Why Concierge Medicine is Revolutionizing Health Care
Remember when you could call up your doctor and see him tomorrow? How about your annual physical, when when he would spend 30 minutes in front of you as he used his skills in diagnostic medicine to examine you, listen, and observe?
Back then, medical practices were paid fairly for the services they rendered. But now, everything has changed. Doctors are forced to see 2-3 times as many patients to earn the same salary as they did 5 years ago. That means seeing a different patient every 10-15 minutes, with more than half of that time being spent inputting data into your electronic records. The same doctor that used to interact with you for 30 minutes is now spending just 15 minutes, of which only a couple of minutes are actually spent engaging you.
Now think about your doctor. When is the last time you spoke with him or her by phone? Or had your physician come to your home for a visit? When was the last time your doctor recommended another physician outside his or her group? If you are like most people, the answer to all these questions is, “Never.”
Oh, and let’s not forget how seeing the doctor impacts your life. You’re pretty busy also… Right?
The Concierge Difference
By limiting the number of patients to no more than a few hundred, and charging a reasonable price that is not subject to insurance, concierge doctors are able to provide the highest level of patient continuity, whether for an annual checkup or same day or next day care. They have the time to talk to patients by phone or email, and to meet patients at the emergency room if needed. They can also act as patient agents and advocates, setting up specialist appointments, ordering tests, and managing all aspects of their patients’ health care. In some ways, your concierge doctor becomes a true extension of family when he’s needed most.
A study published in the American Journal of Managed Care found that concierge medicine significantly decreases health care costs, even when the cost of a membership is factored in. With an average annual per-capita savings of $2,551, and an average membership cost of approximately $2,000 per year, the financial value is clear.
Why concierge medicine- What matters most to you?
- Convenience- When it’s your appointment, a concierge doctor is on time. Adding the rest of the family to your plan provides the same valuable access and convenience for everyone.
- Access to better doctors, surgeons, and rehabilitation specialists. With no corporate ties, the best doctors have the best access to the best colleagues.
- Diagnostic approach- Concierge doctors have the time to devote to you. It is an economic model that works for patients as well as doctors.
- Holistic approach- Concierge doctors are not bound by corporate rules on how to practice medicine.
- Home visits- It’s more than convenient, it means not having to go out when you are in a bad way. A home visit may even help you avoid those dreaded words: “Meet me at the ER.”
- Emergency room experience- When seconds count, you want your doctor, not someone else.
Better Care Equals Better Health
Concierge medicine also shows tremendous improvements in health outcomes. The American Journal of Managed Care study found that patients experienced 56 percent less non-elective hospitalizations, 49 percent fewer avoidable hospitalizations, and 63 percent less non-avoidable hospitalizations than patients of traditional doctors. Readmission rates were also more than 90 percent lower for pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and myocardial infarctions.
The data was confirmed by a British study, which found similar decreases in health care spending, hospitalizations, and specialist visits. Clearly. concierge medicine is beneficial for both doctors and patients.
While concierge doctors tend to have better outcomes than traditional physicians,there is still room for improvement. The fact remains that all concierge practices are not the same, and it is not really about who is better or worse. It is about varying practice philosophies, like the difference between a corporate concierge business with hundreds of local practices, and a forward-thinking small practice incorporating the latest holistic and anti-aging services.
Which practice is right for you?
Do your research. Check with friends, as well as with online physician referral sites like Healthgrade and Vitals. Every concierge doctor should offer a free consultation to make sure you are comfortable with the practice. And don’t forget to ask how many patients are members of the practice. Remember, prices vary considerably based on the type and amount of care needed.
If you have ever wished for an old-fashioned family doctor that you could simply call on when needed, without lengthy waits in a crowded office, even for those unexpected emergencies, concierge medicine may be right for you. Dr. Jan Zislis provides concierge physician services across lower Westchester and Fairfield counties. If you are in the area, why not take advantage of our free, no-obligation consultation to learn more? Simply call Country Doc Concierge at 914-984-5052 to schedule your appointment.
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