The future of medicine: Concierge medicine and the rise of the personal doctor
Nearly everyone agrees that the current healthcare system in the U.S. isn’t working. Soaring costs haven’t led to better health outcomes, patients feel like no one listens to them or cares about them, and doctors are more overwhelmed than ever. With care fragmented, things frequently fall through the cracks, resulting in avoidable health problems. There’s almost no time for doctors to focus on preventive care and overall wellness.
In this context, a new system has arisen, called concierge medicine. This model aims to reprioritize the doctor-patient relationship. Patients, tired of the status quo, are flocking to the new model. According to the American Academy of Private Physicians, the number of concierge medical practices is growing at the astounding rate of 25% per year.
It’s not just a fad. Concierge medicine and the doctor who knows patients personally is part of the future of medicine. Improving the doctor-patient relationship is where we need medicine to go if we want to create a healthier world.
What is concierge medicine?
Unfortunately, in the modern corporate medical system, most doctors just don’t have enough time. They’re overwhelmed with huge and increasing numbers of patients which leaves them with only have a few minutes with each one. All they can do is perform a quick symptom check, and then refer or treat as quickly as possible. There’s little time to get to know you as a person or go in depth about your health habits.
With increasingly large corporate medical practices becoming the norm, many patients don’t even see the same doctor every time. It’s no wonder that many people feel like a faceless number on a medical chart when they’re at the doctor. We’ve heard stories of patients whose doctors didn’t even look them in the eye during their appointments, focusing instead on the computerized charting system. This is frustrating and disempowering for patients, and it doesn’t get the best results for patients’ health.
Concierge medicine changes this model. Your concierge physician commits to having a limited roster of patients. That means he or she can spend time with each patient and get to know them well. At a concierge practice, you’ll always have the same doctor, and he or she will spend plenty of time with you.
You’ll also have better access to your physician, through email and phone as well as in person. You won’t have to wait for days to see your doctor when you have a problem. Your doctor will be available to you whenever you have a question or need some advice.
A trusted health guide
We certainly don’t lack for information in today’s world. In fact, we’re inundated with it. It’s easy to get buried in an avalanche of information about healthy eating, exercise, sleep, and more. There’s so much out there that it’s hard to know who to trust.
Still, with all of this knowledge available, many people struggle with maintaining healthy lifestyles. You need a trusted guide, who can monitor your health and ensure that you’re on the right track. This focus on preventive care, which is so important to stay healthy and live a long life, is exactly what’s missing from the corporate model of health care.
With concierge care, preventive care is a major focus, and your doctor has the time to spend on it. Your physician has the time to work with you to help you optimize your nutrition, fitness, sleep, and other aspects of your life. This requires not only up-to-date knowledge, but also the ability to help you translate it into action. Only a concierge physician has enough time to spend with you to accomplish this.
An advocate in the health system
If you develop a medical problem and need referral to a specialist, your concierge physician will follow up on the results of the visit, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks (as is common in the fragmented corporate medical system). If you end up in the emergency room or the hospital, your concierge doctor will try to meet you there, overseeing your care. You no longer need to worry about important information getting lost and causing a potentially catastrophic medical error. Your concierge physician has your back.
For those living with a chronic illness, a concierge doctor can provide the best care. Because he or she knows you so well, your concierge physician knows what’s worked for you in the past and exactly what your challenges are. This means your concierge physician can work with you to manage your illness and optimize your ability to enjoy life.
Studies of concierge medical practices have been done, and the results are in: Concierge medicine results in better outcomes. Patients in a concierge medical practice have lower rates of emergency room visits, as well as lower rates of inpatient hospital admissions and readmissions. The differences are striking; for instance, patients in a concierge practice were shown to have a 97% lower rate of readmission to the hospital after a heart attack.
Partly because of this, patients in a concierge practice have significantly lower rates of expenditure on health care. A study showed that the 2300 patients in one concierge practice saved a total of $3.7 million in unnecessary health care expenditures over two years! In a concierge practice, there’s less money wasted on one-size-fits-all treatments that don’t work or create side effects (which then require more treatment), and more time spent on finding the solutions that will actually help you get and stay well. That’s right: being a patient of a concierge practice can save you money and get you better health outcomes.
What’s stopping you?
If you you’re not currently taking advantage of concierge medicine for your medical care, what’s stopping you? You deserve to live a long life, to get and stay well, and to feel good every day. Traditional corporate medicine isn’t providing that for most people. That’s why so many people are frustrated and looking for a way out of this failing system.
Concierge medicine is the best medicine of the future. It’s time for you to step into your healthiest life, with the guidance of a doctor who knows you well and empowers you fully. This is what everyone wants, and it’s only a matter of time before this model becomes a major part of U.S. medical care. Patients simply won’t tolerate anything less.
You deserve to take good care of yourself. You deserve a doctor who personally knows you well and cares for you.