A conversation about personalized healthcare with XO Partner Private Medical
XO Partner Private Medical is a discreet, referral-only medical family office that provides unparalleled personalized primary medical care to families with a platform of internists, pediatricians, naturopathic doctors, and gynecologists/women's health experts that work as a team to care for whole families. Providing local care in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley, Private Medical is supported by a global network of physicians and elite academic research centers; together, they serve as the premier clinical team for families who value a medical relationship that is dedicated to preventative healthcare, expert advisory, and advocacy.
We spoke with Private Medical Founder and CEO Dr. Jordan Shlain to learn more about the company’s story and the unrivaled personal care and medical resources that the practice offers its members. To learn more about XO Member Benefits with Private Medical, see here.
XO: Can you share more about the beginnings of Private Medical?
JS: I realized that in the late 90’s that medicine had lost its way. The entire healthcare system was more interested in What’s the matter with you? instead of What matters to you? Doctors didn't have enough time, and patients certainly didn’t get the time they wanted and deserved. It felt like healthcare was becoming commoditized by deprofessionalizing doctors and dehumanizing patients. After a chance encounter with the concierge of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, San Francisco, who enlightened me to the standards of five-star service, I had my “aha” moment. It was at that moment, in 2002, that I founded Private Medical. My vision was to set out to apply the principles of hospitality and dignity to the design and experience of medicine ‒ for doctors and patients.
XO: What healthcare and medical services does Private Medical offer its clients?
JS: We take care of families ‒ oftentimes multiple generations of the same family ‒ to provide long-term strategies for their health and well-being. Our platform includes internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, and naturopathic medicine. We are also blessed with physicians who are also board-certified in cardiology and infectious disease. We embrace the best of Western medicine while keeping an open mind to nonpharmacologic methods to solve problems. Most of us think we are “healthy” because nothing hurts, nothing is bleeding, and nothing seems abnormal, yet there are always silent issues going on under the surface. The goal of a great doctor is to identify these silent issues early in their progression and prevent them from becoming a problem later in life. We are very proactive and focus on prevention to ensure our members live a long and healthy life.
XO: Who is your typical client and what can they expect as a Private Medical member?
JS: Our typical client is someone who has a healthy family and wants to keep it that way. Let’s face it, health is freedom. Candidates for Private Medical are people who are genuinely interested in their long-term health and view their well-being as their most important asset. Our clients are discerning and value the combination of a doctor, an advisor, and a fiduciary all wrapped up in one. Our network of world-class scientists at top academic medical centers enable us to get profound expertise. We effectively take a data-centric, portfolio approach to their health and co-develop strategies to mitigate short-term and long-term risk.
XO: How do your members typically find you?
JS: We operate as a referral-only membership-based service, and new members find us through our current members. We have offices in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, and Los Angeles and maintain deep relationships with partner doctors in over 200 cities around the world who are available to provide local care.
XO: How have XO Members taken advantage of Private Medical’s services?
JS: A lot of XO members are a part of our service and they are big referrers of new members. You don’t recommend a service ‒ especially something as personal as a doctor that cares for your family ‒ if you don’t believe in it. And our 98 percent retention rate furthers the point. All XO Members who join Private Medical receive 5 percent off their first year of membership fees.
XO: How do Private Medical and XO align as partners?
JS: We align well because we're both focused on quality, efficiency, and impeccable service. We share a goal of getting members from point A to point B with as little friction as possible, knowing you’re in great hands along the way.
XO: How does pricing work?
JS: We're a premium service with an annual membership fee. We cover all care in our office and provide 24/7 access. We make sure that your insurance pays for all the things it should pay for, including blood tests, immunizations, specialty appointments, MRIs, and hospitalizations.
XO: Can you share more about the physicians and experts in the Private Medical network?
JS: Our team is truly exceptional. Our doctors are approaching the peaks of their careers with medical degrees from the likes of Yale, Harvard, Georgetown, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and UCSF. As a result, we have very strong clinical relationships with leading academic medical centers which makes it easy to do physician-to-physician consults. Furthermore, we have access to leading clinical experts at major medical centers, including Stanford, Harvard’s Boston Childrens, UCSF, NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell, and Memorial Sloan Kettering.
