New Doctor Patient Relationships on the Rise

hospitalIf 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.

When To Get An Eye Checkup and Visit the Optometrist

optometristHave you had your eyes checked recently?

For many Americans, optometry is one of the areas of their physical health that often goes unchecked. It isn’t a major part of most annual physicals, and individuals tend not to seek out an optometrist and go have their eyes checked until their vision becomes noticeably worse.

The problem is, by this point, you may have inadvertently damaged your eyes even further, by not looking for solutions to problems before they become an issue.

Recommendations for Kids

For children, having regular checkups with an optometrist in your area is an important part of your annual or bi-annual physical.

Indeed, for many children, these visits are encouraged by local schools, and parents ensure that the visits happen. It is at this stage when people with chronic eye problems have their conditions diagnoses, and can properly find the right eyeglasses for them.

Recommendations for Young Adults

Young adults, on the other hand, rarely seek out routine eye examinations or physicals. For many, this is ok, as long as there is no noticeable difference in their current vision, and they haven’t experienced any eye trauma that would otherwise cause a problem.

If you were diagnosed with a poor eye condition as a child, however, bi-annual checkups to adjust and fine tune lens requirements is still a good idea.

For those reluctant to get glasses as young adults, keep in mind there are many designer eye wear options to choose from.

Recommendations for Middle Aged Adults

When adults reach middle age, their vision begins to change. This is true both for individuals who have worn glasses or contacts their entire lives, and those with previously excellent vision.

Typically, vision begins to wear and become noticeably inhibited in “stressed” environments, such as reading fine print in low light.

This is the first sign that your vision is beginning to change, and you should begin a new program of visiting an optometrist for routine checkups.

Recommendations for Seniors

For senior citizens, routine eye examinations are even more important, especially if the individual continues to drive or engage in other similar activities.

Needing to gradually increase prescription strength as one ages is normal, but it is all too often neglected, leading to ever worsening eye conditions for those afflicted.

Read more about seeing your eye doctor from WebMD.