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Health Care Politics Management

The Case for Concierge Medicine

doclapFrom The Atlantic:

In the trade-off between more patients and more personalized care, growing numbers of physicians are choosing the latter.

…The concierge model of practice is growing, and it is estimated that more than 4,000 U.S. physicians have adopted some variation of it. Most are general internists, with family practitioners second. It is attractive to physicians because they are relieved of much of the pressure to move patients through quickly, and they can devote more time to prevention and wellness.

“The work won’t be any easier,” Becker says, “but I will be able to spend more time with my patients, build better relationships, and provide better care. And there is mounting evidence that such practices produce better outcomes, such as reductions in hospitalization rates.”

Of course, there are drawbacks to concierge practice. For one thing, some patients cannot afford it, and others will choose not to pay the fee. Critics also see such models as promoting a two-tiered system of healthcare, in which those with more money get better care.

via The Case for Concierge Medicine – Richard Gunderman – The Atlantic.

In many ways dentistry lends itself to the “concierge” approach far better than medicine. Dentistry is less regulated and dental insurance simply does not cover major treatment under any circumstances.Third parties pay for a bit over half of dentistry but that means that a bit less than half is fee for service paid by the patient.

Never the less I believe it is difficult for any medical / dental professional to break out of the insurance pays paradigm. I constantly hear people tell me that they cannot have some treatment because their insurance does not pay for it. Of course you can have the treatment you just have to pay for it yourself. In order for a patient to break the insurance pays trap he or she must believe they are getting value for their investment.

Technology is one highly visible way that a dentist can distinguish himself from the others. A dentist who offers online services, 3D images and same day crowns seems to offer more than the dentist who does not.

What about time? Are people willing to pay for more personal care?

I think they say they are willing to pay but when it comes time to actually pay up they choose the cheapest option.

In my opinion there is a definite place for concierge or boutique dentistry but it is limited.

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