Dr. Michael Devine is one of the founders of Devine Concierge Medicine, along with his brother, Dr. Daniel. Devine Concierge Medicine is a boutique practice centered on a trusting relationship between patient and physician. We had Dr. Michael answer some questions so you can learn about his perspective on patient care, medicine, and why concierge medicine is his solution to a better patient experience.
On Healthcare, Helping People and Being a Physician
Q: Why did you decide to become a physician?
A: Medicine is deeply personal, allowing you to connect and forge a bond with people during some of their most vulnerable moments — something I found to be very powerful and intriguing.
I enjoy the conversation, the teaching, the compassion, and being able to share the knowledge and skills I’ve learned over a lifetime of education to have an impact — a positive impact —on their lives. I just couldn’t imagine being happy doing anything else.
Q: What is your philosophy of medical care?
A: Foresight & Simplicity.
I believe strongly in preventive care and being proactive. The concierge model that we use affords me the time needed to manage my patients’ health by providing continuous oversight and guidance. This directly translates to better health and increased longevity — allowing us to recognize and address small problems before they have the opportunity to manifest as major issues.
Additionally, keeping things simple, by minimizing the use of pharmacologic medications and — when reasonable — guiding my patients to optimize their lifestyle habits, is an underlying theme of my practice philosophy — and I am repeatedly impressed by the results.
Q: How do you approach the interpersonal side of healthcare?
A: Very simply, I treat each patient as a member of my very own family. In fact, being able to do so significantly influenced the decision to build our practice using a concierge model of care. I want conversations with my patients to be open and natural — I want them to feel they can reach out to me whenever they need something.
This is a tremendous paradigm shift from traditional primary care which is largely based on isolated encounters with your physician that are often rushed and occur few and far between with next to no communication in the interim. At Devine Concierge Medicine, conversations are fluid and dynamic. It is my goal for my patients and I to develop a relationship and understand one another. I want them to know that I care about them and that they can rely on me.
Q: What do you value most about the education you received?
A: I have been extraordinarily privileged in my education to have trained at some of the world’s most esteemed institutions, and in paraphrasing the famous words of Sir Issac Newton, have stood on the shoulders of giants.
Training at a place like Johns Hopkins, I learned from master clinicians who cultivated my continued quest for knowledge and carefully crafted the skills that I bring to my patients today. I have gained insights far in excess of the standard — which greatly impacts my ability to provide my patients with the highest degree of expertise in clinical care — and I am forever grateful for my mentors.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being a physician?
A: For me, it’s all about the relationships. I love getting to know my patients, letting them get to know me, and building trust — something I find to be essential to overcome any challenge their health may present them with. I enjoy talking with patients and look forward to spending time with them as I guide them through the process of great health and successful aging (something that is never too early to start thinking about!). It’s my favorite part of my job!
On Concierge Medicine
Q: What is your view on the current healthcare climate in the US?
A: Honestly, in many ways, I find it deeply troubling. Despite more people gaining access to health insurance, there remains a tremendous deficit in people’s ability to access healthcare.
Though our model of care delivery isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, it affords us the opportunity to provide health care — in the truest sense — to our population of patients, giving us the time we need to look out for them, guide them, and, when needed, cure them — establishing great health and promoting longevity.
Q: Why did you choose to start a concierge practice instead of a traditional primary care practice?
A: I chose to build my practice utilizing a concierge model for the same reason I went into medicine to begin with — I wanted to be a good doctor. Removing health insurance from the equation and operating on a predetermined membership fee removes all obstructions between me and my patients. Health insurance carriers can no longer arbitrarily dictate what is “necessary” and what is “not.”
My patients and I are no longer trapped in the broken model of "fee-for-service" that forces isolated "encounters" and does little more than obstruct care, prolong diagnosis and/or treatment, leave little time to be proactive/focus on prevention, and quite frankly, brings undue frustration.
Concierge medicine gives me the time and freedom to coordinate care for my patients, discuss plans of care with their specialists, do house-calls, and be available whenever I am needed. It’s medicine the way it should be — with zero compromises.
Q: What excites you most about starting your own concierge practice?
A: This has been a dream for a very long time, for me and my brother Dan. Long before either of us went to medical school, I can vividly recall talking about doing exactly this: building a private practice and caring for our patients the way we would want to be cared for, ourselves. I couldn’t be more excited to watch my dream become a reality.
Q: Why do you put a heavy emphasis on preventive care and healthy aging?
A: Long story short, this is the essence of medicine — the goal that modern medicine should be aiming for and striving to achieve. Reactive approaches to any problem, whether you are talking medicine or anything else, are often more costly and less effective than their proactive counterparts.
Using evidence-based medicine, and the vast expertise acquired over the course of my years of education and training, I help my patients stay healthy — and live longer — by catching small problems and fixing them early on, long before they ever have an opportunity to develop into major issues.
Q: Why should a patient choose your practice over another concierge doctor or over going to an urgent care?
A: Urgent care is no substitute for primary care. I know that there is little palpable difference between urgent care and a traditional primary care practice, but that is only because of the shortcomings of our current healthcare system. Doctors are often pressed for time, forced to see too many patients, and therefore have very limited availability — even when it is your turn to see them! This makes it extraordinarily difficult to fulfill the basic promises of primary care: being accessible, convenient, and comprehensive.
Concierge medicine was an answer to this, and began to gain a foothold a little over 20 years ago, starting primarily in the Pacific Northwest. It has since grown substantially — an ode to how effective, and beloved it is — and now exists in every state across the country. Interestingly, no two practices are exactly alike in terms of their offering, cost, or patient volume.
Devine Concierge Medicine offers the absolute highest standard of primary care and has emerged as the definitive choice of the Main Line’s most prestigious and health-conscious.
Unlike other concierge-like practices in the area, we are based exclusively on house-calls. Our patients have direct access to us whenever we are needed, and we ensure excess capacity to be able to always accommodate their needs by significantly restricting the number of patients that we accept. Dan and I have trained at some of the world’s most revered and storied institutions, and provide a level of medical care that is unparalleled. We are worth the investment — I guarantee it!