Getting access to quality healthcare can be difficult in the United States, despite the fact that we have a huge number of experienced and skilled medical professionals. Insurance limitations, wait times, and affordability are important factors in who gets easy access to advice and early treatment.
The good news is that there are several trends emerging that could help more Americans get access to better care. Concierge medicine, which emphasizes care quality, relationships with patients, and preventative medicine, is on the rise. Here’s what you need to know about concierge medicine as a whole—and the four types of concierge healthcare that have emerged in the last few years.
Concierge Medicine Services Essentials
Under the traditional model of care, patients don’t get much access to their doctors. They wait weeks for appointments and generally only get to spend an average of 18 minutes with their medical provider. Understandably, many patients are tired of paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to their insurance companies for this experience.
Concierge medicine emerged to provide greater access for patients. Also known as direct primary care (DPC), concierge healthcare is typically offered on a subscription basis and emphasizes access and quality care. Under most concierge plans, patients pay a flat monthly or yearly fee to work with a physician.
There are lots of perks for patients under the concierge model. They get to call their doctor with questions, can often arrange for same-day appointments, and get to spend more time with their doctor when they’re in the office. Additionally, patients who have concierge access may be more likely to mention small concerns as they come up and get early treatment, which ultimately leads to better outcomes.
Although there are several types of concierge medicine available, they are often combined to suit patients’ needs. Concierge medicine offers personalization and a better experience overall.
Therapeutic Medical Services
People often underestimate the importance of therapeutic communication in medicine. Nurses and doctors have to be able to connect with patients, gain their trust, and serve their physical and emotional needs.
Therapeutic medical services are an important feature of concierge healthcare and a key reason many people switch to the concierge model. Humanity is an important ingredient in quality care. Traditional models, which focus on getting patients in and out quickly, is not focused on the patient experience.
Concierge medicine that focuses on therapeutic medical services allows patients to relax and to feel like they matter. Quality communication and care reduce errors and ultimately allow patients to enjoy better health.
Boutique Concierge Healthcare
Many people bypass traditional medical models by turning to boutique concierge healthcare. These high-end services allow patients to directly contact their doctors and can be quite expensive. In exchange for the high price tag, however, patients enjoy more time and attention with their doctors. They can get advice not only on their immediate health concerns, but on topics like diet, lifestyle, stress, and more.
Boutique concierge healthcare is unfortunately not an option for everyone. Only those with the means to pay for low patient-doctor ratios and unlimited access can gain the benefits. But as this model expands, we may see more ways to make these services affordable for more patients.
Subscription Concierge Medicine Model
Most DPC arrangements use the subscription model instead of fees for service. This has a number of benefits. Patients don’t have to wait until their next appointment to ask a question, and they can discuss health concerns early, before they turn into a major problem.
Concierge subscription plans vary significantly in cost, generally running around $1500-2400 per year, but they also offer another important advantage for both doctors and patients. The model pays doctors for the time they spend with patients, not for tests and treatments. This incentivizes better care.
Virtual Concierge Medicine
Today, many medical services are going virtual, and concierge medicine is no exception. Virtual services allow for easier communication between doctors and patients while improving access and convenience. With virtual concierge medicine, patients don’t have to go into the office to get their questions answered, cutting down on travel and wait times.
Virtual concierge medicine can also help elderly patients who need monitoring in order to remain in their homes reducing ageism in healthcare. With lower doctor-patient ratios, medical staff can keep an eye on patients’ health via virtual consultation, sensors, and trackers.
Concierge medicine is a win-win for doctors and patients. It helps to cut down on invasive procedures and in-person appointments while giving patients peace of mind and better, more personalized care. Concierge services are on the rise and we can expect to see this model become even more popular in the next few years!Last modified: November 27, 2020