Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Lickerman.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Alex. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I had a twenty-year career as an academic primary care physician at the University of Chicago. While there I taught generations of students and residents, and ran primary care and then student health. But as I approached my twentieth year, I decided I just wanted to take care of patients full-time. However, in the current fee-for-service model, to be financially viable primary care physicians must take care of at least 2,500 patients (and sometimes upwards of 4,000!). This translates into an average of only 15 minutes per patient visit in a 40-hour work week—far too little time to practice medicine the way it should be practiced.
So in January of 2016 I left the University of Chicago to start ImagineMD, a direct primary care, or concierge, medical practice. By charging patients $135/month directly and never billing insurance for anything I’ve been able to shrink the size of my patient panel down to no more than 600 patients. This has enabled me to schedule initial patient appointments for 2 hours and return appointments for 1 hour, to provide same-day or next-day appointment availability, and to be directly available to my patients personally 24/7. The kind of unprecedented access to care this model has enabled me to provide has transformed my professional life and the lives of my patients. I now finally have time to think diagnostic dilemmas all the way through, do exhaustive research in the medical literature when needed, and spend enough time with my patients to address all their issues and answer all their questions.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Tragically, my business partner died unexpectedly 6 weeks after we opened. In addition to this being a devastating loss to me personally, her death left a crucial gap in business operations and development.
ImagineMD – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
What I’m most proud of is the degree of access and attention I’m now able to give my patients. I’m never rushed. Instead, I’m able to take the time to get to know my patients—and have them get to know me—in a relaxed setting. I have the time to think every problem through, to minimize the amount of waste and inappropriate overutilization of healthcare resources (i.e., over testing and overtreatment), which is epidemic in the U.S. healthcare system. I’m available to my patients 24/7 so that they never have to feel anxiety about getting in touch with me. I’m practicing primary care medicine holistically, the way it was meant to be practiced, thinking about every aspect of my patients’ health, both physical and psychological.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
To me, success means utilizing my skills to their fullest extent, enjoying my day-to-day work, and consistently delivering the best medical care possible to my patients. It also means spreading the direct primary care model because I see it as a solution to many of the woes currently facing our healthcare system. Success, therefore, would mean opening other ImagineMD offices in Chicago and eventually across the country.
- No other fees apply. (There are no co-pays charged for visits.)
- This fee covers every service we provide (with the exception of certain vaccines).
- Address: 10 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 2225
Chicago, IL 60606
- Website: http://www.imaginemd.net
- Phone: 312-374-5860
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/imaginemd.net
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ImagineMDLLC
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/imaginemd-chicago