BENEFITS OF CONCIERGE MEDICINE
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Concierge medicine offers numerous benefits to both patients and physicians. Learn more here.
Concierge medicine synonyms: Boutique medicine, Membership medicine or Retainer medicine
An increasing number of primary care physicians (PCPs) are switching from the conventional model of medical practice to concierge medicine. In concierge medicine, patients pay an annual fee to a PCP for exclusive services.
According to Concierge Medicine Today, a patient opting for concierge medicine usually pays an average monthly fee of $135 to $150. With this fee, the patients can get 24/7 access to a physician and same-day or next-day appointments. Patients can spend more time with their physician. Longer appointments allow for a more intimate patient/physician relationship.
Here are some of the benefits of Concierge Medicine.
Scheduling an appointment with your physician can take days or even weeks. This innovative model can cut down waiting times to less than an hour. In addition, you can get 24-hour access to your physician by using your phone or email. Immediate access improves patient experience and helps reassure patients that they have continuous control over their condition.
In addition to reduced waiting times, concierge medicine also helps maintain privacy while you wait for a physician.
Physicians who practice concierge medicine have clinics that usually provide private waiting areas for their patients. Private waiting areas help maintain patient privacy and improve their experience.
Though personalized care is considered the most important part of a patient/physician interaction, it is quite rare. The main problem being a shorter interaction time.
Because physicians have to see many patients each day, they often have very little time to discuss patient problems during a visit.
For example, a patient with a chronic condition such as diabetes or hypertension wants to discuss lifestyle and dietary factors in addition to medications. However, due to a large number of patients, the physician is unable to provide individualized tips.
What they end up doing is providing general tips that may or may not meet the individual needs of the patient.
The patient panel is quite smaller in concierge practice compared to conventional practice. According to a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) survey, concierge physicians see 10 patients per day, which is less than half of the patients they used to see before they switched to concierge care.
It is a common scenario that physicians spend less than 30 minutes explaining preventive approaches for communicable and non-communicable diseases to their patients. In fact, most of the time, it is only the therapeutic approaches they discuss with their patients.
However, with concierge practice, physicians and patients can discuss the preventive approaches at length and come up with a deeper insight into the problems.
Coordination with specialists
For a complicated health condition, the physician might need to coordinate with a specialist. Such conditions are more common when a patient has more than one disease, which is frequently seen in elderly patients.
The concierge physician not only coordinates with other providers but may also accompany patients during a visit to the specialist. Besides, the physician’s clinic also provides facilities for some lab tests.
Concierge Medicine Benefits to Physicians
Most doctors are dedicated to the welfare of their patients, the complicated healthcare system can become an obstacle. Doctors often spend too much time on paper work and not able to spend as much time on patient care as they would like. Concierge medicine allows doctors to spend more time with patients rather than having to rush patients in and out of the examination room.
The Bottom Line
Concierge medicine presents a win-win situation where both patients and physicians’ benefit. For patients, it means better medical care and improved health outcomes. For physicians, it means enhanced satisfaction and a chance to provide dedicated healthcare.
Concierge medicine offers choices to patients. They can either stick to conventional care or switch to concierge physicians who can provide more personalized care with a host of other interesting features.
For example, same- or next-day appointments, 24-hour telephone access, periodic preventive care, access to a physician through email or telephone, wellness and nutrition planning, smoking cessation support and mental health counseling.
That said, patients should understand that concierge practice is still in infancy in many countries. This means they have to take necessary precautions before opting for a concierge physician instead of their primary care physician. Most notably, it includes proper research on the physician and the contract.
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- Annals of Internal Medicine. Assessing the Patient Care Implications of “Concierge” and Other Direct Patient Contracting Practices: A Policy Position Paper From the American College of Physicians.
- United States Government Accountability Office. Concierge Care Characteristics and Considerations for Medicare.
- The American Journal of Medicine. Concierge Medicine Is Here and Growing!!
- BMJ. The rise and further rise of concierge medicine.
- Concierge Medicine Today. The History of Concierge Medicine in America (1996-Present Day). Retrieved April 28, 2019.
- AAFP. Family Physician Burnout, Well-Being, and Professional Satisfaction (Position Paper). Retrieved April 28, 2019.
- Behavioral Sciences. Factors Related to Physician Burnout and Its Consequences: A Review.
- Internet Scientific Publications. Concierge Medicine: Medical, Legal and Ethical Perspectives. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
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