I think we have all made New Year’s resolutions at some point or another. And I think we all have broken those resolutions at some point too. For several years, I just gave up and didn’t make any resolutions at all! This year, why not look into a trend in healthcare that may help keep you motivated to stick with that pro-health resolution!
Traditionally, when we go see our doctor, we expect to wait… in the waiting room, then again in the room for the doctor, and then if there are any tests to be done, wait again for the nurse. THEN we check out. So for our 15-20 minute visit, we have just now spent a good 2 hours on average. Did you know that the average Primary Care Physician has ~2500-4000 individual patients? WE DO! And did you know that the average primary care doctor sees ~25 patients a day? And all the phone calls, lab review, peer-to-peer consults to get testing approved is done in between appointments. Unfortunately, this is the world of medicine for primary care as it stands today.
Here comes concierge medicine! It’s called several things – direct patient care, concierge, boutique, but in essence they all provide something just a little different. These practices have a low total patient panel of 250-800 individual patients. Having a lower total patient panel, gives the physician more time with each patient and therefore we (doctors) have enough time to answer most of your questions and still be on time for the next patient. Most patients have a minimal wait time before being taken back into the room and then typically the doctor is close by ready to start the visit. These visits are usually longer in length, sometimes an hour long!
There are some other perks of concierge medicine. You can expect same day/next day appointments, having access to the physician 24/7 via their cell phone/email, etc, and a deeper dive into your health once a year to look at different aspects that are not covered by insurance. Now this last item is customized by the physician, so each practice does this differently. This personalized exam is covered by your membership into the practice. In addition, some physicians will even do home visits if you are really ill or handicapped and relatively close to the area. Sometimes, there are procedures or different tests that need to be done in the office, and therefore a trip to the office is needed, regardless of how ill someone feels.
What’s the cost? There is an extra fee for this type of practice, but there are things that are provided in this type of medical practice that isn’t the current norm. What’s it worth to you to get seen the same day you call? What’s it worth to have your child seen that same day that school calls you with a fever? What’s it worth to you to have the same doctor to call in the middle of the night with a serious concern? What’s it worth to look deeper into your health and try to do your best to prevent upcoming health issues? Preventive care is changing rapidly. There’re ideas and theories about looking at different aspects of health regardless if you are having specific problems in that area (lung function, EKG, etc).
So take a look at these practices! We are looking out for you and wanting to prevent the train wrecks of health before they happen, be your partner in your healthcare, help keep you on the path to a healthy life, and be there for you when you need us. Invest in yourself… your health. You are the only person who can change your future. Get the guidance of a physician dedicated to preventive medicine, who’s on your side and stick to this year’s health resolution.