Concierge Medicine: Why You Should Make the Switch

Originally posted on by Amber Theurer | Apr 8, 2020 

concierge medicine

Recall the last time you went to your doctor’s office: You likely spent some unexpected extra time in the waiting room. You probably also waited a few weeks even to be seen, especially if it were a new primary care provider. Thankfully, the healthcare space is changing, and it’s largely in thanks to concierge medicine. 

According to a survey by Merritt Hawkins, individuals wait an average of 18 minutes upon arriving at their doctor’s office, which is usually after waiting about 24 days to see a new doctor. With almost all areas of our lives becoming on-demand, from food delivery to cleaning services, it’s no surprise that accessibility is beginning to reach the medical space as well. Concierge medicine is paving the way for this evolved healthcare landscape.

What is Concierge Medicine?

With concierge medicine, patients receive personalized, accessible care. Patients pay an annual fee, and in exchange, a primary care physical agrees to offer increased attention. While costs range, a study by the American Academy found the average price for concierge medicine care is typically between $77 and $183 per month. This fee opens the door for perks, including same-day appointments, longer exam times, medication home delivery, and 24/7 communication with your physician. As concierge medicine solves most of the pain points of the traditional healthcare experience, it’s on the rise.

The Rise of Concierge Medicine

The key reason why a vast majority of physicians are moving towards concierge medicine is that it allows them to deliver outstanding care to patients. A report from the University of Wisconsin found that nearly half of primary physicians today devote less than 15 minutes to each patient visit, with the typical patients having about 1.6 visits per year. Conversely, concierge medicine physicians spend about 35 minutes on each visit, with patients maintaining an average of four visits per year. Traditional doctors have thousands of patients at any given time – concierge medicine doctors have only hundreds.

Commitment to High Quality Care

Concierge medicine allows doctors to maintain greater bandwidth, which translates to their level of care. With more time and resources, they can genuinely get to know their patients and provide attention at all times – working not only to treat ailments but also to effectively prevent them. Jeffrey Friedman M.D., director of Medicine Community Health Associates and a member of MDVIP, summarizes this best, “Having a deep understanding of my patients, from their medical history, to how things need to be explained to each one, so they understand what they need to do and why means I have to put in the time and effort. The only way I’m able to deliver the highest quality medical care is by being a concierge physician.”

Benefits of Concierge Medicine

Round-the-Clock Doctor Accessibility

With concierge medicine, you can maintain a constant stream of communication with your primary care physician. It’s standard for concierge medicine patients to contact their doctor via call, text, email, and even Skype and FaceTime. Additionally, most concierge doctors guarantee same-day or next-day appointments. Consistent contact allows patients to have an answer to their medical questions at any time – even after traditional business hours. Say your sick or need a prescription refill. Concierge medicine care lets you skip the wait, office time, and copay.

Personalized Care
 Longer and more frequent appointments provide an opportunity for concierge doctors to know you on a deeply personal level. Therefore, they can obtain more information about your daily habits and issues that might have an impact on your overall health.

 With more time for patient communication and attention, concierge doctors can provide quicker results. For example, internists can order tests, read results, and arrange biopsy in a matter of days, rather than a matter of weeks. With specialized care, concierge medicine not only provides treatment, but it also relieves much of the anxieties surrounding medical issues.

Preventive, Not Reactive Solutions
Since concierge doctors have regular communication and face time with patients as well as more time, they can heavily emphasize preventive care. Traditionally, physicians address issues affecting a patient at one point in time and prescribe a quick solution, often ignoring previous events that compounded to create the problem. Conversely, concierge doctors look at the whole patient, analyzing their health history upon each visit. In turn, concierge doctors can identify and diagnose issues as they are arising, instead of after they have already escalated.

Management of All Aspects of Care
Concierge medicine takes a complete look at the patient. Familiarized with your entire medical history, concierge doctors can not only make intuitive connections, but they can also recommend specialists as needed. Think of your concierge medicine physician as a source that both stores and processes your medical data. When they can’t provide you a specific treatment, they can skillfully point you in the direction of one who can and communicate the information needed to do so.

Tips for Making the Switch

With any innovation, there are pros and cons. Since your relationship with your concierge medicine physician is vital, a bit of exploration is needed to find the perfect fit. Here are some tips for getting concierge medicine right:

1. Find the Right Doctor
Begin with the American Academy of Private Physicians, a search tool that allows you to locate concierge doctors by state. You can also find a doctor through a concierge physician network, like MDVIP. Doctors who are a part of concierge medicine systems typically charge a flat fee per year and maintain a strict cap on the number of patients their practices can see. While traveling, patients can also visit the nearest doctor affiliated with said network.

