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Why a Good Doctor-Patient Relationship Is Important

Michael Kagen, MD, leads the membership-based concierge medical practice, Kagen MD, in Park City, Utah.

The Quality of Patient-Doctor Relationships Is Declining

A recent study (more details at the end of this blog) reported that over 50% of physicians spent 16 minutes or less with each patient per visit. With doctors responding to pressures to deliver care en masse, time spent with patients has plummeted. Juxtapose this with the fact that the relationship between doctor and patient can have profound effects on patient outcomes—both positively and negatively—and patients have good reason to seek out a physician partner to help them manage their health.

While medicine and health technology have advanced in leaps in bounds in the last few decades, the personal-care aspect has suffered. Insurance companies and large healthcare groups have worked tirelessly to speed care and lower costs. Unfortunately, this model robs the time and personal attention that both great doctors and their patients need and desire.

The Rise of Concierge Medicine to Improve Patient Care

Concierge care (also known as boutique medicine or direct primary care) was born out of the desire by some physicians to deliver healthcare in a personalized way, where the doctor-patient relationship is allowed the time it needs to grow into a strong partnership. The relationship fostered when appointments aren’t rushed, when communication is unrestricted and the location in which care is delivered is flexible, is one that can impact the patient’s life in real ways. Direct primary care practices are empowered to take the time needed to sit down and really understand their patients’ health history, challenges, and goals and leverage the incredible advancements in medicine to truly deliver the highest level of care in history.

One of the ways that the physician and patient can connect is via telemedicine, or video calls. This is especially helpful in enabling the doctor and patient to communicate even when the patient is out of town or unable to physically make it into the office. Oftentimes, when a person finds themselves needing the attention of their doctor while out of town, they seek help from pharmacy-based quick care service providers or emergency rooms. These options, while important, are not ideal because there is no relationship between doctor and patient, making truly personalized care impossible. With a boutique direct primary care practice, the patient can still connect with their doctor who already knows their health history, medications and lifestyle in order to receive the best care for their unique situation.

Home visits are also a valued benefit of concierge medicine practices, where the doctor meets the patient where it’s most convenient for them- including their own home. In the case of acute illness, where commuting to an office is uncomfortable, or for those who find it difficult to take time away from their homes because they’re caregivers or have mobility issues, this can mean the difference between getting medical care or not.

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Because patient and doctor foster a close relationship built around taking the best care of the patient, emerging issues can be proactively addressed. High quality preventative care has been shown to improve outcomes and reduce costs overall. Because time is not constricted, a concierge medicine doctor can serve as an advocate and coach in chronic disease management and prevention as well as in the event of an acute illness.

Direct primary care physicians also often have personal connections to the most sought-after specialists available in case a complex health occurrence arises. This can be an invaluable asset if the need arises, streamlining the process of accessing specialized care.

Concierge medical practices have been built to deliver the high-quality, un-rushed care that’s proven to be the most effective model for patient care. It enables patients to choose how, where and how long they communicate with their doctor, and allows them to connect with their doctor in a personal way, without insurance companies or large health companies having input into the care they receive.

Concierge medical practices are paving the way for medicine to get back to the old-fashioned way of interacting with your doctor, but with all of the benefits of modern technology and medicine. If a patient is looking for a different medical doctor experience, they should give direct primary care a try.

Further Reading

“Medscape released its Physician Compensation Report 2018 examining a number of compensation-related variables throughout the healthcare industry. Medscape surveyed 20,329 physicians across 29 specialties for the report.”

Read more about the data released about the physician-patient relationship on Becker's ASC Review.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Michael Kagen MD

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