How Is Concierge Medicine Different from Regular Doctor’s Visits?
Concierge medicine is becoming more and more popular among patients and physicians alike. Over the last six years, the number of physicians practicing concierge medicine has increased by approximately 7%, and 95% of these physicians report enjoying their practice more after making the switch. This is largely attributed to the improved doctor-patient relationship fostered by the concierge model, which allows doctors to get to know their patients better, dedicate more time to a given patient’s care, and actually see their patients’ health improvements as they happen. Of course, the popularity of concierge medicine indicates that this model works great for patients, too – and, in today’s blog post, we’re exploring why. How is concierge medicine different from traditional care, and what does that mean for your health journey? Just keep reading to find out.
24/7 Physician Access
The concierge approach to medicine hinges entirely on the establishment of a relationship between the doctor and the patient, and that starts with access. In a concierge plan like ours, you get 24/7 access to your physician via phone, text, or email. This does a number of things: it gives you the ability to address any health concerns or questions immediately, no matter when they arise; it enables your doctor to stay up-to-date in real time about your experience; and it allows you to establish a rapport with your physician that goes beyond the occasional in-office visit once or twice a year. This is important: the more in tune your physician is with your habits, lifestyle, personality, and routine, the clearer their picture of your health becomes – and, in turn, the more comprehensive their care.
Have you ever tried to schedule an appointment with your physician only to find that the next available one was days – or worse, weeks – away? As physicians’ time becomes increasingly limited and patient demand rises, it can be more and more difficult to secure last-minute (or at least time-efficient) appointments with primary care physicians. If you’re interested in a concierge medicine model, we recommend going with a physician who will offer you priority appointments. That way, if something urgent comes up, you won’t have to worry about rearranging your entire schedule or waiting forever to see your doctor.
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In addition to priority appointment scheduling, one of the most impactful and important parts of concierge medicine is that it gives you longer, higher-quality face-to-face time with your physician. The average appointment for a traditional doctor’s visit lasts approximately 17 minutes, with patients and doctors each getting an average of 5 minutes to talk. These time constraints make it very difficult for physicians to get a whole picture of what is and has been affecting their patients. As a result, it can be much more difficult to get to the root cause of your symptoms. On the other hand, the average concierge medicine appointment lasts about 30-45 minutes of uninterrupted time, during which the patient and physician have an active conversation about ongoing health concerns, needs, and plans.
Up to Date Knowledge About Your Health Journey
In a traditional patient care model, your doctor gets updates on your health when you come in for an appointment. This can mean that there can be weeks’ or months’ worth of gaps in their understanding of your health until a periodic in-appointment update is given. Given the very short time you have with your physician in a traditional appointment, this can be a concern: with the limited time you have to describe what’s going on, it’s challenging enough to describe your current symptoms, and even more so to provide a thorough description of your experiences over the last few weeks or months. With concierge medicine, this is a non-issue: you can call your doctor anytime with relevant health updates, meaning that once they see you in-office, they already have an understanding of what is – and has been – going on.
Continuous access to your doctor, combined with longer and higher-quality appointments, means that your physician gets a holistic picture or your health conditions and circumstances. This, in turn, enables them to provide treatment that gets to the root cause of your health issue instead of just masking your symptoms. Symptoms are a sign that something deeper requires special attention, and so many different factors play into your overall health: lifestyle, stress levels, diet, sleep, exercise, family history, genetics, and emotions are just some of the factors that can impact your health and cause symptoms to manifest. By getting to know you, and not just your symptoms, your concierge physician is well-equipped to tackle the underlying causes of illness in order to help you achieve significant long-term results.
How is concierge medicine different from the traditional approach? In many ways, but it boils down to this: concierge medicine places an emphasis on physician access and relationship-building, which in turn sets the stage for engaged, holistic care. If you’d like to learn more about concierge medicine and take the next step on your health journey, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with us.
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