Docs enhance concierge-like services with modest fees
In a perfect world, concierge-level care would be available to all patients, Tom Lee, owner and founder of physician group One Medical in San Francisco, recently told FoxBusiness for an article about the role membership fees play in growing numbers of today's medical practices.
"It's not an access fee," Lee said of the $200 per year his patients pay for diminished waiting-room time, 24/7 phone access to doctors and the ability to book appointments and request prescription refills online. Rather, the modest fee--a fraction of the $2,000 or so charged by some concierge practices--gives the practice and its physicians more leeway to do things that improve patients' care experience.
Under the near-concierge model, there are several ways in which the practices leverage technology to keep communication with patients up and overhead costs down. At One Medical, for example, patients can address minor illnesses and concerns via e-mail, instant message or Skype interactions with their doctor. When warranted, the doctors can send prescriptions directly to the pharmacy without an office visit. This embrace of technology leads to fewer bottlenecks in the office and lower physician stress.
July 30, 2012 | By Debra Beaulieu
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