What’s Concierge Medicine?

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has estimated a decrease in physicians by 91,500 by the year 2020, according to their 2012 Workforce Policy Recommendations Report. As the nation faces an increasing shortage in primary care, patients are turning towards other options. One of the best alternatives may be concierge medicine. The basic concept is that clients who have a concierge doctor on retainer are able to access high quality healthcare as needed. Though this has traditionally only been a possibility for the wealthy upper class, a new healthcare startup trend seems to be developing based upon this system.

The Growing Trend

The Bay Area is inundated with new tech companies looking to change the world; concierge startups are simply the latest innovation. Offering a low monthly or annual fee for primary care and additional costs based on extended services, these companies sell to both consumers and to other companies. Employers are beginning to include concierge services in addition to their employees’ health benefits.

With the introduction of online health insurance marketplaces and Obamacare’s promotion of electronic health records, it only seems logical that concierge services use technology to their advantage. Companies are able to offer more personalized and better quality care for consumers. San Francisco-based Grand Rounds uses a special algorithm to select from half a million physicians based on their qualifications, accuracy, and ratings. The goal is to bring healthcare to the same point as countless other online services, such as Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, etc.

Benefits of Concierge Medicine:

  • Immediate Access: One of the main perks of concierge medical care is the availability of same-day or next-day appointments. Being able to see your physician within a matter of 24 hours is almost guaranteed. Patients can quickly have their pressing questions answered, suspicious moles checked, and simple check-ups completed.
  • Consumer-Oriented Care: Concierge services can provide a healthcare experience personalized for their patients, by getting to know them and spending time learning about their history. This helps to best assist them and subdue their concerns, as well as determine what kind of care needs to be provided.
  • Lower Cost: The significantly lower cost of concierge medicine is most probably its greatest benefit. Patients are able to pay a low monthly or annual rate in exchange for healthcare, making it much more affordable and accessible.

This new concept could be the answer to the current healthcare availability issues in the country. Alternative care may be the key to revamping the system.

Author: Apoorva Anupindi

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