17 Mar What Is Concierge Medicine?
Concierge medicine has been growing more common in recent years, with its popularity surging in response to the pandemic. But what is concierge medicine? How does it differ from the traditional doctor’s office? Let’s take a look.
How is concierge medicine different from a primary care physician (PCP)?
A PCP is a doctor who practices general medicine and accepts health insurance. They serve as the first point of contact for health concerns and can address a wide range of health concerns.
Services provided by a PCP include:
- Preventative care, such as annual physicals, vaccinations, tests, and screenings
- Treatment of common illnesses, such as colds or infections
- Management of long-lasting conditions, like chronic high blood pressure
- Specialist referrals for conditions requiring special attention
A concierge medical provider, also known as a direct primary care physician (DPC), accepts payment directly instead of working with insurance companies. Payments are typically offered in two ways – paying per service (“a la carte”), or paying a monthly membership fee that covers a range of services. Concierge doctors have the same education and training requirements as PCPs, and can perform the same care.
What are the benefits of concierge medicine over PCPs?
Patients can have a significantly better experience with a concierge practice. PCPs typically have a larger staff to deal with the administrative burdens of filing insurance claims and remaining in compliance with insurance company requirements. This also means that PCPs must carry enough patients to pay for the additional staff and resources needed to handle insurance matters.
Concierge practices avoid the headaches and costs associated with insurance companies, allowing patient care to be the primary focus. This is evident in the patient benefits of concierge medicine, which include:
- At-home appointments: Many concierge providers are mobile, meaning they can provide care in the comfort of your home or office. In addition to convenience, this also lessens likelihood of exposure to Covid-19 or other highly contagious illnesses.
- Stronger doctor-patient relationships: Concierge doctors are able to dedicate much more one-on-one time with patients. Concierge appointments generally last 30 minutes or longer, which is 2-3 times longer than your average PCP visit. Additionally, many concierge practices offer comprehensive telehealth services between appointments, allowing you to ask questions or report health issues as they come up. This increased communication can mean catching health issues early, as well as increased trust in your medical provider.
- Wider range of services: Because concierge doctors have fewer patients, they can often offer care and services PCPs typically refer out to specialists due to lack of time and resources. Concierge practices may also offer additional services such as IV therapy or cosmetic treatments.
What kind of services do concierge practices offer?
Concierge medical practices can offer many types of services. These may include:
- Primary and Urgent Care Services
- Annual exams
- Preventative care
- Urgent care services for conditions like stomach flu, infections, or migraines
- Covid-19 Testing and Treatment
- RT-PCR, rapid antigen, rapid PCR, and antibody testing
- Monoclonal antibody therapy
- Remdesivir treatments for Covid-19 positive patients experiencing severe symptoms
- Lab Tests and Mobile Imaging
- Tests for general wellness, food sensitivities, vitamin deficiencies, and more
- Mobile Imaging such as x-rays, ultrasounds, ECGs, or EKGs
- Addiction Medicine
- Home detox
- Medical management
- IV Therapy
- Wellness, recovery, and vitamin restoration formulas
- Regenerative IV therapy
- Cosmetic Treatments
- Hair restoration
- Virtual skincare consultation
- Chemical peels and facials
- Medical Weight Loss
- Wegovy weight loss treatments are a weekly injectable prescription medication designed to help reduce appetite and increase insulin release for long-term weight management
What if I like my current doctor(s)?
You are not obligated to give up your Primary Care Provider to receive concierge healthcare. Services are available on a pay-per-service basis so you can receive care at home whenever you desire. Concierge doctors can coordinate your care with your PCP and specialist providers. Concierge services can conduct basic preventative care and testing in your home to help reduce the frequency of in-office appointments and potential exposure to Covid-19 and other contagious illnesses at a clinic.
You may be able to get subscription deals on specific services not offered by your PCP, meaning you can still get savings while continuing to work with the doctor that makes you most comfortable. Concierge MD LA offers memberships that offer discounts on services such as IV therapy, cosmetic treatments, and medical weight loss that may not be available through your PCP.
Who can benefit most from concierge medicine?
Many people can benefit from having a concierge healthcare provider. Examples of people who can especially benefit include:
Many concierge providers will book family appointments so multiple household members can be seen at the same time. Instead of booking several appointments for annual physicals and other routine care, you can have the whole family seen at once. Additionally, if the whole family needs urgent care because they caught a stomach bug, a concierge doctor can come to your home to administer treatment.
Seeing a PCP often means spending time traveling to appointments and waiting in reception. Concierge medicine allows you to use your time more efficiently with visits to your home or office. This means you can get the healthcare you need without derailing your schedule.
