Employers around the country, both large and small, are struggling with the staggering costs of healthcare. They’re seeking innovative, cost-effective, employee-satisfying solutions that bring down overall costs.
To assist with this undertaking, many are looking to the value of the physician-patient relationship. These relations have several known benefits, including, but not limited to:
- Providing a place where patients can bring a wide range of health problems for appropriate attention and problem resolution
- Guiding patients through the health system, coordinating care, and providing appropriate referrals for needed services
- Facilitating a relationship where patients participate in the decision making about their health and their own care
- Providing opportunities for disease prevention, health promotion, and early detection
- Building bridges between personal healthcare services and patients' families and communities that can assist in meeting patient health goals
Now, to determine which model of physician-patient relationship is best. Do you want a physician-patient relationship driven from the traditional fee-for-service model? Or a primary care medical home model? If the latter, Concierge Healthcare or Direct Primary Care (DPC) are two rapidly growing models of primary care in the healthcare industry today.
Concierge Healthcare began in the 90s as a subscription-based service aimed at sidestepping issues related to a fee-for-service system. It affords patients access to select primary care physicians who offer same-day appointments, round-the-clock cell phone coverage, email, and possibly house calls. In addition to requiring a monthly or annual fee for care, it also bills for medical services provided.
On the other side of the coin, DPC began in the 2000s and was created to be an insurance-free model of care that is directly reimbursed by employers and/or employees for both access and primary medical care. Providers do not accept or bill third-party payers.
As a change agent, employers need to decide which primary care models they are willing to support and then promote within their employee population. No matter the payment methodology, the development and preservation of the patient-physician relationship are instrumental to impacting costs.