2. Make a House Call
While the majority of the time, you will communicate with your doctor remotely, it’s essential you have a feel for the environment that their practice creates. Before you commit, visit the doctor’s office. Ask relevant questions like how long appointments are, what services are included, and how responsive the physicians are. Keep in mind that as concierge medicine practices limit their patients, you may end up on a waitlist for your top choices.

3. Check Your Insurance
Health care coverage for concierge medicine care varies on a state by state and practice by practice basis. Your health policy may offer procedures that your annual concierge fee may not cover. You may have to pay out of pocket for membership fees; however, it may be possible to use funds from a flexible spending account or health savings account to cover these costs.

The Final Consensus

If you’re looking for high-quality doctors, personalized care, and on-demand medical advice, concierge medicine is right for you. As Charles Dinerstein, vascular surgeon and senior medical fellow at the consumer advocacy organization the American Council on Science and Health puts it, “Concierge medicine, like many other things we purchase, is an experience as much as it’s care — you have a much more personalized, intimate encounter with your concierge doctor.”

Don’t Forget On-Demand Wellness 

Concierge medicine is not limited to healthcare practices. There are a number of companies making wellness more accessible by applying the concierge model to individual services. For example, if you’re looking for a quick physical and mental boost, the ivee app delivers on-demand recovery and wellness IV therapy. Enter your location, choose your treatment, and a nurse will be to your door in just 15-30 minutes.

This is just one instance of on-demand service – with concierge medicine, the offerings are essentially endless. Feeling your best has truly never been easier!

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Easing Stress, Anxiety and Sadness While on Lockdown

The COVID-19 outbreak has taken a huge toll on all of us. Take a look at this post in which we reflected on the death toll and economic impact as well as providing our post-partisan take on the government’s handling of the pandemic. These are uncertain times for all of us. And when uncertainty arises, anxiety is often quick to follow. The pandemic and subsequent lockdown have, quite understandably, precipitated spikes in anxiety and depression throughout the world. Still, as you grapple with the “new normal” it’s important to remember that you are not powerless. You can take control of your mental health and improve your psychological wellbeing by being proactive. 

Image by 6689062 via Pixabay

Here’s how…

Take control of your finances

Your household budget is a balance sheet of income and expenditure. You’ve likely taken a drop in income. But that doesn’t mean that you’re powerless to counteract it by addressing your expenditure. The best place to start is the kitchen. Get used to eating more wholefoods (especially fruits and veggies). Buy fresh when you can. Buy tinned, dried or frozen when you can’t. As you get used to batch cooking and meal planning you’ll be amazed by how much less you spend on food.

Don’t forget about your bills, either. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you need to pay over the odds for your utilities, home or auto insurance. Start running some price comparisons now or investigate local providers and you might just be amazed by what you can save. What’s more, if you’re no longer using your car, you don’t necessarily have to go to the expense of insuring it

Make time for yourself

You’re likely sharing your home with the whole family. As a result, it’s likely feeling a whole lot smaller. It can feel as though everyone is getting under your feet, and inevitably cabin fever may set in. This is why it’s so vital that you (and everyone else in the household) make time for yourself. Remember that you still can, and should go outside to get some fresh air. Take a walk, sit in the park and read a book for an hour. Play some video games or watch a movie by yourself if it helps you unwind but be wary of spending all day in front of a screen. 

Make time for yourself and you’ll return to your family happier and better adjusted with more perspective on your problems. 

Eat more plants, and less of everything else

Fruits, veggies, grains and pulses are packed with nutrients and phytochemicals to keep your body in tip top shape and your immune system ready for battle. However, studies suggest that a vegetarian diet also helps to boost your mood and reduce stress. Not to mention saving you money. So load up on plant based foods and steer clear of anything processed where possible.

Think about supplements

Supplements, so long as they’re natural and not processed, may be something to look into. Herbal supplements and oils, such as CBD oil, may be possibilities, too. Sites like Blessed CBD can provide more information about cbd oil and natural supplements, as well as a good range of products to choose from.

Exercise in whatever way works best for you

Finally, exercise can be a tremendous boon when trying to stay positive and alleviate stress. Exercise floods the brain with endorphins- the body’s feel good chemicals. Furthermore, the idea of wowing people with the new, leaner and healthier you once the lockdown is lifted can be a powerful motivator. 

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And thanks for reading!  🙂