Friday, February 20, 2009

What I am Reading

Crisis is the latest book I am reading.  Again, another medical mystery by Robin Cook.  This is a another great novel with the ethical dilemma concerning concierge medicine.
Concierge medicine was a new term for me.  It reflects the trend that some doctors practice where their patients "buy into" their practice.  In return for yearly membership fees, the doctors take on a limited number of patients, make house calls and treat patients as often as needed.  Insurance companies are not part of the equation for membership and the doctor and patient have complete say in treatments etc.  While this seems like the way medicine should be practiced, it is very costly and therefore only the wealthy can afford this procedure.  So, the book is based on the backlash that follows those doctors that engage in this practice.
Now, I am one of the lucky ones because we are treated by a country doctor who makes house calls (when necessary), discusses our treatment options with us and will see us for examinations as often as needed.  We do not take part in concierge medicine, but I can see the benefits to being someone's patient, rather than going through bureaucratic red tape to get an appointment or be seen.  And yes, I sympathize with anyone who is a mere number to the medical industry, rather than a human being.  That being said, I don't think concierge medicine should be ruled out.  If one can afford it, prioritizes this in their lives, by all means, they should have that freedom to have doctor personalized for them.  
Isn't this the way doctor's use to operate (no pun intended)?

1 comment:

Steven Knope, M.D. said...

You are absolutely right. Concierge medicine is nothing more than a return to the days of Marcus Welby. Private medicine should be preserved and remain a choice for all Americans who wish to pay for quality medical care.

By the way, you may want to look at the first non-fiction book on the subject: "Concierge Medicine; A New System to Get the Best Healthcare" (Greenwood, 2008). I wrote the book. One of my central positions is that time is the currency of excellence. You can't spend 6 minutes of "quality time" with your child any more than you can do justice to a patient in a 6 minute office visit.

Steven D. Knope, M.D.