In the United States, it’s often difficult to get good-quality healthcare, despite the number of experienced and innovative healthcare professionals working in hospitals and offices all over the country. The focus has always been on reactive healthcare that centers on interventions and administering care when it is urgently needed. Unfortunately, this approach is expensive and does not put the patient’s overall health and experience at the top of the priority list.
For those who are dissatisfied with the current healthcare system, some other options do exist. Concierge healthcare is patient-centered and is growing in popularity for the peace of mind and personalization it offers.
But what is concierge healthcare, and could it be the next step in changing the way our nation approaches patient care? Here’s what you need to know.
What to Know About Concierge Healthcare
Although it is becoming more common, many people have never heard of concierge healthcare. Essentially, it’s a subscription-based model of care that encourages lower doctor-patient ratios and quality care. Patients have direct access to their doctors, and their healthcare providers can spend more time with them and help coordinate their care.
The concierge model is also known as direct primary care (DPC) and emphasizes overall health and wellness. Instead of contacting a doctor only when they feel unwell, patients pay a retainer-type fee and can ask their healthcare providers specific questions about health and wellness, get guidance on their health and habits, and receive comprehensive preventative care.
Although concierge healthcare is a great option that allows patients to receive better care and doctors to spend more time with patients, it isn’t available to everyone. The fees can be quite high, which limits the number of people that can be served by concierge services.
Types of Concierge Healthcare Services
Concierge healthcare can be a little bit confusing. There are several different types of concierge services and even a few different definitions. All of them, however, are aimed at giving patients better care and helping them to live healthier lives.
One type of concierge healthcare is the DPC model, which involves patients bypassing health insurance and pay doctors directly for their care. This is typically on a retainer system, which allows patients more access to their healthcare providers. Most people who use these concierge services also have health insurance for care beyond simple diagnostics and preventative care.
Another model is the hybrid approach, which combines private insurance or Medicare for most routine care, with concierge services focusing on specialized services, like house calls or wellness advising. This allows patients to receive more personalized care while still taking care of most of their healthcare needs through traditional insurance.
Concierge healthcare can also refer to a type of advocacy that helps patients to get the most out of their healthcare benefits. Healthcare is confusing, and most people aren’t aware of all the services that are available to them. To mitigate this, concierge advocates work one on one with people to help them coordinate their care, find a doctor, and support them in other health-related matters. Concierge means personalized, supported care that goes far beyond what you’ll find in a traditional setting.
Are There Other Types of Healthcare Being Provided Outside Hospitals?
Most people prefer to stay out of the hospital whenever possible. Hospitals are essential for emergency and long-term care, but there may be a better option for other procedures and non-emergent services. For outpatient care, ambulatory surgery centers might play an important role in the future of healthcare.
Ambulatory facilities are helping to take some of the burden off of hospitals by performing many procedures that don’t require patients to spend the night. This also makes it easier for patients to access care in a timely manner. Ambulatory surgery centers, in combination with concierge healthcare, could improve care immensely in the United States.
Could Concierge Healthcare Be the Future?
Many people are unhappy with the health insurance model of care. It’s often a struggle for patients to get care and doctors to get paid. On top of that, copays and deductibles increase costs and confusion for patients.
Concierge healthcare is a win-win for healthcare providers and patients. With the rising cost of health insurance, it’s becoming much more attractive for patients who want peace of mind and easy access to the care they need.
Could it be the future of healthcare? That’s hard to say. But as more physicians make the switch and patients demand more preventative and personalized care, concierge healthcare has the potential to become a much larger presence in the American healthcare landscape.