Business

Sorry, Concierge Medicine Isn’t a “Fad”

By Michael Tetreault, Editor-In-Chief

AUGUST 23, 2014 – When was the last time your doctor inspired you to do the right thing for your health or the health of your family? Think about the last time your doctor didn’t have to look at your medical file or chart to know your name?

I can tell you from one of my own experience with hospitals, insurance carriers and enough over-worked, hurried and administratively burdened doctors that I too am ready for a change to occur in the primary care family medicine and group practice across America.

In the new world of medicine, medical homes and concierge medicine practices are delivering some very big results. The health care providers and the medical offices they operate are becoming so successful in today’s over-crowded marketplace because of the simplicity of its delivery. The marketplace is ready for this type of healthcare delivery model and people are looking for alternatives to expensive health insurance. Not to mention, there is a huge uninsured population in America that can’t afford health insurance – concierge medical care is perfect for them at under $135 per month for more than sixty percent of the doctors’ fees out there right now.

As we well know, a new generation of people are lining up at doctor’s offices across the U.S. and abroad to experience old-fashioned healthcare with a modern, relational twist. The idea of a doctor who sees us without delay, returns phone calls promptly, sends us emails, video chats and receives texts is completely foreign. Doctors like this, work in medical offices across the country and are now offering their patients affordable access and personal attention when insurance is a hassle and time is tight.

So, what exactly is making these concierge medical homes attractive, affordable and inviting to everyone? It’s summed up in five words: Price; Compatibility; Relationship; Technology; and Accessibility.

In Thomas Goetz’s article “How To Spot The Future” published in April 2012 edition of WIRED, he outlined seven principles that underlie many of our contemporary innovations. He writes … ‘Odds are that any idea we deem potentially transformative, any trend we think has legs, draws on one or more of these core principles. They have played a major part in creating the world we see today. And they’ll be the forces behind the world we’ll be living in tomorrow … First, look for cross-pollinators. It’s no secret that the best ideas—the ones with the most impact and longevity—are transferable; an innovation in one industry can be exported to transform another. But even more resonant are those ideas that are cross-disciplinary not just in their application but in their origin.’

The vitality we see in today’s Concierge Medicine marketplace resulted from the recognition that long wait times, overburdened physicians and insurance hassles aren’t exclusive to the practice of medicine. In the past two decades, doctors have gone from completing six-hours of paperwork in order to provide a patient with a $4 prescription to routinely emailing, phoning or texting their patients, using Skype visit and iPhone cameras to dispatch medical advice. These doctors have opened up successful practices and there — eagerly incorporating ideas like home visits, free medical advice and treatment of out-of-town family members, cloud-based medical records accessible and updatable anywhere and prescription writing methods into their medical bag that add tremendous benefit to patients for a fraction of the cost that doctors appointments, insurance fees and hospital visits will cost an individual. I’m so proud of these doctors – these innovative caretakers who’ve chosen the patient over paperwork. My hope is that by the time you’re done reading this book, you’ll talk about concierge medicine being “the oldest, new form of medicine.” I also hope that you’ll understand and share this information with your family and friends and tell them that concierge medicine is one of the oldest, proven, free-market healthcare delivery solutions available to anyone at a fraction of the cost of what the media has told you. These doctors are trying to reframe the identity of their practice and eventually the medical industry. And as Goetz says, … ‘that’s testimony to a wave of cross-pollination.’

If you’d like to read Goetz’s entire WIRED article, visit http://www.wired.com/business/2012/04/ff_spotfuture/all/.

For patients, the much-touted benefit of concierge medicine is that the doctor has more time and can provide them greater access. Concierge doctors have 80% to 90% fewer patients, so they can do other things that other physicians simply can‘t …

Concierge medical care doctors are on the forefront of modern business and innovation. Like Taco Bell, the originator of the ‘value menu,’ many modern medical practices across America are actually starting to list their prices to their patients before they require them to make a purchase.

Until recently, primary care and most health care practices were one of the only businesses in America that rarely listed how much they charged for services and products. The eventual evolution of concierge healthcare business models changed all of that. When the 2008 election and 2008 recession came … the world of healthcare in America changed as we know it, forever. People started paying more attention to their credit card statements, health insurance claims, hospital bills and prescription drug costs.

Now with the emergence and passing of a sweeping federal statute, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called Obamacare has come into play. It raises a lot of questions for doctors and patients today who are trying to be served by a heavily regulated, insurance-based American model of healthcare that isn’t paying the doctors enough to stay in practice and isn’t treating the patients with the time and care everyone deserves. Not to mention, doctors and patients coping with the threat of Medicare benefit cuts and lower reimbursements are causing many people [and doctors] to search for an alternative … one of those alternatives I see is concierge medicine.

If you’d like to find a concierge or direct primary care doctor near you, visit http://www.ConciergeMedicineToday.com and click “DOC FINDER.”

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