BY HANNAH KOHUT | January 17, 2013 — DEERFIELD, IL — Twenty years ago, Deerfield-based internist Jeff Foreman, of Highland Park, was working the stock markets on Wall Street. After all, Foreman said that’s what he originally went to school for.
But in his heart, Foreman said he always wanted to help others.
“I got close to the age of 30 and said if it’s not now it’s never,” Foreman said. “So I started (medical) school when I was about 32 and finished when I was about 39.”
Foreman, an internist, said, he did not make the career change for the salary or job security; he genuinely wanted to help people.
So now, Foreman said he focuses on personalized health care, making sure to spend quality time with each of his patients – even if it means going to their home.
Yes, Dr. Foreman makes house calls, in a day and age when the practice is rarely heard of.
The practice is called concierge service, though Foreman said he tries to avoid using that word.
“Sometimes it sounds too unobtainable for people, and it’s really not,” Foreman said.
The house call and 24-hour service, which Foreman said he provides personally, is all included in a yearly fee to his patients. Once you are his patient, Foreman said you have access to him any time you need him.
“They have my cell phone number,” Foreman said. “How many doctors give his or her cell phone to somebody? Some do, but not many, and very few give it to all their patients.”
Foreman said he used to work in a traditional practice, but was concerned that his patients weren’t getting enough quality time with him to discuss their cases.
“They (experts) say the average Medicare visit is 7-10 minutes,” Foreman said. “Once you get in the office, to get through somebody’s medications is going to take 2-4 minutes if they’re older and sick.
Now that Foreman is out on his own, he spends a minimum of 30 minutes with each patient.
“It makes for a much better relationship; it makes for a better experience for the patient,” Foreman said. “I think the care they receive is a little higher quality because their issues are being addressed.”
Foreman said he realizes that some of his patients are either too sick or too injured to safely leave their home to come to his office – so his answer was to go to them.
“If someone needs to be seen and if it’s snowing outside and it’s safer for me to go there than to have them get out, I’ll go there,” Foreman said.
Though his patients are aware that the house calls are a part of the services they pay for, Foreman said some of them are still surprised by it.
“I had a lady who just had surgery and she was very concerned about it, and I said I’m not very busy today, I can just come over and take a look at it,” Foreman said. “She was really like, you’ll do that?”
At the end of the day, Foreman said it’s all about patient fulfillment and satisfaction.
I’m doing this professionally, and personally I’m so gratified because it’s what I got into medicine to do, is to help people,” Foreman said.
The American Academy of Private Physicians said the concierge doctor movement will “forever change American health care by restoring the doctor-patient relationship of times past.” The AAPP also states that such care removes many of the constraints that “have infected our health care system.”