Concierge medicine is a new trend in medical care. When a patient signs up with a concierge physician, he pays an annual fee for special access to his doctor. Concierge physicians care for fewer patients than in a conventional practice, ranging from 100 patients per doctor to 1,000, instead of the 3,000 to 4,000 that the average physician now sees every year. Also, concierge physicians agree to be accessible by cell phone or email at any time of day or night. Aside from the societal issue of whether stratification of health care based on wealth is desirable, concierge medicine raises issues related to patient care. The aim is these physicians will provide greater care to their patients. The goal is that a less harried doctor can provide comprehensive care and individualized preventive services to his well healed clients.
The reality can be different. With around the clock accessibility, it is tempting for these physicians to take the easy way out and diagnose illness by phone. Also, they are more tempted to succumb to the requests of their patients they be given a quick fix. These pressures can result in the premature prescription of antibiotics or other medicines, when a more comprehensive work up may be needed. Case reports of missed diagnoses of serious illness are starting to surface with this new brand of medicine.
James D. Campbell
Kinerk Schmidt & Sethi, P.L.L.C.
1790 E River Road, Ste 300
Tucson, AZ 85718
Facsimile (520) 790-1163
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