16 May The Future of Concierge Medicine: Preventative Medicine, Telemedicine and Remote Monitoring
Where do you see the practice of concierge medicine heading?
I think that the future is to integrate different skills, technologies and aspects of medicine. At the same time, I see the accountability for the patient returning to the primary care physician, to be in a stronger position to coordinate care, rather than relying on the diffused efforts of a team of specialists. Here are a few areas of medicine that I think are very important — and that are changing the way concierge medicine is delivered:
- Preventative medicine is at the heart of what I do. Concierge medicine is less about intervention and more about guiding my patients into healthier choices, leaving behind negative behaviors that could grow into worse problems if they continue. I think of it as a very positive, progressive and iterative approach to the practice of medicine.
- Telemedicine is changing the practice of medicine. It’s the same technology as Facetime video calls and web conferencing calls — consulting face-to-face online. Having an online consult or a phone consult is useful in a variety of circumstances — it’s immediate and it’s great for when the patient has a quick question. I can also screen-share an xray for example, while we are discussing it, so it’s very useful. Family medicine is, to a great extent, dependent on eliciting information and effectively communicating with the patient, so it’s not an ordeal or even inconvenience to talk to the doctor; it’s a normal part of life. I encourage my patients to text me or email me if they’d rather reach out to me that way — and I respond. Concierge medicine takes down those walls that insulate traditional practitioners from their patients. And when patients are relaxed, I’m more likely to find out what is really going on with their health, so I can help them more effectively.
- Remote monitoring is another technology that has a big impact on concierge medicine. If a patient takes his or her blood pressure every morning, for example, I can see that information in real time. Same for blood sugar levels for my diabetic patients. I’m notified about sudden changes in their day-to-day health data. Monitoring also allows me to view my patients’ health data over time, so I can identify trends that could impact diagnosis or treatment.
There are many other modalities that benefit the patient, so it’s a matter of the primary care physician drawing on the appropriate ones and coordinating care.
ASK DR. MALKIN is a series of medical questions posed to Dr. Abe Malkin, MD, MBA, a Los Angeles house call doctor. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Malkin is a concierge physician in Los Angeles and founder of Conciergemdla.com. Dr. Malkin has served as a medical expert for several news media organizations. Have questions for Dr. Malkin? Submit them to [email protected]