Living in California, one of the issues I see most commonly with my clients is a desire to see results without wasting any time.
They’re willing to pay a premium to have high quality individualized service, and they take their health seriously.
A few weeks ago, one of my clients mentioned that he’d recently started using a concierge medical practice to meet his needs for physical checkups without wasting his time. Other than watching Royal Pains, I didn’t really have any idea about what concierge doctors do, so I looked it up.
What Is Concierge Medicine?
The first thing I looked up was what, exactly, concierge medicine actually is. I know I personally have an image of a sexy young doctor running around Long Island to treat mega-rich clients at their every beck and call, but that can’t possibly be the reality, can it?
Well, sort of. It turns out that concierge medicine really has two main selling points.
The first is convenience. That means that yes, many concierge doctors will do home or office visits, and many guarantee that you can have an appointment available within a reasonable amount of time. It doesn’t mean that they’ll run over to your house the second you call them, at least not in most cases.
The other main selling point is actually the more important, but less talked about reason for paying a concierge medical fee. Personalized medicine means that you know your doctor, and can be confident that your doctor knows you. In a world where many patients see different doctors every time they have an appointment, and the doctor simply looks at a chart to determine the patient’s overall health, a one on one relationship with your physician is extremely important.
The Pros and Cons of Personalized Medicine
Now that we know what it is, is concierge medicine worth it?
I think so. Overall, the level of personal accountability for your care means that you’re working with someone who is invested in your total health. Since fees are often based on a retainer arrangement, concierge doctors are more geared towards total health rather than solving an individual problem in isolation.
As we’re learning more and more about how different health problems are actually interrelated, that’s an extremely strong selling point in my view.
The only real downside is the cost. Many concierge practices charge retainers on a monthly or annual basis, regardless of whether you use the service consistently. Those retainers can be several hundred dollars or more. But if the resources are less of an issue, then this is definitely a physician option you should consider.