28 Mar Concierge Medicine, Throwback or Breakthrough?
The days of the family physician who made house calls are long gone. Or are they?
What comes to mind when you imagine a doctor making house calls? For many people, it’s an image from old movies, the country doctor, who is always carrying his well-worn, seen-a-lot-of-life physician’s bag. The doctor’s ability to heal was limited by his skill and the meager supplies contained in that bag.
What has changed since then? Everything.
Today’s visiting physician, also known as a concierge physician, has all the tools of modern medicine at his or her disposal. The doctor is there to address the immediate health concern, but also to understand the patient holistically, offering access to resources through lab testing and telemedicine.
Typically, a patient initiates the first call to a concierge doctor due to an immediate health concern. Oftentimes, during that first visit, it becomes apparent that the doctor is treating symptoms of an underlying condition. As a concierge physician, he or she has a bottomless doctor’s bag of diagnostic tools and resources. A concierge physician may order a comprehensive panel of lab tests to get a holistic and in-depth understanding of the patient’s health, while taking into consideration diet and environmental factors observed during the visit. Lab tests can uncover anything from exposure to environmental toxins to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, or help detect compromised immune function, for example.
The concierge doctor healthcare model contributes to early detection and diagnosis, which in turn increases treatment success rates. In the evolved concierge doctor-patient model of care, doctor’s visits are about preventive medicine and optimizing wellness, the result of establishing long-term, trusted relationships with their patients.
The modern-day version of the visiting doctor is a caring physician, adept at traditional medicine while focused on preventive care — who carries a virtual doctor’s bag of the best diagnostic tools available.