Back pain case study

Back pain is common. It is the second-most common reason for symptom-related doctor visits and 84% of adults will have back pain at some point in their lives. Here’s how it would work in concierge care.


Back pain typically comes on suddenly. When it happens you typically want to be seen soon. A concierge practice with a smaller patient panel will be more likely to get you seen the same day. (The current same day appointment rate for our clinic since opening is 99%.) Given that the total cost for the visit is only $10, you will be much less likely to put it off than if you knew you would have to pay $130 for a typical visit. When seen, we will likely focus on less expensive medications such as ibuprofen, a muscle relaxant, or tramadol with narcotic prescription being a less-common and short-term option. We also will likely work on a plan to get you back to work as soon as possible rather than requiring an extended absence. We will likely follow protocols recommended by national pain specialists and orthopedic specialists as opposed to the protocols developed by insurance companies that are currently being used in many physician practices.  Also, as the cost of the visit is minimal, you may not have to bother to filing a workman’s compensation claim. Most cases do not need an immediate MRI, saving money for the patients whose back pain gets better in a couple weeks. If your back pain persists and you need to be seen again, your repeat visit only costs $10. You may be directed to physical therapy that is less-expensive but still high-quality. If you need an MRI you may be directed to a less expensive option that may result in a charge of $600 instead of $2200. If you need to be referred for specialty care or injections, you will likely be referred to a specialist that has a lower visit cost and does not focus their practice on maximizing the number of injections given to you. If you are in the unlucky minority who need back surgery, you will be referred to the best available surgeon who fits your needs, not just one who practices in a specific hospital. Your pre-operative physical would again only be $10 rather than the more typical $350 for a preoperative consultation. If appropriate a surgicenter might be used which could save you up to $10,000 compared to what you might be charged in a hospital.
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