Why concierge doctors result in financial payoffs for healthcare technology businesses
With increasing ER wait times, patient totals and round-the-clock hours, doctors are transforming from their traditional roles in a private practice or hospital setting to embracing the old fashioned idea of concierge doctors. The switch has resulted in the utilization of numerous mHealth trends and doctors are seeing the pay offs from things like telemedicine, mHealth patient/doctor communication apps and EHR/EMR technology. Some of the advantages of adopting this new doctor trend is seen in its intrinsic benefits for physicians and the quality of care being received by their patients.
A case study of Dr. Ivan Castro of Winter Park by MedCity News stated the physician’s transformation from private practice physician with over 3,000 patients to a concierge doctor with 400 patients. The transition from spending 10 minutes per patient to 30 min per 400 patients has been rewarding not only in terms of patient care, but in terms of Dr. Castro’s intrinsic rewards in genuinely helping others.
"I was constantly running behind to see the next patient and had to focus more on paperwork than on patient care," recalls Castro, 52.
That year, Castro changed his practice to the concierge model: Patients pay a retainer fee to their primary doctor -- usually $100 to $200 a month -- in exchange for round-the-clock access, quick appointments and more attention.
Now "I really feel like a doctor and that I'm making a difference," said Castro, who went from having more than 3,000 patients with whom he spent about 10 minutes per appointment to 400 patients where he averages 30 minutes for each appointment.
From a 2012 survey of U.S. physicians by Merritt Hawkins, almost 7 percent of doctors stated that they were currently considering the switch. Florida totaled the most interested number of doctors, with nine out of 10 doctors openly admitting to consider the change into concierge medicine.
Although the benefits are numerous and advantageous to both parties in different ways, there are negative factors which could deter patients from enlisting a concierge doctor. With the doctor shortage already being a hot topic of conversation within the industry, patients worry about hospital visits and other costly unforeseen measures when foregoing the traditional medical route. Will concierge doctors be the future of healthcare? Would you feel comfortable making the transition from traditional medical practice to enlisting a concierge doctor?
Dexcom: changing the lives of people with type 1 diabetes
It is estimated that 9.3% of adults around the world are living with type 1 diabetes, which amounts to a total of 463 million people. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20 are living with the condition.
Unlike the more prevalent type 2 diabetes, where the body still produces insulin and symptoms develop slowly, people with type 1 diabetes need regular insulin injections or pumps, and must monitor their sugar levels frequently.
In recent years a number of remote glucose monitoring systems have become available that patients can use at home. These work with a sensor, usually placed under the skin, that measures glucose levels every few minutes. This information is then transmitted wirelessly to a device like a smartphone or tablet, which can then be shared with their clinician.
British actress Nina Wadia's son Aidan, 14, has type 1 diabetes, and has been managing his condition using Dexcom, a glucose monitoring system used by patients all over the world. Here Wadia explains how Dexcom has improved their lives.
As a parent of someone with type 1 diabetes, what is your day-to-day life like?
Being able to take a breath, think and pivot constantly without getting frustrated becomes an essential mindset because sometimes it feels like each day is determined to be different from the day before. Whatever worked yesterday is going to misfire today.
Which areas of yours and Aidan’s life are most impacted by diabetes?
The one thing that you have to fight hard to reclaim is spontaneity, especially when it comes to food and exercise. It’s only when this is taken do you realise how essential each one is. You can be flexible and there are no real limits, but only in the sense that a great athlete can be flexible without limits because they’ve trained super hard to be that way. So we’ve all had to become athletes when it comes to being spontaneous.
How has Dexcom helped you and Aidan?
Dexcom has brought future science fiction to real life today. The continuous glucose monitoring system is tiny, sits discreetly on his body and gives him a ten-day breather between sensor changes, so it's goodbye finger-pricking seven times daily.
Dexcom is totally active at a grass roots level and for Diabetes Awareness has pledged to donate £2,000 if #DexcomDiabetesStories and/or #DexcomWarriorStories is shared 200 times! I’ll be sharing more on social media and would love to hear how other families are winning their fights.
Maybe most importantly Dexcom is trying to introduce a reimbursement programme for type 1 diabetes patients which will give greater access to modern, life changing hi-tech. I want to spread the word on the importance of accessing it through this campaign.
If you compared your life today with how it was before Aidan was using Dexcom, what has changed?
It's always working, which lets him take his mind off diabetes for longer stretches. It also lets me get off his back. We both receive alerts so I no longer have to pester him by asking him what his number is, and especially importantly, I don’t have to wake him at night to prick his finger if I’m worried. Dexcom gave us back our sleep!