge psychiatry, a type of mental health care delivery through a personalized and high-touch approach.

Defining Concierge Psychiatry

Concierge psychiatry is a model of care delivery for outpatient psychiatry that is characterized by personalized and accessible psychiatry services, provided by a board-certified psychiatrist. Concierge psychiatrists run outpatient psychiatry practices that provide individualized and comprehensive mental health services to patients.

Services may include medication management, psychotherapy, or a combination of the 2. Concierge medicine traditionally pairs exclusive and personalized care with expediency for a limited panel of patients. These services often include additional appointment availability outside of traditional business hours, same-day refill requests, as well as the ability to provide in-home and on-site services.

Because the concierge psychiatrist has a small number of active patients, they are able to offer extended appointment times and get their patients in often same-day or next-day if needed. In addition, this boutique practice model frequently comes with the ability to contact your psychiatrist directly, without having to call the office or talk to ancillary staff.

Different Models for This Type of Outpatient Practice

There are different models in which concierge psychiatrists deliver their services. One model is a subscription-based model where patients pay a monthly fee or annual retainer and receive a certain set of services in exchange. This may include a specified number of visits per month and dedicated time for phone calls between appointments. Benefits to this model include the regular frequency of visits since the patient is paying a fixed fee in exchange for a specified number of appointments and touchpoints each month.

Another model for concierge psychiatry practices includes hourly billing but with the same set of service that one would expect of any retainer-based concierge practice. A concierge psychiatrist with the hourly billing model will still provide their direct phone number and email address to patients in order to provide this type of direct access. Benefits to this model include the ability for more individuals to access and afford the high-end medical care, as they may not be able to afford a monthly fee or may only need a medication management visit every few months. Both models offer different pros and cons depending on the patient population and services that will be included in the subscription fee.

Patient Advantages

In today’s world, patient satisfaction is essential, and the quality of service is an important factor when selecting help from medical professionals. By choosing to work with a concierge psychiatrist for one’s mental health care, patients benefit from immediate access to their clinicians. Not only is the ability to contact one’s psychiatrist with minimal barriers important, but the office experience is crucial as well.

Oftentimes in a concierge psychiatrist’s practice, there will be minimal waiting time upon check in. Appointments will often be a minimum of 30 minutes in duration. Concierge psychiatrists also work to coordinate care in a timely and thorough manner with the other clinicians and clinicians involved in a patient’s care. For select patients, concierge psychiatrists also provide in-home visits and can provide services on-site when needed.

Concluding Thoughts

Concierge psychiatry is quickly proving to be a solution to some of the challenges faced in the traditional health care system in outpatient psychiatric clinics. Mental health challenges continue to impact a growing number of individuals and there will continue to be a demand for accessible and comprehensive personalized treatment options. With the delivery of care through concierge psychiatry, patients do not have to contend with long wait times or feeling as if they are rushed through appointments. Instead, patients are able to achieve well-being and optimal mental health through dedicated concierge psychiatrists that prioritize their care. Concierge psychiatry is reshaping the landscape of exceptional mental health care through its innovative mode of delivering mental health treatment.

Dr Choulet is a concierge sport and performance psychiatrist and the president of the American Board of Sports And Performance Psychiatry. You can check out her website here: www.brookchouletmd.com

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