If you are in a high-profile position, privacy surrounding your health can feel like a challenge. A concierge doctor has the time and resources necessary to help you feel confident that your health information is secure.
People with transportation or mobility challenges
Having in-home healthcare can be much more than convenient for those with transportation or mobility issues. Eliminating the stress and obstacles of getting to appointments can help people feel more comfortable during their appointments, leading to stronger doctor-patient relationships.
People with chronic conditions
People with chronic conditions may experience financial benefits in addition to a more comprehensive patient experience. Concierge doctors often can help manage conditions that PCPs refer to specialists due to a lack of time and resources. This means that people with chronic conditions may be able to streamline their care by switching to a concierge healthcare provider.
Many concierge practices supplement home visits with telehealth support, so that you can get answers to questions or concerns as they come up.
Those at high risk of severe illness from Covid-19
People at risk of hospitalization from Covid-19 infection can greatly reduce the risk of exposure to Covid with a concierge physician. Concierge doctors may also offer Covid-specific treatments that you might otherwise be unable to access as quickly through a PCP.
What should I expect from a concierge medical practice?
One of the biggest advantages of concierge medicine is that care is tailored to your needs and preferences. Telehealth services not only serve as a way to check in with your doctor more regularly, but they can also benefit those who prefer a more autonomous approach to health care.
Some services, such as certain types of NAD supplementation or peptide therapy, allow you to do your initial screening via telehealth without the need for an in-person consultation. Supplies to self-administer medications or treatments are then delivered to you. For people with extremely busy schedules, or who travel frequently, this eliminates the scheduling challenge that comes with in-office appointments. You can check in throughout your treatment to ask questions or report progress remotely.
What should I look for in a concierge healthcare provider?
Finding a new healthcare provider can be very stressful, as there are so many considerations. Below are some tips to keep in mind to help you choose a provider with confidence.
Understanding the type of healthcare professional that you need
It’s important to understand the type of doctor that best meets your needs. As discussed, DCPs can function as the first point of contact for most health concerns that can manage your overall care. These doctors are generally certified in either internal medicine or family medicine. For example, Dr. Abe Malkin, the founder of Concierge MD LA, is board-certified in Family Medicine.
Specialists are doctors trained in specific areas of medicine. Examples of specialists include dermatologists, allergists, or podiatrists. A DCP may be able to address minor issues in these areas, such as a minor rash or spring allergies. However, if a health concern is severe, or if a medical procedure is necessary, you may be referred to a specialist in that area of medicine to seek treatment. Usually, a DCP will conduct preliminary testing and/or screenings before referring you to a specialist.
Physician Assistants (PAs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs), and nurses (RNs) are licensed and trained healthcare professionals that can provide a range of health services. If you are looking for wellness treatments, certain cosmetic treatments, or general testing, you may be treated by a PA, NP, or RN at your doctor’s office. While this is a standard practice at both PCP and DCP offices, you should be aware of the possibility when choosing a doctor.
How can you know if a doctor is reliable?
Trusting a professional with your health concerns can be difficult, and no one wants to waste time or energy with a doctor who is unreliable. When screening possible new doctors, you should be sure to look them up through your state’s medical licensing agency. The website Administrators In Medicine (AIM) can help direct you to your state’s licensing board. You can look up a doctor to ensure they are in good standing with the licensing agency, as well as obtain information about any disciplinary actions or criminal charges filed against the doctor.
If you are seeking services that require lab-provided supplies or test results, such as regenerative therapies, specimen analysis, or Covid-19 testing, you should find out what lab the doctor uses and screen that as well. Even if a therapy provided by the lab is not currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the lab itself should be FDA-certified. This signifies that the lab operates according to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), meaning the treatments that they produce are safe.
What factors are most important to you?
It is easy to get lost in comparing and contrasting the services offered by different doctors and feel like you should pick the doctor with the widest range of options. Before you sit down to start looking, you should consider the factors that are most conducive to maintaining your health.
If you need a doctor who can work with multiple specialists to address your health needs, then a Care Coordinator could be particularly advantageous.
If you enjoy wellness services such as IV therapy or cosmetic treatments, choosing a concierge provider that offers discounts or memberships may be more important to you. If you have an extremely busy schedule, finding a concierge provider with robust house call and telehealth services may be essential to you maintaining your health as you navigate your other obligations.
Let Concierge MD Show You The Benefits Of Direct Primary Care
If you are looking for a concierge healthcare provider, consider Concierge MD. We are a licensed, mobile medical practice providing a wide range of services. You can book an appointment over the phone or online for one of our health experts to visit your home or office and administer services. Depending on the service, we treat small groups, meaning the whole family can get care at once.
Concierge MD is proud to provide professional and discreet health care services. Contact us today!