Regular readers of this blog know I’m not a big fan of concierge medicine, whereby physicians drastically reduce the number of patients they see in order to offer higher service levels. As I wrote in April:
Many patients get good service from their existing doctors. When the first concierge practices were introduced a few years back, my primary care doctor wrote a letter to the Boston Globe suggesting that the answer was for physicians to work harder to provide excellent care to a regular sized panel of patients for regular reimbursement. (I’ve always gotten good service from him –including same-day responses to mails.) I’d rather have him as my doctor than pay extra to someone who is more concerned about his own lifestyle.
Here’s an example:
On Thursday afternoon my dentist asked me to get a letter from my doctor certifying that I didn’t need pre-treatment antibiotics. Later that day I used my doctor’s secure messaging system to relay that request. My doctor answered me electronically within a couple of hours, sent the letter the next day, and I had it in hand by Saturday.
Sounds a lot like what the concierge practices promise, doesn’t it? The main difference: there’s no extra charge.