In the past few centuries the face of medicine and patient care has changed dramatically. Gone are the doctors that provided home visits, black bag in tow. Families used to send for the local doctor in the event of an emergency. Because he was usually the only doctor in town, the physician knew his patients intimately. Of course, there were no insurance plans, and he often received his payment in the form of eggs, fresh meat and fresh produce. Aside from the method of payment, it was a form of concierge medicine. With the dawning of health insurance, and large hospitals in heavily populated cities, the doctor-patient relationships soon changed. Busier than ever, home visits were abandoned with emergency vehicles dispatched to bring in the extremely ill. Over time the number of patients an average doctor sees has increased exponentially and is now between 3,000 to 5,000. This gave the doctor very little time with the patient, and increased the risk of mistakes. Again, the world of healthcare is changing.
A more personalized form of medicine is beginning to emerge, the concierge style of medical practice. There are three models for this emerging style and all three involve an annual fee from their patients. The fee charged is dependent on the level of personalized service they provide. The first model is one that the doctor carries a significantly reduced patient load, to between 50 and 1,000. This enables him or her to spend more time with their patients in face-to-face appointments. They can spend time discussing preventative medicine, and personalized care. The reduction in patient load, also reduces the rate of physician burnout.
A second method charges a lower annual fee, and the doctor reduces his load minimally. Instead, they offer premium appointments that are longer, and allow the doctor to spend more time with the patients. They are often guaranteed appointments that are scheduled more quickly, and may offer a dedicated phone line to call in on. The doctor still carries a full load of insured patients, but sets aside time for "premium" patients.
The third method known as Fee For Care, is essentially a cash service. The patient pays a monthly or annual fee to the physicians office. This covers their standard office visits, but immunizations, x-rays and lab work are excluded, with these services provided on a cash basis.
Many have complained that the concierge model of care favors the wealthy and neglects the poor. The poor often need more health care services and may not have insurance. It is a model that can return healthcare back to center, that provides a more personalized service. The way you visit your doctor, is not the same as your grandparents or parents generation. It will be very different for your own grandchildren. Search the internet for more info on concierge medicine, the face of healthcare is changing again.