XO: Can you share more about the bespoke nature of your concierge medicine?
JS: When a new member joins, they undergo a detailed baseline evaluation so that we can gain an understanding of who they are. We take a detailed look at their historical records to understand how their past fits into their present state of health. We offer cutting-edge genetic analyses as well as a microbiome analysis. These state-of-the-art tests offer us a deep dive into their past and present, mapping their possible risks for the future. We look at each system ‒ neurology, cardiovascular, endocrine ‒ and assign a risk score, which helps us to understand the frequency of surveillance in each area. We also do everything to understand our members’ risk tolerance and personalize everything based on their preferences. In the case that treatment is needed, some people want to take the most aggressive approach, while others want to be more conservative. We spend a lot of time listening to our members, and then we organize all their care in the background so that they can live their lives.
XO: What differentiates your service model from the traditional doctor-patient relationship found in a typical medical practice?
JS: Our ethos is simple ‒ we meet our members where they are.They can pick up the phone and call us, email, or text. We are a subscription service that sits on the same side of the ledger as our clients. That is, if someone has a positive outcome, we realize a positive income. If someone has a negative outcome, we also face a negative outcome because we're spending more time against a fixed dollar amount. For the record, this is very different than most doctor-patient relationships. Typically, the sicker a patient, the more a doctor gets paid. That is not the case with Private Medical. We realize that the healthcare system makes their money by doing things. And, sometimes, doing nothing is the right answer, and avoiding the medical system is the right answer. Instead of getting a procedure, there may be five other strategies that will get you the best outcome with the least resistance. We are not financially incentivized to work with particular providers ‒ labs, hospitals, specialists ‒ so, if we recommend a visit or a test, it is because we believe you need it, and we don’t get paid extra either way. We have a very strict no conflict of interest policy.
XO: Why do you think it is important for people, especially now, to think critically about how they access medical advice and services?
JS: The healthcare system is a business, and, in many ways, it’s a flawed one. It’s very uncoordinated, and, as such, it is under a tremendous amount of strain right now. Many doctors struggle to keep up with the bureaucracy trying to figure out how to make their businesses work. And if you’re looking for a meaningful doctor-patient relationship, what you’re going to find is a system that’s conflicted and confused. Bottom line, when it comes to long-lasting health, the care you get is not something you want to leave to the last minute. When you need it most, do you really want to rely on a broken system? We think not. So we’ve worked hard to provide a system that’s working for you before you need it and is available when you need it.
XO: How have Private Medical’s services helped clients during the COVID-19 pandemic?
JS: We saw this pandemic coming as early as December 2019. We started buying PPE and collecting viral swabs in January and February. We knew that if this virus really hit us, these resources were going to be in short supply. We hoped that the virus wouldn’t come, and we would be able to donate all these supplies, but we were fully prepared when it did. One of our doctors in Beverly Hills worked as an infectious disease expert at Cedars-Sinai for 20 years before joining Private Medical, and she has been an invaluable asset over these past six months. Our 25 physicians also meet once a week to discuss the latest findings and wrestle with the nuances of this disease. Because of our model, we can make the time to deeply understand primary research in medical and science journals. Our doctors often reach out to the authors to dig into the research. Occasionally, we’ve provided opportunities for our members to meet these experts directly through our virtual medical and scientific events. So, we are uniquely prepared to help people navigate how to live their lives through this moment. Right now, the evidence and science is flowing fast. We are purveyors of pursuing the truth, and the truth is not black and white, it's gray. We specialize in being able to understand the spectrum. And our members know we’re paying extremely close attention to this pandemic. They know they are not alone through this.
XO: How do you think medicine and healthcare will evolve in a post-COVID world?
JS: I think you will see many retail clinics at your local Walgreens and CVS pharmacies. There's going to be less of a human element, and people are going to increasingly try to force AI and big data and chatbots as solutions. There will be more virtual medicine in the form of video visits, which could be a good thing. It's far more efficient to do a Zoom visit than it is to drive to the doctor’s office, park, and sit in a waiting room. I believe that if we integrate more consumer-friendly approaches ‒ modeled off the likes of Amazon, Apple, and Netflix ‒ into the healthcare system, it will make the experience of healthcare more palatable.
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