As the United States regains a sense of normalcy in daily life, there is one thing that remains clear as day, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic: America's traditional, insurance-based health care system is in dire need of major reform.
Lockdown restrictions, as well as the threat of the COVID-19 virus, have led to high patient demand for health care they can rely on and trust. It seems doctors and patients alike have become less tolerant of subpar health care services, and the steady decline of the traditional, fee-for-service health care model is a testament to that fact.
In contrast to community family practice, physicians in Concierge Medicine have the freedom to forge close-knit, long-term relationships with their patients. This new and improved health care model allows doctors and their patients to communicate freely without the intervention of insurance companies and corporate hospitals.
From house calls to teleconsultations via phone call or video cha – constant, individualized communication is crucial to keeping patients healthy. This is precisely what doctors have advocated for decades, and Concierge Medicine has successfully made it happen in the modern medical world.
These tried and tested methods are reminiscent of earlier health care iterations, where house calls account for 40% of all doctor-patient interactions.
Apart from your practice being pandemic-proof, there are priceless benefits that come with Concierge Medicine. Here are four important reasons why switching to Concierge Medicine might be the best choice you can make for your career as a physician:
1. No medical third parties, no intermediaries – you call the shots when it comes to your patient's health and well-being.
Physicians get free reign on what is best for their patients without the intervention of medical third parties, such as insurance companies and corporate hospitals. Insurance reimbursements and unnecessary paperwork no longer bog down concierge doctors, and they are free to focus on what matters most: their patients.
Unlike the traditional, fee-for-service model where physician compensation is relative to the number of services incurred, Concierge doctors are paid a flat monthly subscription fee to extend first-class patient care.
Membership-based models such as Concierge Medicine are designed to assure patients that no unnecessary or repetitive procedures are charged to them, thus building a greater level of trust between doctor and patient.
2. Rushed, robotic appointments are not a thing in Concierge Medicine. You and your patient get as much time with each other as needed.
If there is one major pain point about the traditional, insurance-based health care model, doctors never have enough time for their patients. A typical appointment has patients waiting at the lobby for an hour to see their doctor for 5 to 10 minutes.
I think the appeal [of Concierge Medicine] for both patients and doctors is that it addresses a failing of the regular health care system, which doesn't give anyone enough time for what one might call safety care. - Louise Aronson, a professor of geriatrics at the University of California San Francisco
Significant medical studies prove that consistent doctor-patient communication leads to fewer ER trips, as well as lower hospitalization rates.
What's great about Concierge Medicine is how flexible appointments are, considering that most appointments happen outside of the clinic and is heavily reliant on telemedicine. This has increased productivity for Concierge doctors and has made checking in with their doctors less disruptive for patients.
3. Patients have access to your direct line, which means you get to be there for them when they need you most.
While community family practices had no choice but to close clinics and cancel appointments indefinitely, it was business as usual for Concierge doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patients enrolled in Concierge Medicine subscriptions relate their experience to that of having a doctor in the family. Their Concierge doctors are on speed dial, willing and able to extend medical advice at any time of the day, whenever needed.
Physicians being able to check up on their patients anytime (and vice versa) brings down this wall the traditional, insurance-based model has built and creates a more genuine, personalized bond between doctors and their patients.
After all, membership-based models such as Concierge Medicine are an experience as much as medical care. A post-discharge survey entitled A Case for Compassion reveals that what matters most to a patient is not clinical competence but a physician's compassion, kindness, and empathy.
4. Concierge Medicine lets you create a practice that is rewarding and financially sustainable.
A common denominator among Concierge doctors is that they feel their patient advocacy is restored with this new and improved health care model. With Concierge Medicine, physicians can finally materialize the kind of practice they studied and worked hard for during their residency.
Concierge Medicine's transparent, upfront payment terms also relieve physicians of the woes of relying on insurance reimbursements and problematic payment schemes. Happy, secure doctors produce higher patient satisfaction rates!
It, therefore, comes as no surprise that more and more physicians are discovering the benefits of having a Concierge Medicine practice. There are approximately 1,000 Concierge Medicine practices in over 48 states serving at least 300,000 patients as of 2020. Per NPR, these numbers are expected to grow even further in the coming years.
This is great news for doctors and patients alike – more Concierge Medicine practices across America mean it increased patient access to quality health care.
Do you want to start and thrive at your own Concierge Medicine Practice? Then, list your practice for free and maximize your online reach, transforming health care shoppers into patients.
Authored by Harsha Moole, M.D., MBBS
Advocate of healthcare models that promote direct relationship between patients and doctors. Founder @ FindMyDirectDoctor, LLC.
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