Our world is constantly evolving, propelled forward by advancements which improve our efficiency, production, and communication. Yet, the standard approach to healthcare remains the same. Physicians are grossly overbooked, resulting in patients spending more time waiting and less time receiving treatment. On average, primary care doctors are forced to see 35-40 patients per day as insurance companies reimburse less and less for care.
For those who seek a more efficient, hand-on, focused approach to their healthcare, concierge medicine may be the answer.
Concierge medicine, also referred to as membership medicine, requires patients to pay a monthly fee in order to belong to a medical practice. In turn, members receive a higher level of care and access as physicians are able to see fewer patients and spend longer periods of time with each individual.
In a typical primary care doctor’s office, one might expect to wait a few weeks for an open appointment, sit in the waiting room on the day of the appointment, then wait in the exam room to see the doctor, only to have a few rushed moments with the physician. Feelings of frustration and impatience may arise, but often it is simply the failure of the system and not a reflection on the doctor.
At PartnerMD, a membership medicine practice, patients are guaranteed same or next day appointments, 365 days a year. Patients will never wait more than 5 minutes for any appointment and are allotted at least 30 minutes with their doctor for each visit, as well as at least two hours for a physical. If at any time a patient is concerned about their health and considering a doctor’s visit, they have 24-hour access to a physician via phone to assess the situation and determine the best course of action; potentially, the patient may be able to avoid the headache of an office visit by addressing treatment from the comfort of their home.
The rational benefits of concierge medicine include improved time management and improved health. Doctors are able to gather more information from a patient at each visit and gain a clearer overall view of that patient’s health, from a detailed history to careful consideration of current concerns. As a patient’s primary care doctor, they can better diagnose, treat, manage, and refer to a specialist when necessary. If a referral is necessary, practices such as PartnerMD will coordinate and schedule any specialist appointments for the patient, then request that any appointment records are sent back to the primary care physician. Patients have one person overseeing all of their care, ensuring peace of mind.
“PartnerMD allows me to practice medicine how it should be practiced – with time, patience, and attention to detail,” says Dr. Robert Cross. “I’m not rushing through appointments with my patients, which allows me to truly get to know them. Instead of just making sure my patients are healthy at each appointment, I help them pursue long-term health goals that improve their life.”
In addition to the higher level of primary care available through membership medicine, PartnerMD offers comprehensive wellness and preventative medicine. Patients may meet with a certified health coach as often as they choose, with unlimited access included in their membership. A health coach will partner with patients to help them live their best life possible, not just by treating illnesses but by enacting preventative care. This may may mean preventing diabetes, staving off cognitive decline, or establishing healthy eating plans. The doctors and coaches at PartnerMD often ask their patients to define their health goals, in order to tailor care to each person’s needs.
“Being a true partner in health for our patients means being 100% committed to helping them be healthier and happier,” vows Health Coach Jaime Monsen. “That’s where our Wellness Program comes in with a personal and individualized approach. It might be through nutrition education, exercise regimens, or just figuring out how to sleep better, but we teach patients how to make substantive improvements that change their life for the better.”
With one office in Midlothian off Woolridge Road, another off Forest Avenue in Richmond, and a third set to open in the new GreenGate development near Short Pump in 2020, PartnerMD offers members an elevated healthcare experience right here at home. Membership fees range from $150-170 per month on average, with discounts available for additional family members. Any co-pays are paid at the time of service and care is billed to the member’s insurance provider (the same as any standard healthcare office).
Ultimately, concierge medicine fosters an environment in which patients and their physicians can connect and thrive, with the mutual goal of helping the patient achieve optimal health. Better health means less time waiting, and more time doing what you love.