Concierge medicine offers more than quicker access to care, explains Dr Klemes. “Our doctors have smaller patient panels. Patients can develop a deeper relationship with physicians. There can be a much greater emphasis on prevention and wellness – not just acute care. Physicians can get to know their patients better, and spend more time with each patient.”
One often heard criticism of concierge medicine is that it further drains the pool of dwindling primary care talent by pulling internal medicine and family medicine physicians away from more traditional primary care practices. According to Dr Klemes, this view is misguided.
“Many physicians were ready to leave medicine prior to going into the concierge medicine model,” she explains. “They were finding that the emphasis on high patient volume and greater efficiency in medical care was making it hard for them to take care of patients as they would like.”
According to Dr Klemes, concierge medicine has kept many PCPs in the game by seeing and caring for patients – good physicians who might have otherwise bailed on medicine altogether.
And what about cost? Does concierge medicine simply add another layer of cost to an already incredibly expensive healthcare system?
Dr Klemes thinks not.
“Our research shows that the MDVIP model actually saves the system money,” she explains. “For example, with MDVIP-affiliated practices, there are fewer hospital admissions and re-admissions. There is better continuity of care all the way around – for instance, when patients are discharged from the hospital, they can be seen almost immediately, all medication changes can be implemented, and any necessary post-discharge care can be more efficiently and effectively managed by a physician who already knows the patient.”
“This model can potentially save the healthcare system hundreds of millions of dollars a year,” she adds.
It really boils down to patients having timely access to personalized care – and care of high quality.
“Access to appropriate care when needed, and having the ability to spend adequate time with one’s personal physician, are really more important than simply having a PCP,” says Dr Klemes. “Anyone can be assigned to a PCP on one’s insurance panel. But at the end of day, this doesn’t guarantee access to, or quality of, care. By contrast, concierge medicine can provide timely access to care while meeting metrics for quality of care, and scoring consistently high on patient satisfaction surveys as well.”
Considered in this light, concierge medicine may be just the ticket.
Andrea Klemes DO, FACE, chief medical officer, MDVIP, Boca Raton, FL.
- CMTDPC Journal. Insights & Analysis: Definitions of concierge medicine. Concierge Medicine Today. Updated July 19, 2017. https://conciergemedicinetoday.org/2017/07/01/insights-analysis-definition-of-concierge-medicine/. Accessed August 14, 2017.