If you’ve been following trends in medicine, you may have notice that we’re at the beginning of what I think is going to be a major shift in the way that healthcare is handled by governments, individuals, hospitals, and physicians.
In short, we’re looking at a rise in the development of personal relationships between doctors and their patients, a form of practice known as concierge medicine, in which a patient pays a fee to be a member of a group of physicians and have access to their doctors on demand.
Let’s take a look at this new trend, and what it may mean for your healthcare providers.
A Little Medical History
First, it makes sense to understand some of the backstory that’s going into this trend.
The first element has to do with the fact that for many individuals across the country, healthcare has become something of a commodity, and as hospitals have gradually been acquired by larger and larger corporations, more emphasis has gradually been placed on systematizing the hospitals in a system, often at the cost of patient care.
In other words, in order to be the most efficient healthcare provider possible, hospital corporations have striven to cut costs and make the “standard” of care truly standard across all patient-physician relationships.
In some ways, this is good, as any physician can pick up your chart and treat you in the case of emergency, but the cost has been that it is now extremely rare for patients to see physicians they know and trust.
Healthcare, in a sense, has become impersonal.
The Rise of Concierge Doctors
That framework has set the stage for one of the greatest revolutions in healthcare since the rise of the corporations 30-40 years ago: concierge medicine.
At it’s best, concierge medicine is a form of personalized medicine wherein the patient and doctor enjoy a relationship with each other. When you need to see your physician, you know exactly who you’re going to be seeing, and who is going to be treating you, and you aren’t relegated to the physician who simply happens to be on call that day, and may or may not be familiar with your history, personally.
This interpersonal relationship is key, argue proponents of this shift, since doctors will be able to make more informed decisions than other structures may allow.
The result is a better quality of healthcare, and happier and more satisfied patients. Watch this case study interview for one example of how the differences play out.
After all, isn’t that what all doctors should be striving for anyway?
Read more on the pros and cons in this WSJ article.