FRAGMENTATION OF HEALTHCARE

Our healthcare system has placed immense emphasis on technology and specialist care.  As a result, patients have been influenced to seek out a particular specialist for a particular complaint, or they end up bouncing between specialists, creating waste and frustration, and complicating the pathway to wellness.

Take, for example, our patient “Alice”:

Before coming to us, Alice had used her ob/gyn as her primary care provider.  When she was due for her routine exam, she would go to her ob/gyn.  On one visit, the nurse practitioner noted an elevated blood pressure. Because ob/gyn’s don’t treat hypertension unless it’s related to pregnancy, Alice was referred to a cardiologist. After a few weeks, she was seen by a cardiologist’s assistant, who found that Alice had a history of fatigue. She referred the patient to an endocrinologist, thinking it might be a thyroid problem or some other hormonal issue. More time elapsed, and Alice was eventually seen by the endocrinologist, who performed a battery of tests, all of which were normal.  He did, however, note that she seemed depressed, so he referred her to a psychiatrist, who saw her months later.

Alice was forced to endure long waits between each of these specialist appointments. She then experienced long waits in each waiting room at every visit. Alice is a career woman and all of these doctor visits were costing her a lot of valuable time. She felt adrift in a complex, fragmented health care system.

Alice shared her frustrations with her friends, one of whom was our patient. She told Alice about our concierge practice.

When Alice was referred to us, we spent over an hour together during her initial physical exam, answering all of her questions and agreeing on some health goals for her future. She is now having her annual exams done by us. We are also treating her hypertension, keeping tabs on her thyroid, and treating her depression… all in one office. Instead of dividing her health care between specialists all over town, she is delighted that she can come to one medical office where everyone knows her by name, cares about her, and is enthusiastic about meeting her health needs. Any time she phones, she is able to talk to a friend she knows and get a same-day appointment when she is ill.

Isn’t that the way it ought to be?