Concierge Medicine: A Solution to the Access Gap

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Concierge medicine is a booming trend that is sweeping the nation, and for a good reason. It focuses on providing patients with personalized care in an environment that provides a more personal experience. This approach to healthcare has proven beneficial for both doctors who practice concierge medicine as well as their patients. It’s a great solution for those experiencing the access gap currently plaguing America’s healthcare system.

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If you are not familiar with concierge medicine, here is a rundown of how it works, why you should consider it, its benefits, and why it’s time we started thinking outside of the box when it comes to our health care.

What Is Concierge Medicine?

Concierge medicine is the practice of providing a higher level of personalized and comprehensive medical care to a restricted patient group for an annual fee. Concierge medicine is not new, but it has been increasing in popularity due to the Affordable Care Act. Rather than focusing on volume like most traditional practices, concierge physicians focus on quality with a smaller number of patients.

Recent insights on concierge medicine by Dr. Erin Reese reveal that up to 30% of physicians are practicing concierge medicine, with the number growing every year. In a recent survey conducted by Becker’s Hospital Review, 23% said they’d had patient inquiries about it, and 18% were considering getting on board.

How Does it Work?

Concierge medicine works in a unique way. A patient enters the practice as a member, and they have access to same-day appointments. Patients are able to get care from their physician in areas of preventive health, chronic disease management, personal wellness coaching and more. The goal is for patients to take control of their health by being proactive, rather than reactive. 

With concierge medicine, patients meet with the same physician each time they visit. The doctor addresses concerns thoroughly and a treatment plan is created together. This allows patients to get a more comprehensive understanding of what is going with their health, since they are not meeting with a different doctor each time they visit.  

Why Do People Opt for a Concierge Doctor?

Most people choose to visit a concierge doctor for one of three reasons:

  • They feel like they are not getting enough time with their primary care physician who may be overwhelmed with a high number of patients
  • They have medical problems that are not being addressed because their PCP is overbooked and doesn’t have enough time to talk with them thoroughly
  • The person can afford the peace, quiet, privacy, and comfort that concierge doctors offer in a comfortable office setting 

Usually, a concierge doctor will first meet with a potential patient to determine their needs before accepting into their patient roster. Some of these doctors offer house calls for more serious issues, while others will come into your home for a basic physical medical examination

The Benefits of Visiting a Concierge Doctor

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There are many benefits of seeing a concierge doctor: 

  • You’ll have access to the same medical care as someone with insurance, without having to wait in line
  • Your out-of-pocket cost for services will be much less than if you were going through an insurance company
  • It’s more convenient because they’re open on weekends and evenings when most specialists are not
  • You’ll often have access to the doctor’s cell phone, so you can reach them whenever you need help 
  • They’re in-network with most major insurance carriers, so your out-of-pocket cost will be less than if you had a non-in network provider

Opting for Concierge Medicine Is Worth It

While opting to receive care from a concierge doctor may come at a higher cost, the benefits you receive are well worth the expense. There are no excessive wait times, and your out-of-pocket costs could even be reduced. A concierge doctor is also a good option if you need more flexible access to medical care. 

Concierge doctors are an example of a solution for people who feel like they need more time with their primary care physician. These doctors have better availability and spend enough time talking about your healthcare needs without you feeling rushed or pressured to get through your concerns quickly.

Concierge medicine is growing in popularity, and it is only a matter of time until this service becomes more common across the country.

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