You know the drill already. Healthcare costs are forcing doctors to see obscene numbers of patients just to keep their lights on, causing many doctors to spend less time with their patients. Rose Egge contributed a reassuring article to Concierge Medicine Today (CMT) going over techniques that some Seattle physicians are adopting to counter this trend. And one turns out just to be concierge medicine. It figures we’d make a list of this nature.
In her blog post she says, “A new study from John Hopkins University and the University of Maryland found physicians-in-training spend an average of just eight minutes per day with each patient.” That’s so unfair when people are dropping so much money just to receive care. And in light of Obamacare’s mandating insurance coverage it gets even crazier. To be told you have to buy something, so you can NOT get quality time with a doctor is borderline criminal. However, while there’s still time and certain leeway these three Seattle practices are creating unique ways to make more patient face time. And their treatment models allow them to know their patients better without breaking the bank.
Cut Out the Middle Man
First-time patients at Capitol Hill Medical are surprised when Dr. Vy Chu, a primary care physician, enters the waiting room and calls patients back for their appointment. Chu actually checks their vitals, draws blood and gives vaccinations – tasks typically completed by a nurse.
“It’s all about the bottom line,” Chu said. “Medicine is a business and at the end of the day you have to see enough patients to run the business.”
Chu said he “learns much more about their overall health than a nurse could transcribe in a chart.”
We appreciate Dr. Chu’s tenacity. While it’s sad to see a position squeezed out, it’s admirable that he’s getting his feet wet with more elementary tasks, instead of acting superior to the art of nursing. Well played, doctor.
Visit Patients Directly
Nurse practitioner Happy Salinas-Santos is going back to the family medicine roots and performing house calls. Santos started a new pediatric and women’s health care practice in West Seattle in which she examines and treats patients in their own homes.
In the article she said, “It’s tough when you’re working for larger health care organizations because there are lots of productivity standards. You want to spend more time with patients in primary care to prevent the big health concerns.” She’s really carving out quality face time, spending an hour and a half with each patient. How can she do this? For one, she opted out of an administrative staff. Plus, her malpractice insurance is much less than what it would cost a doctor.
Get Medicine When You Want It i.e. Try Concierge Medicine
Virginia Mason started the Lewis and John Dare Center in 2000 after patients began asking for concierge medicine. We’re proud of their commitment to dedicated family medicine. Their center offers physicals that include 90 minutes with a doctor. Like AtlasMD, patients can email their doctors and call them on their cell phones.
In a crazy turn of events, one of the doctors at the Lewis and John Dare Center got a call from a patient visiting India. Evidently, a fly landed on the woman’s head and laid eggs that hatched worms. That’s totally gross and unfortunate, but lucky for the woman, the doctor was able to get the women to trap the worm without killing it. Because a concierge doctor was available an Indian physician was contacted to properly identify the worm. In the end, the woman was able to get the treatment she needed.
Check out the complete article from CMT. We love to hear more doctors talking logically about administering healthcare, like when Dr. Chu encourages doctors to “advocate for the time [they] want. If [patients] feel at the end of the visit that it was rushed then [they] may want to go somewhere else.” True story. Maybe that’s why they’re flocking to concierge medical practices like ours.