Modern Healthcare Subscription

September 28, 2021
Emmanuel Cohen

Building a healthcare practice can be hard enough without worrying about your client base, equipment maintenance, and processing transactions. Whether you’re just beginning or growing your practice, there are many things that you need to be on top of. While other hurdles can be managed with marketing and attention, accommodating new consumer spending takes a little more flexibility. A new trend in the industry is modern healthcare subscription. It has proven useful in helping healthcare providers expand their practice and make their services financially accessible to their patients. While most people understand the concept of a subscription model, it may be hard to understand its applicability to the medical field, but through concepts like concierge medicine and direct primary care, subscription business models have managed to penetrate the medical industry. So how exactly does it work?

Digitization has transformed the healthcare business in significant ways over the years, from robotic surgery, electronic health records, and other smart care procedures. Not only are technologies helping healthcare businesses improve patient outcomes, but they are also assisting them in managing important operational procedures such as inventory and billing. Recurring billing is one of the inventions that have a lot of promise for the industry.

Through concepts like concierge medicine and direct primary care, subscription business models have managed to penetrate the medical industry. However, there is still a lot of room to experiment with subscription models in other industries.

The Subscription Revolution 

To grasp the possibility, let's take a step back and examine the earlier shift in customer behavioral patterns. No one could have imagined buying things like groceries (Carrefour), ordering a taxi (Careem), or pizzas (Deliveroo) using cellphones just a decade and a half earlier. It was all a dream. Even so, when fantasy becomes a reality, the programs that enable these activities have become so ingrained in our daily lives that we no longer think about them as they have become the new normal. The unexpected explosion of smartphone apps has also helped subscription-based businesses, with Spotify, Amazon Prime, and Netflix among the most successful brands today.

Customers can use subscription-based models to join and leave a service at any time and from any location. It provides customers the freedom to test new products and services, as well as the ability to switch providers at any time if they are dissatisfied. It's also a customer-first business strategy, allowing consumers to pay a small amount to get started with a new product or service rather than a large upfront payment for something they won't be comfortable using after a while. As a result, it not only increases client loyalty but also provides service providers with consistent revenue, allowing them to continue operating without sacrificing customer experience.

Let's take this concept and apply it to the healthcare industry. Subscriptions allow patients to pay recurring payments every month, quarter, or year, depending on their preferences, to gain access to healthcare services at a reasonable cost. They may also be given priority access to their healthcare providers and are protected from any unexpected increases in medical expenditures.

Health Care providers, on the other hand, are guaranteed recurrent pay every month, allowing them to focus on patient care rather than revenue concerns. They may spend more time with patients and build patient loyalty, which will benefit their businesses in the long run.

Benefits of Subscription in the Health Care Industry

The subscription business model is a positive-sum game where both parties benefit out of the arrangement, and the same is true in the health care industry.

Benefits for Doctors

Since the health care subscription billing is made on a monthly basis rather than on a patient-by-patient basis, the disbursement system is more predictable. Doctors can spend more time and provide better care instead of seeing thousands of people during brief visits. Doctors that work with subscription models see around one-fifth of the patients that a regular doctor sees each year. However, the appeal is based on quality rather than quantity, without losing money.

Benefits for Patients

The cost of modern subscription health care is often affordable. The most significant impediment to people receiving adequate health care is the ridiculously high cost. Patients benefit from the subscription-based approach because it does not only help them get the treatment they need but also allows them to focus on preventive healthcare because of the regular visits. Another advantage of the subscription membership model is that visits stay longer because there are fewer patients.

Types of Subscription in Health Care Plan

There are three categories of subscriptions in healthcare. Each of these three options works in the same way. Patients will pay a flat installment cost on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.) to cover their doctor's appointments and procedures. The number of visits that can be arranged may be limited depending on the practice. If the doctor works with children, for example, an unlimited number of visits would make parents feel at ease and supported. For a doctor who performs cosmetic alterations such as Botox injections, on the other hand, setting a monthly appointment limit will encourage clients to reschedule.

  1. Concierge Medicine
  2. Direct Primary Care
  3. Membership Medicine

Concierge Medicine differs from Direct Primary Care (DPC) in that DPC typically does not accept insurance. In that instance, the patient and the doctor figure out a financial settlement. For incidentals such as lab work, X-rays, and prescription medicines, Concierge Medicine accepts insurance. DPCs are less expensive than Concierge Medicine plans due to the lack of insurance oversight.

Successful Examples of Health Practitioners Using the Subscription Business Model

Direct primary care, concierge medicine, and health insurance are some examples of subscription models that are gaining traction in the healthcare industry, with many businesses reporting excellent outcomes. Some notable examples are:

1. Falck Health Subscription

Falck is a global healthcare company that offers subscription services that include doctor visits, emergency medical services, discounted specialist visits, and value-added services like immunizations, baby care, and rehabilitation. In Latin America alone, the company has over 1 million medical and healthcare subscribers paying to get access to primary care and other services as needed.

Falck also works for 300,000 employees in Scandinavia, helping them to best use the local NHS and also to access services that are increasingly unavailable through public payors, such as physiotherapy and psychoanalysis. 

2. Iora Health

Iora provides subscription-based primary care services in the United States and has cut hospitalizations by 40% and ER visits by 20% in comparison to the industry average. They charge each patient a monthly flat fee for about $150, often covered by insurance - instead of using today's baffling and complex system of copays and billing codes. Iora also pairs each patient with a health coach to ensure that they follow the doctor's orders.

3. SevaMob

SevaMob is an Indian healthcare provider that is helping low-income families by providing healthcare services at their homes through a cost-effective subscription-based approach. They do this by reaching low-income groups through mobile clinics for an annual subscription ranging from $4 for children and $10 for adults.

There are numerous successful examples of health practitioners using the subscription business model to increase their revenue. These services are growing fast not only in Europe but across other continents. Falck, for instance, works for 300,000 employees in Scandinavia, helping them to best use the local NHS and also to access services that are increasingly unavailable through public payors, such as physiotherapy and psychoanalysis.

Many hundreds of thousands of elderly Israelis subscribe to services that supplement what is offered by Israel’s excellent public healthcare system. The largest player in this market is Natali which was bought a few years ago by Chinese group Sanpower, which now claims over 1 million subscribers in China.

There is much to like about the subscription model. For a small monthly fee, it enables consumers to access specific health care services economically.

Getting Started

If this model appears to be a good fit for your company, there are steps you need to take to get started. Some people would prefer to go the long way of obtaining a subscription merchant account, implementing mitigation processes, and collaborating with their bank, and other technicalities in between.  In the industry, chargebacks and fraud are fairly common. You give yourself a better chance of limiting the negative impact on your organization by putting in place a protection plan and adhering to industry standards by adopting a secure subscription management app like Chargezen to cater to all the technicalities.

To eliminate the hassle, so they can focus on customer retention and business growth, most businesses rely on subscription management solutions like Chargezen to do the heavy lifting. This subscription app will essentially handle the technology and processing required to take recurring payments from your patients. If you need help getting started, reach out to Chargezen support team or write to me at

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