… Through prevention rather than just treatment alone, concierge medicine will hopefully keep patients out of hospitals and emergency rooms and keep healthcare costs down. Prevention of diseases and chronic illness would garner significant savings, as the relatively small number of patients who are already sick with chronic diseases and disabilities make up the majority of healthcare costs. A third-party evaluation of 2008 data showed that MDVIP patients had 61.3% fewer hospitalizations compared with similar patients in commercial insurance plans, and 74% fewer hospitalizations compared with Medicare patients of similar age, gender, and disease risk35. Severe hospitalizations could be avoided if patients had greater access and communication with their physicians.
In a concierge medicine practice, physicians can be viewed as a “coach” of wellness and preventive medicine, not just someone to approach in the case of illness. According to Dr Thomas LaGrelius, “Primary care is not an insurable event; it is an ongoing relationship 10.” By intervening early and often, a medical problem can be controlled before hospitalization is required. Practices like this are not restructuring the role of a physician, but are returning to a way physicians practiced years ago, such as ongoing relationships with patients as well as accessibility to the physician. In an age of cell phones, e-mails, text messages, pagers, etc, communication and access to a physician should not be in question. By allowing physicians to have more time with patients to plan and prevent, money can be saved by reducing disease exacerbations and hospitalizations.
…. The high renewal rates in concierge practices, even in this economy, demonstrate how dissatisfied many patients are with the standard medical practice in the United States. In order to maintain their patients, concierge practices might be setting a new standard for medical practice or may be returning to a standard that once existed in medicine. Emphasis on preventive medicine may become the new standard of care. This is not better medicine but it is better care. If studies continue to prove that taking the time to listen to patients causes physicians to order fewer expensive tests because their physical exam would have told them what they need to know and preventive medicine keeps patients out of hospitals and emergency rooms, then the cost of healthcare will decrease. If the government and insurers begin reimbursing physicians more for their time and clinical services and offered salaries comparable to specialists, then the shortage of physicians could be averted and more medical students would be attracted to primary care residencies. Instead of being accused of draining the healthcare system of primary care physicians, concierge medicine could maximize medical benefits by bringing a new sense of excitement to the field of primary care both medically and financially. The result might be that “doctors in traditional practices could offer more boutique-like services without the boutique prices4.” – See more at: http://www.ispub.com/journal/the-internet-journal-of-law-healthcare-and-ethics/volume-7-number-1/concierge-medicine-medical-legal-and-ethical-perspectives.html#sthash.gK0Lc7pL.dpuf
Proponents of concierge medicine insist that more time with each patient allows them to provide holistic care that can prevent diseases such as diabetes that are major drivers of health-care costs in America and keep people out of hospital emergency rooms. Garrison Bliss, co-founder of Qliance, a low-cost concierge medicine company based in Seattle, estimates that if everybody in the nation went to one of his doctors, the country would save $268 billion annually. In 2010, Qliance says, its clients visited emergency rooms 65 percent less than similar patients. Thirty-five percent fewer of them needed to be hospitalized. They required 66 percent fewer specialist visits.