Newport-based app offers patients a faster way to see medical specialists

Newport-based app offers patients a faster way to see medical specialists
A view of the Concierge Key Health app shows a sample patient, center, surrounded by a team of specialists. The Newport Beach-based service launched this month in Orange County, Phoenix and New York City, with more areas planned to join in this spring. (Courtesy of Concierge Key Health)

A Newport Beach entrepreneur has created a mobile app that expands the idea of concierge doctors to include specialists.

Concierge Key Health, which launched this month in Orange County, Phoenix and New York City, connects patients who pay $3,000 for an individual annual membership or $5,000 for an annual family plan to expedited appointments with doctors in fields such as cardiology, dermatology, pediatrics, reproductive health, ophthalmology and dentistry.


Founder and Chief Executive Robert Grant said the service empowers customers in a healthcare system that is "increasingly impersonal, bureaucratic and lonely."

Concierge medicine is a doctor-patient relationship that follows a retainer-type model with upgraded service. Members can build teams in their hometowns and areas where they visit. Participating doctors are faculty-level experts, meaning they teach other doctors.

"It's almost like having a quarterback to coordinate the care," said Grant, a consumer healthcare executive who formerly held leadership positions at Allergan and Bausch & Lomb.

Until now, Grant said, concierge medicine has been limited to general primary care physicians with plans that typically run $2,000 to $5,000 a year for individuals only and are limited to one locale.

Grant said he hatched his idea about a year ago when his primary care doctor suggested he schedule a follow-up with a urologist. But the nearest available appointment was about 12 weeks out, which seemed like a long time to wait to address a health concern, Grant said.

Patients typically must have patience when it comes to seeing a specialist. According to a 2017 survey by physician placement firm Merritt Hawkins, new-patient wait times in the Los Angeles market ranged from 12 days for an orthopedic surgeon or gynecologist to three weeks for a cardiologist and more than a month for a dermatologist.

With Concierge Key Health, participating doctors block out time every day for members, allowing visits with no more than a two-day wait, Grant said.

Grant has access to a 700-member physicians cooperative through growth equity firm Strathspey Crown, where he is chairman, giving him a network for populating the service. About 20 Orange County doctors are onboard with Concierge Key.

The system's vetting and exclusivity enable patients to take the guesswork out of evaluating providers, Grant said.

"Yelp is not a good way to figure out if a doctor is good," he said.

Concierge Key's target demographic is people making at least $150,000 a year. Grant said research has shown that the service appeals to tech-savvy adults in their 20s to 40s.

Concierge Key will launch its service this spring in Dallas, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Miami.

Twitter: @Daily_PilotHD