Concierge medicine has comprised a growing number of internet searches over the past 10 years. If the previous 10 years have contributed to a growing awareness of concierge medicine, what awaits us in the next 10 years?
One possibility: a perfect storm of healthcare problems and promises elevates concierge medicine to the forefront of primary care. Here’s why that could play out.
Because concierge medicine gives doctors what they want
A majority of physicians describe their morale as low or negative, are overextended or at capacity, and lack the time they need to provide the highest standards of care.
Applied to any other profession, such insight would spur alarm bells. Perhaps because of the vaunted position physicians hold in society, enough people aren’t attuned to their professional and personal needs. The physicians themselves, however, are attuned to their needs. Which is why many look at concierge medicine, which provides:
- Fewer overall patients
- More time per patient
- Feasible workloads
- Reduced stress
Physicians aren’t alone on these particular front lines. Nurses, too, are raising red flags: 90% of nurses in Massachusetts report they do not have enough time to properly care for their patients, and 77% report medication errors.
Something must change in the coming years. One viable scenario is concierge medicine seizing the opportunity to help medical professionals reclaim the healthcare landscape for themselves and their patients.
Because concierge medicine gives patients what they need
Pressure on physicians to deliver care at breakneck speed has made its way to patients, who face no shortage of articles about how they can best manage doctor appointments. Not “manage their care” or “manage their symptoms,” but rather manage their appointments. Recommendations include keeping extensive notes beforehand, recognizing the demands on the doctor’s time, and asking if there are resources that can be reviewed after the appointment
This “appointment rush” contributes to a level of uncertainty that leads patients to seek additional care after being discharged for treatment, further taxing health care professionals. Such uncertainty can be alleviated in part by taking the time to acknowledge and validate a patient’s concerns. If a physician has such time available, that is.
Juxtaposed against the response at a place such as New York’s Priority Private Care — where one patient experienced a reduction in treatment time from five hours down to 40 minutes, and received exclusive support from a physician, a technician, and a physician’s assistant at 3:30 in the morning — it’s clear that, like doctors, something must change for patients, too.
It’s possible to provide exemplary patient care without requiring borderline intolerable wait times. One such way is leveraging technology such as the GE Lunar iDXA Bone Densitometer. This research-grade whole body assessment machine works across a broad range of patient sizes and conditions so that physicians can determine the precise locations of muscle, bone, and fat in a patient.
As the graying of America’s continues, muscle tone and bone density will be two important factors in designing an effective health plan for patients. Muscle tone for its importance to balance, movement, and energy levels. And bone density for its role in heading off or addressing issues related to osteoporosis. Identifying a patient’s fat composition is equally important. Especially when it comes to visceral fat, linked as it is with metabolic disease, insulin resistance, and risk of death.
All body fat is not created equal in terms of associated health risks. Visceral fat is strongly linked to metabolic disease and insulin resistance, and an increased risk of death, even for people who have a normal body mass index. Subcutaneous fat doesn’t carry the same risks — some subcutaneous fat may even be protective
A seven-minute DXA scan provides physicians with vital data on muscle tone, bone density, and visceral fat (among other things). It’s as swift as such an exhaustive overview can be, meeting the needs of both the physician (personalized care without the associated hassle) and the patient (clear, unequivocal information captured in less than half the time of a television sitcom).
Because concierge medicine helps deliver a remarkable client experience
Five hours or 40 minutes: if the patient is you or a loved one, there’s a clear winner in the length of time you’d prefer waiting for medical care. A reduction like that, coupled with highly personalized care, creates a remarkable client experience.
And the value of a good client experienced cannot be overstated. Customers are willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service; it is markedly more cost effective to keep a current customer than obtain a new one; and more than 90 percent of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with that company again.
Price Waterhouse Cooper survey respondents put a 14% price premium on an annual physical. That is, they’d willingly pay that much more for a great customer experience. That same survey found that nearly 80% of American consumers say that “speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience.”
It’s clear, unfortunately, that “speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service” don’t comprise the typical American medical care experience. Despite the fact that the U.S. spends more money on healthcare than other industrialized nations, patients are the least satisfied with their care. One study determined that this dissatisfaction is spurred in part by issues such as ineptitude, disrespect, waits times, poor communication, and substandard amenities. This dissatisfaction impacts more than a practice’s income; it can materially degrade patient outcomes, as well.
It’s difficult, although by no means impossible, to imagine this continuing for another decade.
But as the market influence of the largely health-conscious millennials (who, keep in mind, grew up in the age of the internet, Amazon, and near-instant gratification) and aging Baby Boomers converge on the U.S. healthcare system, it’s likelier that a notable change will ripple through the industry. A change enabled in part by technological developments such as the DXA densitometer and led by concierge medicine, with its focus on personalized care, extended doctor-patient times, proactive measures, and convenience.
We are here for you
If you would like to offer concierge medicine services and begin improving patient care, contact Complete Medical Services. We have more than 20 years of experience we can put to work for you immediately.