THE DOCTOR IS IN...
By Dr. John J. Pierce, DO ACOEP, ABAARM
When you think of a medical concierge, a private personal doctor tuned into your needs, images of the super-rich pop into your head. With the passage of the affordable care act affectionately known as Obama-care, the rise of medical concierge services has increased and become a common way for middle-income patients to get their healthcare. Patients pay either a monthly fee or an annual one to the doctor to get this service. It has become a trend for many to reduce their primary care coverage to catastrophic coverage, and opt for paying for a medical concierge for their care.
There are many benefits to switching to this service which is quickly gaining in popularity. In the traditional health care system, most of the time clients only visit their Doctor when they feel sick. The doctor looks at the patient with little knowledge of their medical history and orders tests and prescribes medicines that may be unnecessary or potentially harmful. With a medical concierge, the patient has routine checkups with their doctor in which the physician draws their blood, does a physical, and then meets with the patient to analyze the results. The doctor then can make preventative recommendations such as a vitamin regimen, nutritional counseling, and more. By treating the body before it becomes stricken with any form of illness, and monitoring the patients’ health, it results in less spending on the patient’s part. The British Journal of Medicine recently studied a direct care facility and found positive results for the patients. It discovered that the patients experienced “35% fewer hospitalizations, 65% fewer specialist visits, and 82% fewer surgeries than similar populations.”
There is also the personal aspect of signing up for a medical concierge service. On their routine visits to the office, most doctors also perform routine mental assessments of the patient to make sure there are not any signs of potential mental health issues. In addition to this, the doctor makes themselves and their staffs available 24/7 and or same day, next day service to their clients. You can call them with any concerns and speak with someone about them. It’s a holistic approach to treating a patient with a high level of care. And when you do visit your doctor you get quality time with them. Most concierge physicians spend up to 30 minutes with each patient and offer next day or even same day appointments.
Doctors that opt to become medical concierges are bucking the traditional healthcare system and dedicating themselves to better patient care. They are loosening the shackles of a third party pay system and no longer beholding to insurance companies, and Medicare alike. Many are estimating that this trend will continue to gain favor, and more and more patients and doctors alike will be switching to this model. It makes care for both patient and doctor more fine-tuned, productive, and rewarding for them both.