In many ways, telemedicine is now changing the country’s health care landscape. While the innovation is spurring different kinds of debates in the industry, another welcome breakthrough has emerged: concierge healthcare. And it is predicted to become the future of telemedicine.
Today, four models of concierge healthcare exist: travel medical assistance, private health advisories, private physician practice, and the total care platform.
The most basic version is “travel medical assistance.” It connects you to an operator to help with aeromedical evacuations and access to a database of foreign physicians and hospitals.
“Private health advisories” adds on services such as comprehensive individualized physical exams, electronic medical records, and access to second opinions while also helping facilitate complex disease management.
A third variation is the “private physician practice.” This is essentially an annual retainer that provides rapid call backs and a higher level of personal interaction.
The most comprehensive form of concierge healthcare is referred to as the “total care platform.” It includes all the services already noted plus a number of additional ones such as custom medical contingency plans and calendared longevity plans.
Concierge telemedicine can be described as an improved version of past telemedicine practices. For instance, “phone-a-physician” became a widely used telemedicine service. But while it was undeniably a fast and convenient alternative to visiting a doctor, it does not really put patients in touch with doctors who know more about them or their health history.
Concierge healthcare addresses this problem. Through his new health care venture HEXL, Richard Kimball Jr. is advocating a kind of concierge telemedicine that he explains will shift the focus “from health repair to real health care.”
In concierge telemedicine, practitioners will get to know their patients and their families and be able to access to their entire health history.
Telemedicine’s Patient-oriented Care
Further describing a future dominated by telemedicine, Kimball talks about the statements of WorldClinic President Daniel Carlin, M.D., as quoted in a Forbes article by Russ Allan Prince, said, “Telemedicine, paired with mobile technologies, allows the doctor to come to the patient quickly for diagnosis and treatment.”
We see that this development will be well-received in the coming years, as more and more smart phones as well as accessories and applications are entering at the market, each offering an edge to their older versions.
In relation to this, Carlin said: “Right now, inside WorldClinic, we are running a small Smart Phone-based ‘virtual’ clinic for our patients with hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias.” In the end, the pieces of information gathered by the smart phone will then being perused and discussed by qualified physicians, who will be able to respond accordingly to the patient’s progress.
Truly, concierge telemedicine will be one of this age’s contributions to promoting public health, and ensuring better delivery of health care to patients – across all age and economic groups. Provided with sufficient support from both the public and private sectors, telemedicine will spell convenience, lower health care costs, and overall improved access to health services.