Untreated high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and sleep apnea can cause heart attacks, heart failure and strokes. Nearly 80 percent of heart disease is preventable so the time to act is now.
Think of your health as an investment in your retirement portfolio. A little forethought now can lead to huge health payoffs later. For people who value their health, and are willing to invest in it, there is a new option: concierge medicine.
Concierge medical practices have been around for decades but they are revolutionizing traditional medicine by making it easier than ever to take control of your health. No more long waits at the doctor’s office, difficulty understanding test results or loss of continuity among your doctors. Imagine having unlimited access to your physician and the convenience of a good old-fashioned house call. As a member of a concierge practice you can expect just that.
When deciding which concierge practice is right for you, here are three things to consider:
• The concierge physician’s training can determine the breadth of care provided and services offered. Specialists, like cardiologists, are often double-boarded in cardiology and internal medicine and can provide both specialized and primary care. Depending on the practice, this type of cardiologist can take responsibility for all of your health care,not just heart-related problems.
• It is important to select a concierge practice that is in line with your health goals and expectations. What is the doctor’s approach to medicine? There are doctors who are very detail-oriented and thorough and others take a broader, more general approach. There are doctors who use evidence-based medicine to guide their practice, while others prefer more alternative approaches. Some focus on prevention, and early detection, while others will first see patients after they have already been diagnosed with more advanced disease. This applies to cardiology. Some cardiologists see patients who are proactive about their health and wanting to prevent, or mitigate, their heart disease. Other doctors prefer to treat patients once they have had a heart problem like a heart attack or heart failure.
• Every concierge practice offers different services, so carefully consider which services are going to help you achieve the greatest health benefits. Most concierge doctors offer house-calls. Some are exclusively mobile—they make only house calls to your home or office. Others have a brick-and-mortar clinic and offer house calls as an additional service. While after-hours access is standard for concierge practices, who actually answers your initial call, text or email can vary. There are concierge practices where the doctor always answers. In other practices it may be a nurse, or another medical provider, who is the first line. The practice may scout out the best local imaging centers or laboratories, schedule your appointments with consultants and accompany you to your tests or procedures.
Being a member of a concierge practice makes taking care of your health easy and convenient. No more long waits for appointments and difficulty finding answers—your visits with the doctor are determined by your schedule, with ample time to answer your questions and address your concerns. No more disjointed health care or uncertainty about who is in charge—you have the peace of mind knowing that the person directing your health care is just a phone call, text or email away. Pick a concierge physician who will help you become the healthiest version of yourself. ♦
Melinda Roskos is a physician and the founder of Roskos Cardiology, a concierge cardiology practice specializing in women’s heart health. firstname.lastname@example.org..